Retreat offers hope for grieving widow/ers

For the past 17 years, New Hope for Widow/ers has held an annual retreat to provide support, encouragement and educational workshops to bereaved widows and widowers.

This year, the two-day retreat will be held May 2 and 3 at Vernon’s Emmanuel Fellowship Baptist Church.

Friday evening will feature guest speaker Brenda Jansen from Abbotsford, who was widowed in 2004. Refreshments and an opportunity to get to know fellow retreaters will follow.

Saturday, retreat participants will 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 can be 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.

This year, the retreat offers a Saturday program for children ages six to 10 facilitated by Val Johnson, who has many years of experience with children in the Vernon school district and served on the New Hope board in her early years as a widow.

“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,” said Karen Bouchard, with New Hope. “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 New Hope’s  volunteer board 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 topic.

Cost for the retreat is $75; accommodation is not included. To register, phone 250-545-6004 or email with your mailing address. More info is at


We encourage an open exchange of ideas on this story's topic, but we ask you to follow our guidelines for respecting community standards. Personal attacks, inappropriate language, and off-topic comments may be removed, and comment privileges revoked, per our Terms of Use. Please see our FAQ if you have questions or concerns about using Facebook to comment.