The issue of widowhood is a serious pastoral issue in the church. Widows go through many difficulties in the name of culture when they are mourning their deceased husbands. It is believed that a woman is honoured through marriage. When the husband dies, she is mistreated, abused and left with no dignity. The purpose of this research is to come up with a pastoral care model that can be used by the church to pastorally care for widows in order to help them heal. A pastoral care model that can restore the dignity of women as created in the image of God. The project was done in Malawi in the area of the Church of Central Africa in the Presbyterian Synod of Blantyre.
The narrative theories were used in order to allow widows to express themselves so that their experiences could be understood better. African women Theology has found story telling as a powerful means of engaging women who have been through oppressive experiences and need to come out and talk about it. The process can be therapeutic and help women to move on. Through this method, the pain widows had from their experiences moved the author. A workshop was then organised for widows to help them begin to heal after a long time of keeping painful stories to themselves. The research found out the following
- That the church was not present for pastoral care during the grieving period of the widows.
- That some widows were exposed to dangerous cultural rituals of cleansing.
- That during funerals culture overtakes the teaching of the church.
- Those widows are dispossessed of their property and left with nothing with which to start a new life.
The fact that these issues affect women who are created in the image of God calls the church to pastorally care for them. To be able to journey with them during this difficult time so that in-laws and cultural practices do not take control and in so doing diminish their personhood. The Bible is very clear that God is passionate and cares for widows; an example the church has to emulate.