Ministry Division


Pastoral Care and Counseling


Melvin D. Hugan

Reader 1

Carl J. Bosma

Reader 1

Calvin P. VanReken

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Theology (Th.M)


Lament, Pastoral Care, Ministry


The general purpose of the thesis is to reintroduce an ancient Jewish/Christian tradition of lamenting which taps the anger and inappropriateness of death, destruction, and injustice. This ancient tradition has been lacking and has not been readily encouraged in the Christian community, even though lamenting can easily be understood as a vital part of our relationship with a covenantal God.

More specifically the thesis describes ministry to bereaved parents, and the important place of lament in this ministry. Although the psalms of lament are set forth as the main model, other creative avenues of lamenting are explored. Some prayers and a baptismal form which incorporate the lament theme are included. Pastors and Christian caregivers have many opportunities to minister to people in crises: who struggle with physical, emotional or spiritual problems. What we say or do, as well as the resources we bring to these situations, sends a clear message to the sufferer regarding the Christian faith. As we become more aware of the importance of lament in the pastoral care to bereaved parents, we can then be more intentional in bringing our words, actions and attitudes to facilitate lamenting. Encouraging the process of lamenting will help to bring a sense of "Shalom" into the brokenness which bereaved parents and many others experience.



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