Offering support to families dealing with the death of a loved one is the purpose of a group that has formed in Pine Bluff.

Offering support to families dealing with the death of a loved one is the purpose of a group that has formed in Pine Bluff.

Parents of Murdered Children meets 6:30-7:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of each month at First United Methodist Church. The next meeting is Tuesday.

“We formed a partnership with the chapter in Little Rock and they’ve been helping us start up,” said the Rev. David Morgan of Healing Place Ministries, one of the organizers of the Pine Bluff chapter. “We’re trying to present an environment where people can come together to support each other.”

Morgan described the group as “self-help, where people can share their feelings, in some cases their anger and their hope for the future.”

He said that in many cases while the immediate families of victims continue to grieve, other family members and friends “just want to get over it and start over.” The group gives them a setting where they can continue to process their grief with others who share similar experiences.

In January the group talked about how to deal with loss, while the program Tuesday will focus on caring for one’s self.

“Too often, people are so absorbed in their loss and their grief that they forget about how to take care of themself,” Morgan said. “While we start with one topic, we allow the people’s feelings to guide the meeting.”

Morgan said that the group is there to offer support but is not there for counseling.

“For people who get reparations from the Crime Victims Assistance Fund, there’s money in there for counseling,” he said. “We’ve got people who have been through the process and the trials, while there are others who are just starting the process. They’re there to share their own experiences and to help the families of victims find a new normal because their life will never be really normal again.

“What’s different is that these are people who really understand what’s going on because they’ve been through it, and they can share that knowledge with others,” Morgan said.

He said that of the 21 homicides reported in Jefferson and Lincoln counties in 2011, only a small portion of the victims’ families are currently attending the sessions.

“Obviously, we have not gotten the message about the group out well enough to those families who are struggling with their loss,” Morgan said.

For more information about the group, Morgan can be contacted at 535-0101.