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  • Writer's pictureCrystal Faircloth

Chaplain to Offer Grief Support Services

Updated: Mar 14

It's always hard to lose a loved one, and sometimes, it's hard to let go of someone who made the greatest impact in your life. One lady in Columbus County knows all about loss, and she's reaching out through her church to offer grief counseling to those who need it the most.

Chaplain Marcia McMullen DeRush has opened her heart and the doors of her office with special individuals in mind. McMullen House of Heroes is a safe haven where she offers a multitude of things other than guidance. Veterans, active military, first responders and their families are invited to stop by the little chapel on MaMac Road for not only their spiritual health, but also for their physical and mental well-being.

With the McMullen House in full swing, DeRush saw a need in her church and in the community. After having experienced the loss of a baby, a husband, and even her own parents, she made a request with the Abundant Life Assembly of God board to offer group grief counseling every second Thursday evening of the month at 7 p.m. at the religious organization.

"I proposed this to the board, and they approved it. It’s not just for the church, but for the

community also," said the chaplain.

The therapy is Christian based, and at the sessions, she will be listening to folks talk about their loss and their feelings. She will address their grief, depression, and trauma while advising and educating them to help them move through their experience.

Everyone's story is different, so individuals will be taking steps at a speed where they feel comfortable.

"It will be paced so that no one feels pushed. The support will make them feel like a part of a group. It's confidential, and it helps them to combat loneliness," DeRush explained.

DeRush is CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) trained and certified, and she is currently the president of Columbus County Disaster Response. She is also CISM (individual and group crisis response) certified, does grief counseling, and is active in the Call for Backup organization for suicide prevention and awareness. She takes on pastoral counseling including pre-marital counseling, and is well versed in first aid, CPR and other first responder training.

Derush started the McMullen House of Heroes in 2020 after the death of her father, Cpl. Robert F. McMullen. She grew up in a military family full of men who served in multiple branches of services. She also has a brother who served in the Navy during Vietnam and later became a police officer. She saw firsthand the physical and mental toll these careers took on an individual.

Her office is decorated in honor of the heroes that grace her doors.

The chaplain has always been a follower of Christ since her teenage years and that great love for the ministry stayed with her into adulthood. She became an ordained minister in 2008 and a chaplain in 2017.

The first meeting will be on March 2. Abundant Life Assembly of God is located at 5384 James B. White Highway in Whiteville. Anyone 16 years old and older can come to the sessions. DeRush is willing to work with smaller children separately from the group, and younger teenagers may be able to attend with a parent depending on need and maturity level.

If you have any questions, or if you need more information about the grief support group, contact Chaplain DeRush at 910.317.0233 or the church at 910.642.5003. To find out more about McMullen House of Heroes and the services she offers there, check out the establishment's Facebook page at

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