CHECKLIST FOR PASTORS
• Include encouraging comments in messages that speak to the heart of those who are grieving.
• Be cognizant of phrases and illustrations in messages that are offensive to widows/widowers. "I'm serious as a heart attack," " I about had a stroke," and "You'd have died if you saw that," are offensive to those whose spouse has died.
• Keep in frequent contact with widows/widowers in your church. Phone calls or going by for a home visit are very important. When visiting widows take your wife along with you rather than another male.
• Prior to holidays/special occasions, visit the widows/widower's home to pray with them and their children. Holidays/special occasions are very difficult in the church for widows/widowers. Knowing you recognize that will be very helpful.
• Some pastors have a special prayer on holidays/special occasions during the service for those who have lost a close loved one, asking them to come to the front and stand with you as they pray. Some widows/widowers are comfortable standing up front, others are not. Talk with them ahead of time.
• Do not refer to widows as "Ms." rather than "Mrs." They proudly claim the title of "Mrs".
• When preparing your messages make note of things that widows/widowers may find painful. Contact the widows/widowers in your church and prepare them for what will be said. Widows who arrive at church to hear a message on Godly fathers/husbands will not be prepared emotionally as widowers who would hear a message honoring mothers/wives.