Resilience, Grief, and the Christian Walk

Program Overview

A program for professional development and ministerial practice

Wooden walkway through a forest with sunlight coming through the trees.

While grief is a universal part of life, people may not always feel that they have the capacity or resources to cope well with it.  How might people of faith cultivate and strengthen resources to respond to and cope with grief?  In this series, we will take up this question by focusing on the three interrelated dimensions of grief, resilience, and a Christian worldview.    Throughout the series, we will consider themes through an explicit Christian lens and will seek to integrate our learning and experience with ministerial commitments and pastoral practice.  Each two hour session will provide opportunities for continuing education, personal reflection, and both small and large group conversation.  Please note that this series does not provide training or certification in any sort of grief counseling, nor is it designed as a grief support group.  Rather, the focus throughout will be integrative learning to enhance professional development and ministerial practice.

Topics & Learning Goals



  1. Considering Grief Today
  2. Resilience in Grief
  3. Cultivating Faithful Resilience
  4. Ministerial Practice and Next Steps in our Walk

Learning Goals:

  • We will consider some possible sources and contours of grief today, including related to Covid-19.  
  • We will explore aspects of coping with grief, with particular focus on contemporary understandings of resilience, 
  • and we will highlight some specific means of cultivating resilience that may aid in coping with grief.




Tuesdays: Feb. 14 | Feb. 21 | Mar. 21 | Apr. 25 | May 16


4:00-6:00 p.m. ET




$200 per semester

This program began February 2023.


Melissa Kelly, Ph.D.

Melissa M. Kelley is associate professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling and the faculty director of M.Div. program at the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry.  Dr. Kelley is a fellow and nationally certified pastoral counselor through the American Association of Pastoral Counselors.  She is also certified in Thanatology: Death, Dying and Bereavement through the Association for Death Education and Counseling, the primary organization in the country for all bereavement researchers, educators, and clinicians.   She is a pastoral formation guide with the Metropolitan Boston Association of the United Church of Christ and is the author of Grief: Contemporary Theory and the Practice of Ministry, published in 2010 by Augsburg Fortress Press.