High River United Church of High River, Alberta

Grief & Spiritual Support

Grief Support 

Grief is a journey - and we are willing to share in that journey with you.

Rev. Susan & Rev. David are available to support you through your time of grief, which can take much longer than our society allows for.  Please contact them via the church office: 403-652-3168 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to set up an initial appointment.


Documents You May Find Helpful.





Grief is what we feel over any loss in life – from losing a set of keys, to losing a job, to    divorce, to loss of dreams or loss of health, to the death of a loved one.      

           When we lose our keys, the grief is short and fairly inconsequential in life.

           When we lose a loved one through death, the grief fills a huge part of our lives.

The grief we feel at the death of a loved one has many levels.

           We are not only grieving the permanent absence of one we love.

            Our grief is also layered with a multitude of emotions because of the loss of dreams and plans we had with our loved one, the loss of income and security, a change in houses or living arrangements may be necessitated, the loss of friends and relationships, the loss of our role as partner, caregiver, etc. , the loss of our understanding of who we are, the loss of lifestyle, the loss of meaning, the loss of faith and/or the loss of joy.

There are no stages of grief or set emotions one should feel in grief.  Each person's journey is unique.  We would be privileged to share your journey with you.




 New Painted Labyrinth July 2015


Labyrinth: the gift of walking prayer

You are welcome to walk the labyrinth at High River United Church.  


We recommend you call the church office (403-652-3168) before coming to walk, to ensure there are no other events booked in the room.


Watch the announcements for special labyrinth walks, events and workshops.


What is a labyrinth?

 The labyrinth is an ancient sacred pattern. Most faith traditions have a form of labyrinth that is used for meditation or walking prayer. e.g. mandalas, medicine wheels. In the Christian tradition, journeying to a cathedral and walking its labyrinth was used instead of a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. The High River United Church labyrinth is based on the pattern of the labyrinth found in Notre Dame de Chartres Cathedral in France, an 11 circuit labyrinth built in 1201 AD. The pattern is based on sacred geometry and contains many significant Christian symbols such as the cross and the rose, as well as many other important symbols that support the spiritual journey.


Maze or Labyrinth?

 “Labyrinth” and “maze” are used interchangeably but they are different. A maze has choices to be made and dead ends which cause one to backtrack. It is meant to trick you and doesn’t support prayer. A labyrinth has no choices or dead ends. There is only one path to and from the centre, allowing you to focus on prayer. The left and right turns help to bring balance and centering to body, mind & soul.


Why walk a Labyrinth?

Each person approaches prayer differently. Some like to sit in the quiet. Some knit, paint, sing or write. Some find movement helpful. The labyrinth provides the space & pattern for walking prayer. The labyrinth path becomes a metaphor for the journey of our lives. As we walk the path, we open ourselves to God’s wisdom and guidance. The labyrinth is a tool that helps us centre our lives in the midst of fear, doubt, grief, anxiety. It helps us find the still point in the midst of the chaotic world. It helps bring Divine spaciousness & clarity to our lives.


Walk your questions, your silence, your grief, your needs, your hopes, your joy.

Walk to explore, to find quiet and balance, to be challenged, to find clarity and peace.

Walk to connect with the Divine.

Walk in open honesty with God.

Walk to soak up the Holy

Walk….for it is solved by walking.

Solviture ambulando

  (it is solved by walking)          St. Augustine





Spiritual Direction

  • Do you need the space to reflect upon the place of God in your life?
  • Are you wondering what God wants you to do?
  • Are you wondering if God is working in your life at all?

Bring your wonderings, doubts, questions and thoughts to a session of Spiritual Direction with Rev. David Robertson. In this a one-on-one hour. Rev. David will listen and will reflect with you on the movement of the spirit in your life. Rev. David Robertson has a certificate in Spiritual Direction and Mentoring from the Pacific Jubilee Program.


When was the last time someone really listened to you? Spiritual direction is like a “spa day” for your soul!


   Time: Sessions can be booked at a mutually convenient time.

   Cost:   Suggested donation, if you wish, of $50-75 (tax receiptable)                       

   Contact: Rev. David Robertson (652-3168) or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Family & Marriage Support

This congregation is committed to being a place of help, home and hope for you.


Our ministers, Rev. Susan & Rev. David, have more than 25 years of experiencing in spiritual direction and counseling and in supporting those who are seeking to improve their relationships and family life. They have completed advanced studies with Dr. Gordon Neufeld ( www.neufeldinstitute.com  ) to further their skills in supporting family life and individual journeys.


They are glad to meet with you to offer support, ideas and reflection wherever you are in your journey and have background in dealing with:

-grief support

-abuse and bullying

-infertility, miscarriage and infant death

-marriage relationship

-spiritual direction


Please contact either of them through the church office to make an appointment.  


Prayer Shawl Ministry

Shawls have been made for centuries. They are universal and embracing, symbolic of an inclusive, unconditionally loving God. They wrap, enfold, comfort, cover, give solace, mother, hug, shelter and beautify. Those who have received these shawls have been uplifted and affirmed, as if given wings to fly above their troubles. - Janet Bristow, founder of Prayer Shawl Ministry, 1998


Within the Jewish tradition (to which we are connected as Christians), a prayer shawl (tallit) is used as part of the daily prayer practice. One enfolds oneself in the tallit as a reminder of the presence of the One God and as a reminder to follow the path of God as laid out in the commandments. It is intended to inspire awe and reverence.

A group of women, including Janet Bristow and Vicky Galo, began a shawl-knitting ministry in 1998 as part of the 1st Women’s Leadership Institute at Hartford Seminary, Hartford, Connecticut. They began by knitting shawls for women who were undergoing breast cancer treatments as well as other illnesses. From their work, the prayer shawl ministry has expanded across North America.


Knitting, crocheting and weaving can be a very prayerful and contemplative act, a time of focusing on God, and finding peace in the rhythm of the work. The creation of a prayer shawl blesses the maker as well as the receiver.

Knitters & crocheters within our congregation are constantly creating prayer shawls to share a tangible reminder of God’s presence. If you would like to receive a prayer shawl, or if you would like to knit or crochet prayer shawls for us, please contact the church office at 403-652-3953. We have yarn waiting for those who would like to make prayer shawls.


Using a Prayer Shawl

You may wish to drape your prayer shawl lightly across your shoulders, cover yourself as you rest, or simply keep it on your favourite chair. Let it be a reminder that although we can’t always be there with you, our thoughts and prayers are with you.


You may want to keep it always or some day you may be prompted to pass it on to someone else. Follow your heart!


As you use it, may you grow in your awareness of God’s blessing resting upon you, in all places and at all times.

You created my inmost self, knit me together in my mother’s womb.

For so many marvels I thank you, o God; a wonder am I, and all

your works are wonders, that I know very well. Psalm 139:13-14


Contact: the church office 652-3168 for yarn and information


Solace Grief Support

Who we are:

We are a group of local people sharing journeys through loss and grief.  This is a separate society, and not run by High River United Church.


What we do:

We provide a confidential, safe and supportive atmosphere to share experiences of love, loss, grief and hope.


What we offer:

Support, caring, friendship and understanding.


Who can join us:

This group is open to anyone who would like the support of a local group as they journey through grief and loss.


To join a group counselling session or to arrange individual or family counselling, please reach out to us by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.">This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or contact one of our counselors: 

- Vi Sharpe @ 403.860.3189

- Pattie Ann Pryma  403-852-5267


Counselling is always free-of-charge.  

 Follow us on Facebook:   solacefriefsupport 



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123 MacLeod Trail S.W. High River, Alberta.

(403) 652-3168


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