Doctor of Ministry
Number of Pages
Jeanine Parolini; Kate Scorgie
This project was aimed at developing a ministry care model for grieving children for the Baptist church in Nairobi, Kenya. Three Baptist churches with an active children’s ministry were identified. A study of the spiritual support available to the broken-hearted and the biblical view of children provided this project's biblical and theological foundation. Special attention was given to Psalm 23, John 10:1-21 and Luke 7: 11-17. The researcher discovered that children grievers can receive spiritual comfort, care, and community support to facilitate effective coping and grief resolution. The researcher then reviewed the literature on theories of child grief and bereavement, spiritual coping for grieving children, and the African conception of death and children to draw insights into how grieving children cope with loss. These three streams of literature converged and became the basis on which the researcher developed the research instruments. Three churches and three categories of participants participated in this study. The adult grievers and the parents whose children had experienced loss in childhood received the survey questionnaires through email. Then the researcher conducted virtual interviews with the church ministers and the adult grievers at their convenience. The data were coded and analyzed to determine trends, themes, and patterns. The following key findings for the development of a spiritual care model for grieving children were discovered. The church holds a critical role in the support of grieving children. There is a need for children’s workers, the congregation, and the community to be empowered with knowledge related to childhood grief to effectively support grieving children. Empowering children with information about loss and grief is critical in preparing them to better receive and cope with a loss if and when it happens. Short and long-term support is necessary for effective support of grieving children.
Doctor of Ministry
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Kiarie, E. W. (2023). Forgotten Grievers: Perspectives on Childhood Grief in the Baptist Church in Kenya [Doctoral thesis, Bethel University]. Spark Repository. https://spark.bethel.edu/etd/951