"Embracing God's Future without Forgetting the Past," Part Two

Treatment of Complicated Mourning by Dr. Therese A. Rando


On Wednesday, March 29, we welcomed back Bishop Mike Girlinghouse. In our last time together, we talked about yearning and nostalgia as two common responses in congregations experiencing grief at the perceived loss of the past. In this second session, we talked about how that grief manifests itself in congregational systems and how we can use nostalgic memories to draw strength from the past and step into God's future.

"Many congregations today are dealing with changes that have led to decline and significant loss. In Embracing God's Future without Forgetting the Past, Michael K. Girlinghouse argues that until a congregation comes to terms with its perceived losses through a healthy process of grief, it will be paralyzed in the present and unable to think creatively about the future. Acknowledging and expressing grief will give the congregation the courage to redefine its relationship with the past and draw strength and encouragement from its memories as it steps into the future."

Rev. Mike Girlinghouse has served as Bishop of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Synod since July of 2011. Prior to being called to serve as Bishop, he was Pastor of University Lutheran Church in Norman, OK, and Campus Pastor for the University of Oklahoma. Ordained in 1987, he has served as a parish pastor, campus pastor, and in congregations in transition or in need of a substitute pastor. Bishop Girlinghouse has also served as an instructor at two universities, teaching courses in Death and Dying and World Religion. He was born in Milwaukee, WI, attended college at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN, and seminary at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Bishop Girlinghouse is married and has one adult daughter. He loves to cook, is a writer, and plays trombone and the djembe drum.

We invite you to bring a spirit of curiosity to these gatherings and to all aspects of your life. What are you noticing? Where is Spirit moving? How are you being invited to participate?