Original Research

Bereavement healing ministry amongst Abaluyia: Towards a ‘circle for pastoral concern’ as a healing model

Benjamin Shikwati, Vhumani Magezi, Rantoa Letšosa
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 47, No 1 | a663 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v47i1.663 | © 2013 Benjamin Shikwati, Vhumani Magezi, Rantoa Letšosa | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 26 September 2012 | Published: 04 October 2013

About the author(s)

Benjamin Shikwati, Department of Ecclesiastical Sciences, North-West University, South Africa
Vhumani Magezi, Department of Ecclesiastical Sciences, North-West University, South Africa
Rantoa Letšosa, Department of Ecclesiastical Sciences, North-West University, South Africa


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Abstract

This article formulates a new integrated pastoral care approach to bereavement healing ministry in Africa, termed a circle for pastoral concern. In pursuit of this, the article highlights the pastoral challenge brought about by the occurrence of death and bereavement within the cultural and Christian intermix. Using the example of the Abaluyia of western Kenya, traditional cultural bereavement healing approaches are assessed against the backdrop of Christian influence on the understanding and response to death and bereavement healing and the resultant tension. The article juxtaposes the Abaluyia cultural concept of okhukura [to encircle with loving care] with the biblical koinōnia [fellowship, communion] as springboard for building culturally sensitive and biblically sound Christian caring communities. It is hoped that the juxtaposition helps to establish and promote meaningful engagement between therapeutic traditional beliefs and practices, and the gospel. The gospel-culture engagement within a local church setting provides the context in which bereavement healing and individual growth after the death of a significant other takes place. The juxtaposition is necessitated by the rampant practice in African pluralistic societies where Christians consciously, or otherwise, lurch back to cultural approaches in their effort to provide or find healing when faced with death and bereavement. The ‘circle for pastoral concern’ model encourages inclusiveness by enlisting the means and talents of the community of believers, both ordained and lay. The principle of inclusion ensures that the load of pastoral care is shared and assumes a deeper response due to diversity of gifts and talents within the caring community.


’n Nuwe integrale benadering vir pastorale hulpverlening en berading tydens rousmart word voorgestel, naamlik ’n omsirkelingsmodel vir pastorale omgee-uitreiking met die oog op treurbediening binne ’n Afrika-konteks. Die vraagstuk van pastorale hulp en heling word behandel. Treurprosesse in Afrika vind binne die wisselwerkende verband tussen Christelike geloof en kultuurkonteks plaas. As voorbeeld van ’n dergelike interkulturele benadering, word die gebruike tydens rou en smartbelewing van die Abaluyia-groep in die westelike deel van Kenia ondersoek. Die Abaluyia-konsep van okhukura [om met liefdevolle sorg te omarm] word met die Bybelse konsep van koinōnia [onderlinge ondersteunende gemeenskap] vergelyk. Hierdie verband kan waarskynlik met die vestiging van sinvolle treurgroepe binne kulturele gemeenskapsverbande help, terwyl die wisselwerkende verband tussen tradisionele heling binne Afrikaspiritualiteite en die Christelike geloof in ag geneem word. Binne die Christelike konteks is dit die plaaslike kerk wat ’n deurslaggewende rol in die verwerking van smart kan speel. Dit is ook hier waar die filter tussen ’n Christelike praktyk en ander kulturele praktyke plaasvind ten einde die verwerking van smart optimaal toe te pas. ’n Dergelike sirkelverband is noodsaaklik om te voorkom dat Christene terugkeer na onaanvaarbare kulturele praktyke van smartverwerking binne ’n pluralistiese samelewing. Die model wat voorgestel word, is inklusief en sluit die offisiële amp sowel as die amp van gelowiges in. ’n Inklusiewe benadering versprei die verantwoordelikheid van pastorale betrokkenheid en skep ’n omgee-gemeenskap waar die verskeidenheid van gawes en talente geïnkorporeer word.


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