Nearly everyone who enters into “the estate of holy matrimony” does so with the intent to “live happily ever after.” Our culture’s consuming focus is on creating a picture-perfect wedding — not on supporting an ongoing marriage. For many people divorce may seem so common that, unless someone has actually journeyed through the experience, it may appear to be nothing more significant than a change in residence. Regardless of the circumstances, we need to acknowledge that divorce rips through the layers of trust, community, and security to reshape the very core of a person’s faith and identity. During this critical time many people shy away from the church. With a growing insecurity about their sense of belonging, it often becomes difficult to deal with the dynamics of a faith community.
- Be honest and upfront about the realities of families in transition. Honor privacy, but acknowledge pain. Model a spirit of grace and acceptance.
- Include prayers for the children and families in the midst of separation and divorce in our corporate prayers.
- Encourage those who have found healing in similar circumstances to be mentors for men, women, and children of all ages.
- Be sensitive to how we speak of divorce and marriage, being careful not to make common cultural misassumptions.
- Embrace the children. Surround them with love and attention.
- Put away the perfect attendance awards and recognize a child’s willingness to come when he or she can. Relay all forms of communication to both parents.
- Offer appropriate pastoral care and concern from formal ministry staff and from regular members.
- Give individuals in transition ways to realize that the power within them is greater than any challenge they face. Encourage them to claim the words of I John 4:4 as their ongoing inspiration.
Also, there is a community wide divorce support class that meets for 6 weeks during the fall and spring. For more information about this class or to speak with a pastor because you are going through a divorce, please contact the church office.