What is the difference in a Widowhood Workshop and a Widow/Widower Retreat? The Widowhood Workshop ministry has conducted both. It would be easy to confuse the two. Let me explain.
Generally speaking about their primary (not exclusive) purposes, one is educational…the other inspirational. One is a something-for-everyone event…the other strictly for the widowed. A Widowhood Workshop is the former. A Widow/Widower Retreat is the latter.
A Workshop educates attendees about widowhood, what the loss is like, and the challenge to live a meaningful life after the heartache of such a personal loss. It highlights both the divine and personal perspective about widowhood. This increased knowledge, hopefully, helps the non-widowed to more effectively minister to those who have lost their mates (in their families, churches, and communities). This education should also help those who are married to cherish their mate more, invest more heavily in their marriage with the reminder it will end at some point and one of them will be left behind. Greater knowledge will also help better prepare the one left behind to deal with the harsh reality of loss.
A Retreat is designed to inspire those who have suffered loss. They already know about loss. They are living it. They often struggle in silence. Their loss makes others feel uncomfortable. We humans do not like discomfort, so most keep our distance. Widowed people can become socially estranged. The Retreat atmosphere is unique. Everyone has suffered severe loss. Everyone there knows everyone else has suffered loss. It’s a social atmosphere without the typical awkwardness experienced by the widowed in public. The activities at a Retreat are faith-building, spirit-lifting, and thought-provoking. It is all about encouraging the widowed. We have Youth Meetings, Family Encampments, Ladies Inspiration Days…Why not have a Widow/Widower Retreat?
There is more information about both Workshops and the upcoming Retreat on the ministry website.