Support Groups, Book Studies and Discussion
Women’s Book/Bible Study
This year the monthly Wednesday morning Women’s Book Group is reading and discussing Barbara Brown Taylor’s An Altar in the World. In this book, she reveals meaningful ways to discover the sacred in the small things we do and see, from simple practices such as walking, working, and prayer. Hanging clothes on the clothesline becomes an act of meditation if we pay attention to the sights, smells, and sounds around us. Making eye contact the grocery store cashier becomes a moment of human connection. Allowing yourself to get lost leads to new discoveries. Each chapter focuses on a certain practice that requires a body as well as a soul, that trusts that doing something is at least as valuable as reading books about it.
“Like anyone else, I am limited by my experience. The practices in this book grow from that experience in all its particularity, including my long immersion in the practices of Christian faith. I trust that those practices, like the central practices of all the world’s great faiths, are meant to teach people what it means to be more fully human. Without that confidence, I could not offer them to you. Whoever you are, you are human. Wherever you are, you live in the world, which is just waiting for you to notice the holiness in it. So welcome to your own priesthood, practices at the altar of your own life. The good news is that you have everything you need to begin.” [From the introduction]
We invite women of all ages who are available during the day to come join us on Wednesday January 12th at 10:00 in the parlor. We have the happy problem of having run out of pre-ordered books, but you can buy it online or order it through your favorite bookstore. Stop by the church office to get a copy of the Study Guide that we will be using. For the January meeting, please read Chapter 6: The Practice of Encountering Others – Community. We will use the questions in the Study Guide to inform our discussion. If you have any questions, please contact Debbie Leavitt at We hope to see you there!
Informal Grief Support Group for Adults Who Have Lost Spouses/Partners or Siblings
This group meets monthly, September–May, on the 2nd Monday of each month, 4:00-5:30 pm in the Church Parlor or virtually. This is an informal gathering, to share joys and concerns, tools for coping, and each other’s company. There is no cost. Because of COVID protocols, however, there are space limitations. For information about openings, please email Steve Hardy 
Informal Grief Support Group for Parents Who Have Lost Children
This group meets monthly September–May, on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, 5:00-6:30 pm in the Church Parlor. This is an informal gathering, to share joys and concerns, tools for coping, and each other’s company. There is no cost. Because of COVID protocols, however, there are space limitations. For information about openings, please email Steve Hardy 

Bereavement Program

Grief, Healing, and Resilience: A Structured Program of Support for Adults Who Have Lost Children/Grandchildren, Nieces/Nephews, Spouses/Partners, or Siblings, held across four meetings, 5:00pm-6:30pm on the following Mondays: 4/4, 4/11, 4/18 and 4/25. Location: Chapel, Community Church of Durham, NH

At some point, most humans suffer grief, often defined as the process by which someone experiences loss. But losing a child/grandchild, niece/nephew, spouse/partner, or a sibling is an especially devastating form of seismic trauma. While grieving is very specific—based on the individual griever, the nature of the loss, and the relationship with who has been lost—there are many common elements to the journey. These include an emotional roller coaster at times triggered by passing comments such as “Oh, you’ll get over it” or “You’ll have another child,” or “Don’t be in denial,” or “She’s in a better place.” This program of four 90-minute meetings is NOT clinical therapy, but it is designed to offer information and some tools for engaging with grief and healing. While spiritual in orientation, the program is non-sectarian and non-denominational. Discussion is most welcome, but no one need participate if not comfortable doing so. As one participant noted: “it is really hard to express one’s true feelings but Steve made it comfortable to do.”

Facilitator: Steve Hardy earned a graduate-level Grief Support Specialist Certificate from the University of Wisconsin in 2017. More important, he has personal experience in grief—shared with his wife Donna—through the loss of two sons. He retired in 2014 as Professor of Kinesiology and Affiliate Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire, where he won awards for teaching excellence. This is the third time he has offered the structured program. Since 2018, he has also facilitated informal grief support groups. And he has written blogs on resilience at: 

Enrollment: This program is for grieving adults who have lost a child/grandchild, niece/nephew, spouse/partner, or a sibling. BYO writing material— tablet (paper or digital), pencil, pen. There is no cost, but enrollment is limited to 20 people. For information or registration please contact Steve Hardy at: or 603-781-7194.