Widows are likely to have more friends if they belong to a church. However, we hear story after story of widowed people who say, while they were very involved in their church, after their spouse’s death they have never heard from anyone in their church. They feel abandoned and unwelcome. They went from serving and singing in the front row of the choir to solitude and sobbing silently, on the back row and then out the door to never return.
There are those who are widowed who would love to be able to attend church but are not able to drive due to physical limitations.…yet, no one offers them the kindness of a ride.
Feeling like they don’t fit in leads to loneliness and loneliness leads to sadness and depression.
A simple idea that has been extremely successful is for churches to have widows only group and another for widowers only. We aren’t talking about a singles group or any type of dating service or gathering for Senior citizens). They do not need a counselor, a therapist or a “leader” of any kind who is a non-widow, because only another widow can understand what a widow is going through. (Ditto for a widower.) The greatest support and compassion is not from churches or a counselor, but other widows (or widowers).
Because widows don’t know who the other widows are in their church the church can help make a connection by having a dinner for widows, giving them a chance to meet. Valentines Day is a perfect time as the widowed* feel left out on that day, so it is a great time to kick if off. Seating the widows at table of 4 to 6 they can visit that night with other widows. From there, a meeting place can be made available at the church once or twice a month. Many of the widows who meet at the original dinner will begin to visit with their new friends (kindred spirits) outside of the meeting and want to continue after the dinner.
Churches that embrace widows find that widows, given hope and encouragement to be a part of something at the church, have a whole lot to offer, including their time and knowledge
Since they are members and usually the memorial service/celebration of life was held for their spouse at their church they assume that the church is will stay in touch. If no one fro the church makes the effort they may feel they are being shunned by church members. Their self esteem is low after becoming a widow and they don’t want anymore rejection. A widow will usually not ask her church for help. Church volunteers who make sure widows and widowers can remain involved can make a huge difference
James 1:27 says that true religion is to take care of widows in their distress. The Bible has much to say about caring for the widowed.
*yes, both women and men hurt and need love and understanding.