Since 1990 South Africa has been
characterised by far-reaching change in all spheres of society. A recent PhD dissertation
completed at the University of Pretoria described the loss members of the Dutch Reformed
Church (DRC) experience because of the rapid change. Experiences of loss are common
enough to be described as collective experiences of a community. Resulting grief processes
are long standing and unresolved. Grieving is the normal human response to loss, but many
DRC members (and probably the denomination and the whole Afrikaans community), got
stuck because of unresolved grief dynamics. The main contribution of this article is to argue
that local communities of faith can serve its members and the community by accepting the
task to initiate and guide collective grief processes. Intentional grief is seen as a ministry of
hope, resulting in a new and more appropriate identity.
1.W.S. Boshoff se PhD-proefskrif ‘Gemeentebou en die begeleiding van rouprosesse in ’n konteks van omvattende verandering’ is in 2011
voltooi onder leiding van prof. Malan Nel, Departement Praktiese Teologie, Teologiese Fakulteit, Universiteit van Pretoria.