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Spring 2014/Pasadena



CN535: GRIEF, LOSS, DEATH, AND DYING (4 Units). 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; and (5) surveyed the dynamics of death in the current health-care environment.

COURSE FORMAT: 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. The class will meet once a week for a three-hour session.


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, 2009. ISBN: 978-0826101204, Pub. Price $37.99 [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.].


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

Boss, Pauline. Loss, Trauma, and Resilience: Therapeutic Work with Ambiguous Loss. W.W. Norton, 2006. ISBN: 978-0393704495, Pub. Price $27.50.

Cobb, John. Matters of Life and Death. Westminster/John Knox, 1991. ISBN: 978-0664251697, Pub. Price $30.00.

Irish, Donald, Kathleen Lundquist & Vivian Nelsen. Ethnic Variations in Dying, Death, and Grief: Diversity in Universality. Taylor & Francis, 1993. ISBN: 978-1560322788, Pub. Price $42.95.

Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth. On Death and Dying. Scribner, 1997. ISBN: 978-0684839387, Pub. Price $19.66.

Lester, Andrew. Hope in Pastoral Care and Counseling. Westminster, 1995. ISBN: 978-0664255886, Pub.price $30.00.

Lewis, C. S. A Grief Observed. New York: Seabury Press, 1963. ISBN: 978-0060652739, Pub. Price $16.99.

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

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

Soelle, Dorothy, Suffering. Fortress, 1975. ISBN: 978-0800604196, Pub. Price not available. ***OUT OF PRINT.

Wolterstorff, Nicholas. Lament For A Son. Erdmans, 1987. ISBN: 978-0802802941, Pub. Price $12.00.


  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.