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Invisible Parents

October 5, 2012

As I have said elsewhere in this blog – and to whomever will listen to me – ministry to children is also ministry parents.  This does not just mean that when we minister to people’s children, we are addressing some of the deepest needs and greatest priorities of the parents in so doing.  It also means that in order to minister to children, we must minister to parents.  Parents and children, though with distinct needs, are connected.  When one thrives, the other thrives.  When one suffers, the other suffers.  If your community is finding it difficult to build up a children’s ministry program, consider starting with a parents’ ministry program and see if that shakes things loose.

Ministry to parents, however, needs to include not only the parents whose children energize our worship and occupy our Sunday School teams.   We need to find ways to minister to the “invisible parents”, as Alexis Myers Chase calls them in her article “Talk About It”.  These are the parents whose children (or all of whose children) are not with us -whether due to  miscarriages, still births, childhood deaths, babies given up for adoption, children deeply desired but not even conceived due to heartbreaking infertility.  Each story will be different but each parent will need care.


Myers Chase writes:

I don’t know what it looks like to allow families the space to grieve the loss of a child in your ministry, but I am positive that it is necessary.  There are families in your pews who are struggling right now and don’t have anywhere to turn.  Yes, absolutely rejoice with the people that have children.  But please remember there are people in your pews, that don’t. If you have gone through this type of loss, I am so sorry.  I don’t think we all have to share our stories, but I do pray that we can find a way to create a space for families that are grieving.

I have no more answers than she has but I share her prayer.

Read “Talk About It” at Fidelia’s Sisters, the on-line publication of the Young Clergy Women Project.

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