Click inside for the weekly religion news with items on holiday grief and divorce seminars, “Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back,” the accomplishments of John Wycliffe and more. Or check out these links:

People who've experienced the death of a loved one often face Thanksgiving and Christmas with dread. The coming holiday season may also trigger feelings of anxiety and stress for people experiencing a separation or divorce.


However, one-time seminars being held across the nation may make it easier for grieving people and those in a marital breakup to make it through the 2010 holiday season by providing actionable strategies and encouragement.


Church Initiative is a nondenominational, “church-equipping” ministry that, according to its website, aims to provide churches throughout the country and the world with “Christ-centered, biblically-based” materials to help local churchgoers minister to people in their community. Originally, the ministry was founded as DivorceCare in 1993 with a goal of providing materials to help people “recover from the pain of separation and divorce” and to “help couples remain together and reconcile whenever possible.”


Now the ministry offers “Surviving the Holidays” seminars that include video presentations featuring advice from counselors, teachers and real-life stories from people who've experienced the challenges of the holiday season. After the video is a facilitated, small-group discussion where attendees discuss concepts and share their specific concerns.


DivorceCare shares practical strategies and encouraging counsel on topics such as how to face tough and unexpected emotions during the holiday season, survive potentially awkward and hurtful moments at parties and help children have a happy holiday.


One seminar attendee realized the potential ramifications of the decisions he was then facing: "Right in the middle of it, all I could think about was, ‘I'm not doing this to my family.'”


GriefShare, an off-shoot for those grieving a death, offers suggestions on how to handle hard-hitting emotions during the holiday season, what to do about family traditions, how to scale back on activities and holiday preparations and where to find the strength to go on.


A participant in Charlotte, N.C., found encouragement in learning "that ‘moving forward' is different from ‘moving on.'"


Each seminar attendee receives a ‘survival guide’ containing more than 30 days of devotional readings that target specific concerns faced by grieving people and those who've faced a marital breakup. The guides also include helpful charts and articles to help attendees create a holiday plan and learn how to have a more manageable, healthy approach to the busy season.


Both websites, GriefShare.org and DivorceCare.org, offer downloadable holiday-centric articles and helpful video clips featuring teachings and personal testimonies on holiday survival after grief, divorce or separation. Both websites also include a searchable database of holiday seminar locations.


-- ReligionNews.com


Week in Religion


- Nov. 23, 800, Charlemagne arrives at Rome to investigate the alleged crimes of Pope Leo III.


- Nov. 24, 1105, Rabbi Nathan ben Yehiel of Rome completes Talmudic dictionary.


- Nov. 25, 1277, Giovanni Gaetano Orsini elected as Pope Nicolas III.


Survey Says


According to the Associated Press, a three-judge panel of the 1st Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that a New Hampshire law that requires public schools to make time for students to voluntarily say the Pledge of Allegiance is, indeed, constitutional, as earlier ruled by a federal judge.


Good Book?


“Heaven is for Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back” by Todd Burpo, Sonja Burpo, Colton Burpo and Lynn Vincent.


This is the true story of the four-year-old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who, during emergency surgery, slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and talks about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room.


Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born. Told by the father, but often in Colton's own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place.


-- Nelson, Thomas Inc.


Get to Know …


John Wycliffe (circa 1328 – 1384) was an early dissident of the Roman Catholic Church and became known as “the morning star of the Reformation,” as he founded the Lollard movement, which eventually became the Protestant Reformation.


An English preacher, theologian and professor, he was the first person to translate the bible into English, called Wycliffe’s Bible.


The Word


Fatalism: The belief that any effort to improve oneself or the world is useless because blind, irrational forces predetermine everything.


-- religioustolerance.org


Religion Around the World


Religious makeup of Guam


Roman Catholic: 85%


Other: 15%


- CIA Factbook


GateHouse News Service