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Navigating Death & Grief in Congregations

When congregants encounter death and grief, they have intense questions. These questions may deeply impact their faith. What is your role as a congregational leader, and how can you best guide and support your congregation through death and grief? How do these events affect the spiritual lives of those involved? How do we bring faith together with medicine, the hospital, HIPAA, and death and dying? What about DNR, ethical dilemmas, and Advance Directives? Bedside pastoral care is vitally important, but we must also approach these subjects in small groups, as a care team, and even from the front during large gatherings. Death is a certainty, so how can we prepare ourselves to face death personally and to support others?

In this daylong event, the Director of Dignity and Spiritual Care and Chairperson of the Ethics Committee for Parkview Health, Rev. Patrick Riecke, will explore these questions.

During his tenure, Rev. Riecke and his staff of twenty hospital chaplains have responded to more than 14,000 patient deaths. Riecke will share lessons learned, dive into case studies and role play, draw lessons from the book of Job, and discuss the role of the dying patient in our modern context. He will provide resources and handouts on everything from medical ethics to understanding health care. Riecke will examine how we personally bear the burden of sadness in our hearts when one of our congregants dies.

Sickness and death are certainties, but when accompanied by good pastoral care, they can be cracks through which the light of faith can shine.

During this session, you will:

  • Examine case studies of congregants facing death and grief and role-play examples
  • Learn how to help your congregation balance faith and fear during times of health crisis, including practical considerations for hospital visitation
  • Practice completion of medical directives
  • Learn the best pastoral practices as you care for the sick, dying, and grieving
  • Consider your own heart for hidden grief, anxiety, and fear of death
In Person

The Summit Event Center
1025 W. Rudisill Blvd
Fort Wayne, IN  46807

Workshop(s) are listed in Eastern Standard Time (EST)

About the instructor
Patrick Rice

Rev. Patrick Riecke, M.A., is the director for Dignity and a Spiritual Care and chairperson for the Ethics Committee at Parkview Health. With over 25 years of ministry experience both in churches and healthcare, Riecke is a dynamic and engaging speaker. He draws on his own experience and the daily ministry experience of the team of 20 chaplains he leads. His healthcare team has responded to more than 14,000 patient deaths and he has fielded more than 500 ethics consults. He has a Graduate Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion from Cornell University. He’s an Indianapolis Colts fan, drinks dark roast coffee, and he caused five car accidents between ages 16 and 18. Sorry, mom and dad.