EVALUATION OF EFFECTIVENESS OF PASTORAL CARE PROGRAMMES ON GRIEF MANAGEMENT AMONG WIDOWS IN ACK DIOCESE OF EMBU, KENYA
MBAABU, KELLYJOY KATHOMI
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The death of a loved one is a painful experience that requires appropriate grief care. The loss of a husband for a widow is experienced as irreplaceable. It brings about an emotional constraint which could easily develop into depression. Therefore, a systemic understanding of the process of grieving is most important for pastoral care to grief management. The church esteems quality grief care especially with the increase in deaths. To deal with the above challenges the Anglican Church of Kenya (ACK) Diocese of Embu utilize pastoral care programmes for widows’ grief management. Widows in the ACK Diocese of Embu are registered at the diocesan office and meet quarterly every year for pastoral care programmes. However, the information on the effectiveness of these pastoral care programmes is limited. The purpose of this study was therefore to evaluate the effectiveness of the pastoral care programmes on grief management among widows in the ACK Diocese of Embu. The specific objectives were: to analyze the common challenges faced by widows in various stages of grief; to examine the effectiveness of pastoral Care programmes on grief management among widows in ACK Diocese of Embu and to evaluate the measures employed to make pastoral care programmes in ACK Diocese of Embu more responsive to the challenges faced by widows. Kubler-Ross’ theory on grief care for the bereaved guided the study. The study adopted descriptive survey research design and targeted 968 widows already in the pastoral care programmes, 7 Archdeacons heading the 7 Archdeaconries of ACK Diocese of Embu and 1 diocesan Bishop. Taking 10 percent of the targeted population as an acceptable sample size, systematic random sampling was used to select every 10th element hence a sample size of 97 respondents. The 7 Archdeacons and the 1 diocesan Bishop were purposively selected as key informants, giving a total of 8 representatives of the pastoral caregivers in the ACK Diocese of Embu. Data was collected from respondents using questionnaires. An Interview guide was used in data collection from the Diocesan Bishop. To test for reliability of the data collection instruments, a pilot study was conducted in two Archdeaconries of the neighbouring ACK Diocese of Kirinyaga. Cronbach’s alpha was used to determine the internal consistency of questionnaires and a coefficient α=0.72 an indicator that the research instruments were reliable. Validity of the instruments was ensured through expert opinion. Ethical considerations of anonymity, confidentiality and informed consent were strictly adhered to. Quantitative data was analyzed descriptively using frequencies, percentages, means and standard deviations. Data presentation was done in Tables, graphs and pie charts. Qualitative data was analyzed using thematic approach to enrich quantitative results. The study found out that existing pastoral care programmes insufficiently addressed the quality of life in its eschatological character. Again, the study found out that of the stages of grief, acceptance, bargaining, denial and anger affected 9%, 32%, 22% and 21% of the widows respectively. The study recommends that pastoral care programmes should address widows’ existential challenges and grief reactions as normal in reference to Christ’s suffering and the parting anxiety that is characterized by conveying God’s closeness and presence during a widow’s denial, anger, depression, guilt, bargaining, loneliness, acceptance and adaptation. The findings from this study will add on to existing knowledge on grief management and may be useful in improving the effectiveness of existing pastoral care programmes within ecclesia communities.