Recovering from Losses: One Parish's Challenge
Master of Arts in Pastoral Theology
For an adult, the central challenge of life is understanding and managing change (Whitehead xv). It "threatens one's past accomplishments", causing a person to feel insecure. If one considers the many changes that naturally occur in turnover within a body such as a church parish, how much more of a challenge will that entail? Increasing the challenge is the fact that the parish in question is one that is primarily African-American Roman Catholic (AARC) located in the heartland of the United States, making most of its members double minorities of race and religion. Further, because the changes involved the repeated losses of key people in the parish, and finally an embezzlement, one can understand the parish's feelings of insecurity, grief, helplessness, anger, and of being overwhelmed. Without guidance or needed attention, this hurting and grieving parish was visibly withering, simply losing its people as well as its heart and joy.