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When grief moves in: Pastoral care for grief and COVID-19 through stories

90-minute Presbyterian Outlook webinar
Recorded May 28, 2020
On-demand replay 
Presented by Mindy McGarrah Sharp

As 2020 has unfolded, grief has moved into lives, families and communities around the globe. Grief has also moved into the life of faith in new and complicated ways.  While specialized grief counseling with trained therapists remains vitally important, the need for short-term everyday griefwork is also huge.  Narrative methods for griefwork – grieving through the help of stories – is a form of pastoral care that anyone can lead and engage.

In this webinar, we will think about three ways that grief has moved into our lives during COVID-19 and some grief work that you can do as pastoral care.  Using a narrative approach, we will think about how grief moves in daily life rhythms, how grief moves in life milestones and religious rituals and how grief moves in ways of understanding the world we share with people everywhere.

Understanding the importance of grieving in these three areas will contribute to tangible ways of supporting yourself and others while living through a global pandemic.

Who should attend? Pastors, educators, church officers and those serving on congregational care committees.

Participants in this webinar will:

  • Define griefwork as pastoral care important for everyday life.
  • Practice and explore stories as a resource in griefwork in ways you can use for personal and communal reflection beyond the webinar.
  • Understand how grief unique to COVID-19 has compounded other kinds of grief.
  • Identify opportunities for griefwork in everyday life, in life milestones and religious rituals and in ways of understanding the world.

MINDY McGARRAH SHARP is associate professor of practical theology and pastoral care at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia, where she researches and teaches at the intersection of pastoral care, practical theology, ethics and postcolonial studies.  Author of “Misunderstanding Stories: Toward a Postcolonial Pastoral Theology” and “Creating Resistances: Pastoral Care in a Postcolonial World,” she regularly teaches courses on grief and responding to violence, believing that hope and faith become more reliable when accountable to such challenging aspects of life together.



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