Pastor sets up group to help the grieving
- Gresham Outlook - Features
Ministry bridges gap between families and needed services
ROCKWOOD - Dale Seipp has always thought of funeral service as a form of ministry.
Now he combining his years of experience as a pastor and as a licensed funeral director to create a new ministry at The Church at Rockwood, 17201 E. Burnside St.
Seipp, the church's minister of support and bereavement, has been working with the congregation to put together a team of volunteers who can help families prior to, at the time of, or after the death of a loved one.
Most of the services the bereavement ministry team will provide are free and are both flexible and specialized to the needs of individual families.
'If someone is in a long-term care situation, where they have to care for someone else, they don't have time to mow the lawn,' Seipp said. 'We can step in and assist them with people to do those types of chores.'
The goal of the program is to provide family members a safe place to discuss their needs, make the necessary arrangements, and work through their grief.
'We're here simply to be available, to reach out to members of the community and be there for their needs,' Seipp said, adding that he hopes the support and bereavement program will be a way for families to connect to the services they need.
'We've all heard the phrase 'information is power,' and to know is to feel comfortable,' Seipp said. Seipp has worked with a number of adult foster care and hospice programs, churches and funeral homes to create a network of resources for families.
As a funeral director who is licensed in both Oregon and Washington, he can help families make arrangements prior to the death of a loved one. This can mean helping families gather and fill out the necessary paperwork, or working with a funeral director to plan a service and disposition.
Seipp can also provide support to families at the time of a death.
He has recruited a team of 25 volunteers with a variety of skills to help families with domestic tasks in the days immediately following a loss and provide assistance with any special needs.
Perhaps most importantly, Seipp will lead a series of 10-week grief support classes throughout the year for those who have lost loved ones. The next class is set for August.