Mourning Center

Christ United Methodist Church
14506 E. 39th Street, Independence, MO    

     The Mourning Center is a safe place to share your grief and loss and to learn how to walk alongside others who are struggling.

     It is an outreach ministry of The Christ United Methodist Church.  Elaine and Rev. David Howlett as well as other volunteers facilitate the activity of the center.  David is an associate pastor at Christ UMC. David and Elaine are certified in “Death and Grief Studies” from the Center for Loss and Life Transition, directed by Dr. Alan Wolfelt..

     There is no cost and the various opportunities are open to all who feel that this center might be a place of healing or a place to learn how to help others.


    Grief is the natural response when someone you love dies. Grief is love. It is the heart turned inside out.

     It is painful, overwhelming, and at times debilitating. The emotions experienced are raw and the suffering can be intense.

     Yet, the griever often feels shame and embarrassment because our culture misunderstands the role of pain in the grief process.

     When a loss occurs, typically our culture deems grieving as unnecessary and unimportant. Even more tragic, it is seen as a lack of faith.

     Grief is not a disease that can be cured. It is a journey where hope can be restored, reconciliation of our relationship with God can occur, and the loss can be integrated into a meaningful life.

     It is only through gathering the courage to move toward the pain and suffering that healing begins to emerge.

“You have to feel it to heal it.”

                                           Dr. Alan Wolfelt

Five Domains of Pain

 Dr. Alan Wolfelt 

Physical:  Bereavement naturally results in      physical discomfort; the body responds to the stress of the encounter.    

 Emotional:  Bereavement naturally results in emotional discomfort and a multitude of wave-like emotions may be experienced that demand comfort.

 Cognitive:  Bereavement naturally results in cognitive discomfort; thought processes are confused and memory is impaired.

 Social:  Bereavement naturally results in social discomfort; friends and family may withdraw and isolation may result.

Spiritual:  Bereavement naturally results in spiritual discomfort; questions may arise such as, “Why go on living?”; “Will my life have meaning?”



     Mourning and grief are different.  Mourning is the outward expression of grief. It is what we do. Mourning can be many things including talking about the person who has died, journaling, or acknowledging special anniversary dates.

     Mourning is necessary for healthy grieving. Unfortunately, we live in a mourning avoidant culture. Normally the griever is pushed to “get over it” as soon as possible. Many times, the griever is discouraged from openly and honestly mourning life’s losses.


     Bereavement literally means to be “torn apart”. What does it mean to be torn apart spiritually? Even though we will address all five domains of pain as identified by Dr. Wolfelt, we will focus on what it means to grieve and mourn spiritually.

     Spiritual pain can be actualized in many ways. One may feel abandoned by God, or totally lose the meaning of life. At the very least, grief can make us question our relationship with God, our reasons for faith, and how God operates in our lives.

     Faith deepens and hope emerges through an honest and prolonged encounter with God.