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Summer 2014/Sacramento



CN535: GRIEF, LOSS, DEATH AND DYING. (4 Units: 120 hours). William D. Roozeboom.

DESCRIPTION: The nature of human suffering, the problem of theodicy, the meaning of pain, the mystery of healing, and the discovery of hope will be theological and experiential themes central to the course. Grief, pain, loss, separation, death, and dying—the major crises of life—will be explored experientially, psychologically, culturally, and theologically. The focus will be on personal growth as the preparation for a ministry of pastoral presence, care-giving, and counseling.

LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, the participants will have (1) encountered the reality of their mortality; (2) reflected deeply on the need for thoughtful completion of life pilgrimage; (3) articulated the multiple and complex processes of grieving loss, encountering death, supporting the bereaved; (4) deepened skills in empathy and embodying incarnational pastoral presence; (5) surveyed the dynamics of death in the current health-care environment.

COURSE FORMAT: The class will meet for two weeks in the summer, four days each week, for four hours each day, for a total of 32 contact hours. The course offers both content and process: understanding the nature of loss experiences, of grieving, of encountering the reality of dying, of ministry in each of these crises and owning, facing, exploring, and embracing our own losses. Lecture and experiential process will be parts of the whole experience of correlating theology and pastoral care.


Kelley, Melissa M. Grief: Contemporary Theory and the Practice of Ministry. Fortress Press, 2010. ISBN: 978-0800696610, Pub. Price $20.00 [160 pp.].

Mitchell, Kenneth & Herbert Anderson. All Our Lossses, All Our Griefs: Resources for Pastoral Care. Westminster John Knox Press, 1983. ISBN: 978-0664244934, Pub. Price $20.00 [182 pp.].

Worden, William. Grief Counseling and Grief Therapy, Fourth Edition. Springer, 2008. ISBN: 978-0826101204, Pub. Price $55.00 [328 pp.].

Zurheide, Jeffery. WhenFaith Is Tested: Pastoral responses to suffering and tragic death. Fortress Press, 1997. ISBN: 978-0800629786, Pub. Price $17.00 [96 pp.].

*Attig, Thomas. How We Grieve: Relearning The World. Oxford University Press, 2010. ISBN: 978-0195397697, Pub. Price $26.95 [264pp.]. (This text will be on reserve, but students may wish to purchase it as well for greater access)

*Boss, Pauline. Loss, Trauma, and Resilience: Therapeutic Work with Ambiguous Loss. W. W. Norton & Co., 2006. ISBN: 978-0393704495, Pub. Price $29.95 [280 pp.]. (This text will be on reserve, but students may wish to purchase it as well for greater access)


Albom, Mitch. Tuesdays with Morrie. Doubleday, 1997. ISBN: 978-038548450, Pub. Price $23.95 [224 pp.].

Boss, Pauline. Loss, Trauma, and Resilience: Therapeutic Work with Ambiguous Loss. W.W. Norton, 2006. ISBN: 978-0393704495, Pub. Price $29.95 [280 pp.].

Cobb, John. Matters of Life and Death. Westminster John Knox Press, 1991. ISBN: 978-0664251697, Pub. Price $30.00 [124 pp.].

Fowler, Gene. Caring Through The Funeral: A Pastor’s Guide. Chalice Press, 2004. ISBN: 978-0827204935, Pub. Price $19.99 [192 pp.].

Irish, Donald, Kathleen Lundquist & Vivian Nelsen. Ethnic Variations in Dying, Death, and Grief: Diversity in Universality. Taylor & Francis, 1993. ISBN: 978-1560322771, Pub. Price $49.50 [248 pp.].

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth. On Death and Dying. Scribner, 1997. ISBN: 978-0684842233, Pub. Price $25.00 [288 pp.].

Lester, Andrew. Hope in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Westminster John Know Press, 1995. ISBN: 978-0664255886, Pub. Price $30.00 [176 pp.].

Lewis, C. S. A Grief Observed. HarperOne, 2009. ISBN: 978-0060652739, Pub. Price $16.99 [96 pp.].

Long, Thomas G. Accompany Them with Singing—the Christian Funeral. Westminster John Knox, 2009. ISBN: 978-0664233198, Pub. Price $25.00 [240 pp.].

Long, Thomas G. What Shall We Say?: Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith. Eerdmans, 2011. ISBN: 978-0802865144, Pub. Price $25.00 [172 pp.].

Parkes, Colin Murray,Pittu Laungani, & William Young. (eds.). Death and Bereavement Across Cultures. Routledge, 1997. ISBN: 978-0415131377, Pub. Price $44.95 [272 pp.].

Soelle, Dorothy, Suffering. Fortress Press, 1975. ISBN: 978-0800618131, Pub. Price $24.00 [192 pp.].

Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Lament For A Son. Eerdmans, 1987. ISBN 978-0802802941, Pub. Price $12.00 [111 pp.].


  1. 1200 pages reading minimum; students will provide a list of all books read, along with one paragraph about the book’s main themes and usefulness to ministry (10%).

  2. Class participation in lectures, experiential processes, and group discussions (10%).

  3. An ongoing self-reflective journal of thoughts, feelings, ideas, and questions in response the readings (25%).

  4. Interview someone who has experienced loss or interact with someone in a first-narrative account of loss (in a book or movie from a list provided in the syllabus) and write a short reflection on the experience (approx. 5 pages), noting insights, questions, and theological reflections (25%).

  5. A research paper or practical ministry project (approx. 10 pages) in an area within the topic of grief, loss, death, and dying of particular interest to the student. Options include: a research paper, a sermon manuscript and theological reflections on death and hope, a funeral service and theological reflections, a curriculum for a grief group (or study group) in a local church (30%).


RELATIONSHIP TO CURRICULUM: Meets the MDiv core requirement in Pastoral Counseling (MIN 5).

FINAL EXAMINATION: The final paper or project will serve as the final exam.

NOTE: This ECD is a reliable guide to the course design but is subject to modification. Textbook prices are set by publishers and are subject to change.

For your convenience, order these texts online through the Archives Bookshop.