1.1 Background of the Study
Widows and widowers are the more affected group of people when it comes to the sin of omission especially in Nigeria. They are often forgotten even by their closest relatives immediately after the burial of their spouse (The World’s Women 2000). Most Christian’s denominations does not have an existing structure or budget plan that covers the welfare of the widows floating the church. This has constantly been a wound in the hearts of this widows when departing the church premises to the cold shell of their homes to fight loneliness.
The question running through the minds of many widows and widowers is, if they will ever feel alive again after the death of their beloved companions? But surviving spouses from around the world bear witness that there is life after the death of a loved one and that a loving Father in Heaven will help provide the way to move forward.
The term “widowhood” is the state of or period of being a widow (Agunwa, 2011). Widowhood is the disruption of marriage due to the death of the spouse, this is a stage of great emotional pain and stress. A widow is a woman whose spouse has died while a widower is a man whose spouse has died. Widowhood is also associated with the expression of anger, which is even more intense than the anger experienced by a divorcee (Nwosu, 2007). In the views of Thomas and Shechan (1988), intense grief and anger are more common among women in widowhood because of denial following the loss of a close spouse through death. Widowhood, it is also reasoned, is the greatest source of psychosocial deprivation for children of female-headed families (Ambert 1986). There is a growing evidence in many parts of Nigeria, that most widows whose husbands die live in extreme poverty, because their in-laws who are supposed to cushion the effect of the loss, often deprive them of their husband’s properties and subject them to a lot of dehumanizing treatments (Yvonne and Browning, 2002).
The Christian society is dual in nature covering both the spiritual and the physical gathering of the saints. This dual nature of the church has been emphasized in the Bible. As a spiritual gathering it is mainly concerned with salvation in the end-time sense while its physical nature addresses itself to the here and now redemptive work of God as espoused in Luke 4:18. The concern of this study focuses on the later. Alela (2007) and Obwoge (2011) have not only demonstrated that social concern is part of the mission of the church but also that the church is strategically positioned to fulfill this noble mandate. They both report of dilapidating socio-economic situation of women.
The greatest challenge widows and widowers face after the death of a spouse is the challenge of moving on with their temporal lives. Some find it hard to make important decisions alone or to assume responsibilities formerly shouldered by a spouse. In addition, the financial situation of a widow or widower may be dire, especially if the spouse accrued medical bills as the result of a long illness, or if the widow or widower is left with no means to support the family.