The largest ministry at All Saints Parish in Clearwater involves outreach to the sick as parishioners and clergy seek to meet an urgent need that surrounds them. Mease Countryside Hospital is only about 10 minutes away. Plus, within the parish boundaries there are six nursing homes and more than 100 assisted-living facilities.
“Our research shows that this area is home to the greatest density of nursing care facilities per capita in the nation,” said Father Alan Weber, pastor, All Saints Parish.
Parish volunteers are often visiting with the ill and the dying, bringing Holy Communion and praying at their bedside. It was one of these volunteers who suggested the parish start a new ministry to assist family members grieving the loss of a loved one. The parish was looking for ways to align with Courageously Living the Gospel by better responding to the diverse needs of families. As soon as Father Weber heard of the suggestion to start a new “Peer Grief Counseling Ministry” he was on board.
“People in their 50s or 60s are deeply affected by the death of a parent. It can be very traumatic for some people. That’s why there was a sense of urgency to introduce this ministry,” said Father Weber.
The parish now has six people who have been trained to do peer counseling. They provide one-on-one emotional support through sympathizing and listening and encourage an openness to the healing that is found in Jesus Christ. By inviting someone who is grief-stricken to turn to the Lord for peace and consolation, they can encounter the love and mercy of Jesus Christ in a powerful way. Those who are grieving are also invited to connect with a church community for ongoing spiritual support.
“Things like serious illness, one’s own or a loved one, facing mortality/death, experiences of human limitation, those experiences tend to bring up issues of spirituality, questions about the existence of God and the realm of relational life,” added Father Weber.
To learn more about the Peer Grief Counseling Ministry at All Saints Parish, call 727-789-1025.