First Presbyterian Church pastor to lead Christian cancer class

Published 5:08 pm Friday, June 29, 2018

You have just been told a member of your family or close friend has been diagnosed with Cancer. You don’t know what to say or how to help. We have all been there. It is a universal problem.

Dr. Karl Kling, Pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Bainbridge, will lead a lunch-time class at First Presbyterian Church on sharing Christian care with those with cancer and their loved ones. The class will meet on the first and third Mondays of the month from August through December at 12 noon to 1 p.m.

The class will study, discuss and pray together about material from the book titled “Cancer—Now What?” The author, Kenneth C. Haugk, PhD, is a noted psychologist who is also a Lutheran pastor. His message integrates the fields of faith with science.

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Kling says the book is a practical guide that focuses on helping those with cancer and their loved ones address the medical, emotional, relational and spiritual challenges that cancer brings. The goal is to help members understand and strengthen the skills of Christian caregiving; training them to tune in and listen to grieving people at whatever status they may be. It also helps them to recognize what community resources are available to them in all fields—medicine and psychology as well as spiritual.

Kling, who has been a pastor for 35 years, had a previous fulltime practice of marriage and family counseling, so this field of Christian caregiving is one close to his heart.

He stresses the point that this is not a support group, but a class aimed to provide a foundation for a community of faith by equipping members to develop the skills of listening and understanding. “The normal tendency of people who don’t know what to say or do, is to avoid the situation,” he explains. “We have a God who walks with us through all trials and tribulations, who promises never to leave us.” Referring to the violence and evil of the mass shootings and other traumatizing events, he states that God’s promise is that evil and wickedness will never be the last act. “God does not cause evil and suffering; but walks with us through suffering and promises to walk with us to the end.”

Haugk has written additional books on the subject and one specific book is titled, “Don’t Sing Songs to a Heavy Heart.” The message there, according to Kling, is not to try to smooth over the feelings of grief, but instead to ask and listen to what the person is feeling. Ask questions such as “What would you like me to tell people when they ask how you are?” or “What do you need now?”

The classes, open to members of other congregations, will begin Aug. 6 and will meet the first and third Mondays of the month, except for Labor Day. Attendees may bring a brown bag lunch with them if they desire. There is no charge for the class and purchase of the book is not a requirement; but it is suggested as a resource and can be purchased through

Interested parties are invited to contact Audrey Dollar at (229) 220-8841 or email As a member of the Presbyterian congregation, she has been learning Christian caregiving in a previous class that began in January.