By: Sydney Alleyne, AFL Social Media Specialist

Grief is a journey marked by pain, confusion, and sometimes despair, yet within its depths lie seeds of hope and the promise of healing. This is the journey that Brave Penny, a nonprofit grief ministry that’s mission is to walk alongside individuals and families facing the loss of a loved one or significant life changes.

Recently, Georgette Forney, President of Anglicans For Life, had the privilege of sitting down with Sharon Fox, the Executive Director and Co-Founder of Brave Penny, to dive into the heart of this extraordinary ministry. What emerged from their conversation was a profound testament to the power of faith, compassion, and community in navigating the shadowy terrain of grief. At the core of Brave Penny’s mission is the “Shadowlands Grief Recovery Program,” a six-session journey of healing rooted in Scripture and enriched with practical coping skills. Shadowlands offers a comprehensive approach to grief recovery. The name “Shadowlands” itself is drawn from the timeless words of Psalm 23: “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.” It speaks to the universal experience of grappling with loss and the comforting presence of God amidst the darkness. Sharon Fox eloquently articulated how God, in His infinite love, even grieved the death of Jesus, offering a profound source of empathy to those who mourn.

In addition to the sessions themselves, Brave Penny provides a wealth of support materials, including books, articles, DVDs, and CDs, designed to accompany individuals on their journey of healing. Among their noble initiatives is a strong focus on suicide prevention, addressing the sobering reality of lives lost to suicide and euthanasia. Sharon shared staggering statistics such as 46,000 suicides in America and 10,000 euthanizations in Canada in 2021. Both statistics underscore the urgent need for valuing and preserving life.

Euthanasia continues to cast a shadow over our society, leaving behind a trail of devastation and heartbreak. Brave Penny stands as a beacon of hope and healing in the face of profound loss. Euthanasia, often touted as a compassionate solution to end suffering, has strong ethical, moral, and societal implications. Brave Penny’s unwavering commitment to standing for life is evident in its multifaceted approach to addressing the complex issues surrounding euthanasia and suicide. Through a range of programs and initiatives, Brave Penny endeavors to provide support, healing, and understanding. The Understanding Suicide program is a vital resource offered to shed light on the underlying factors contributing to suicide and to provide support for individuals and families navigating the aftermath of loss. By fostering empathy, awareness, and dialogue, Brave Penny seeks to dismantle the stigma surrounding suicide and offer a beacon of hope to those struggling in the darkness.

Beyond these initiatives, Brave Penny’s broader mission rests in creating a network of support and healing within communities, churches, and beyond. Through licensing churches to deliver Brave Penny’s materials and programs, Sharon Fox and her team are mobilizing a grassroots movement to combat the pervasive culture of death and promote a culture of life, dignity, and compassion. Sharon also plans to introduce two additional programs for first responders and cancer patients – recognizing the profound challenges and losses faced by these groups. These initiatives are not just programs; they represent sacred opportunities to showcase God’s love and compassion within the unique contexts of grief and loss.

Looking to the future, Brave Penny is poised to expand its reach and impact through the introduction of specialized grief recovery programs tailored to specific demographics. In February 2024, Sharon will be presenting three sessions of the regular Shadowlands Grief Recovery program alongside two new variations that address the unique needs of caregivers of dementia patients and military personnel – both veterans and active-duty.

As Georgette and Sharon concluded their conversation, one thing became abundantly clear – Brave Penny is more than just a ministry; it’s a beacon of hope, a sanctuary of healing, and a testament to the transformative power of faith and community in the face of grief. For more information on how you can support Brave Penny’s mission, or access resources for healing and support, visit their website at www.bravepenny.org/. Together, let us stand united in defense of life, dignity, and the inherent worth of every human being.

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