Normally I am not a fan of the preacher asking people to turn to those nearest to them and discuss matter X or question Y. But yesterday, 24 hours or so after 'the earthquake' here in Christchurch, with after shocks still happening, including two during the service itself, the preacher began the sermon by asking us to turn to one another and share our experiences of the earthquake. I think that in this instance the preacher did the right thing. As he himself explained, a previous experience of a different disaster had taught him that in the immediate aftermath of trauma, people do not remember what you say to them!
I also thought it was a good idea because talking with each other is therapeutic, and I found talking at this time was a good thing.
One of the reasons why I am not a fan of this being done 'normally' is that it makes lots of presumptions. One presumption is that everyone in the conversational group has something to say about X or Y. Often this is not the case. But yesterday was different. The preacher rightly presumed that everyone having shared the experience of the earthquake had something to say.
Abnormal times can call for abnormal methods of communication!