Vernon retreat for grievers offers widowers ‘New Hope’

Registration is open

  • Apr. 6, 2018 1:30 p.m.

The house is rattling and empty.The bills and sympathy cards sit in a stack, unopened. The helpful phone calls are few and far between.

Whether your spouse passed away a month ago or a few years ago, you know that you need support and help.

The New Hope for Widowers retreat provides support, encouragement, and educational workshops to benefit widows and widowers. It takes courage to attend a retreat for grievers, but the overwhelming response from those who come is warm and positive.

The goal is to create a safe place to share, learn, and connect with others who have also been widowed. The event will be held at Emmanuel Baptist Church in Vernon on May 4 and 5.

In the first day of the retreat, Grace Wulff, founder of New Hope, will share the story of beginning this organization when she was a young widow in the middle of her own grief experience.

Guest speaker Karl Janzen will relate his experience of losing his wife Kathy after 51 years of marriage. Following Kathy’s death in 2014, Karl found a measure of comfort and hope as a widower through attending the New Hope retreat.

The musical concert guest this year is Vernon’s own Mark Wensley, who is known for his heartwarming selections and style. Retreat attenders also have a chance to get to know each other in a relaxed setting while sharing refreshments after the evening session.The evening is from 7 – 9 p.m.

Saturday retreat participants attend a general session entitled Understanding the Basic Needs of the Griever, followed by an opportunity to share their individual stories of loss in a small group setting.

At registration, three of the following six workshop topics are chosen: Transitioning to Living Single, Hoping and Coping in the First Year, Complicated Grief, Experiencing Grief as a Man, Christianity and the Griever, and Financial and Estate Needs.

The day will include lunch and a candlelight ceremony of remembrance. That day goes from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m.

This retreat is a valuable time to gain knowledge and understanding of the grief process as well as a way to be encouraged and strengthened through common shared experiences.

New Hope’s unique characteristic is that having experienced widowhood themselves, members and volunteers are able to offer empathy and care to those who are mourning the loss of a spouse.

The retreat is organized by the volunteer board of directors and other members who come alongside the newly bereaved as “companions,” while the speakers and workshop leaders are experienced and knowledgeable in each of their particular topics.

To register call the New Hope office at 250-545-6004 or email To learn more about New Hope visit

Virginia Fairbrother

Special to the Morning Star

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