Rev. Lauren Harris Shares a Widow’s Advice on How to Minister to Widows and Widowers

Rev. Lauren Harris

The Rev. Lauren Harris (formerly Lauren Jones) is an itinerant elder in the 2nd Episcopal District and serves at New Life Laurel, a ministry of Reid Temple AME Church in Glenn Dale, Maryland. She was a widow for six years and is recently married. She is the proud mother of two children. Follow her journey at

James 1:27 says, “Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” On October 19, I attended the funeral of my New Testament professor, the Rev. Dr. Cain Hope Felder. Several of my professors have died since my 2007 graduation from Howard University School of Divinity, including Dr. Gene Rice, Dean Emeritus Evans E. Crawford. Yet, this was the first funeral I was able to attend.

All present knew we lost a giant in the faith. Many expressed the tremendous impact Dr. Felder’s work made in their lives and ministries. It was also like a class reunion as I ran into many colleagues. However, despite the “family reunion” atmosphere, I honed in on Dr. Felder’s widow, Dr. Jewell Richardson Felder. I watched her sitting so graceful and strong and I quietly prayed for her because I know exactly what it’s like to sit in the widow’s seat.

I was 34 years old and pregnant with my second baby when my husband died suddenly during a seizure due to the traumatic brain injury he sustained as a teenager after being hit by a drunk driver. Despite surviving the initial crash and beating the odds, he ultimately succumbed to his injuries nine years later. As a result, I found myself in a place I never thought I’d be, especially after only three years of marriage—in the widow’s seat. I’m grateful for my pastor at the time, church, family, and friends who surrounded me with support and love. However, I want to share what it’s like sitting in the widow’s seat and how you can help if you ever minister to someone who lost a spouse.

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Source: The Christian Recorder