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A Loved One Dies

Author: Paul Beasley-Murray
Published By: Baptist Union of Great Britain (Didcot)
Pages: 32
Price: unknown
ISBN: 0 901472 93 X

Reviewed by Author unknown.

A death, even an ‘expected’ one, comes as a great shock to those closest to the deceased. And then at a time of a bewildering array of feelings and emotions, there is suddenly so much to do and arrange and decide.

This booklet will prove to be a valuable resource to many who are caught up in the trauma of the death of a loved one. It is written with sensitivity and care and with a mixture of practical guidance and spiritual help. Chapters cover the immediate task, understanding grieving, some relevant Bible verses and prayers, planning the funeral and Christian hope. I am heartened that “Death is nothing at all” is nowhere in sight.

This will be very suitable to give to some church members and maybe better entrusted to someone other than the one most closely bereaved, so that they can help them find their way around it. It’s difficult to see it in the hands of those who are not directly connected with the church. However, it would prove an excellent manual and resource for all church ministers and pastoral team leaders and bereavement support group members. Those new to ministry will find it especially valuable.

The Bible Readings and Prayers which are included are all highly appropriate and cover a wide variety of needs and circumstances. They might make a stand-alone leaflet, but ask the author’s permission before producing home-grown versions! I welcomed the emphasis on separating out the eulogy/tribute and address in the funeral service.

I confess that I am personally not in favour of the growing practice commended here of a committal taking place at the crematorium before a service in church. While I agree that there is a danger of the committal following the service taking the close family away from their friends at a critical time, I worry if people’s only experience of a service at the time of a death is without a coffin present (death really is something at all!).

That said, there is much here borne out of personal experience and considerable ministerial experience that makes this a valuable resource in pastoral ministry.

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You are reading Issue 38 of Ministry Today, published in November 2006.

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