As our community grows, so do the demands of caring for each other as we mourn, celebrate, contemplate, and explore our lives together. Such pastoral care exceeds a single person’s capacities in a church like ours (which serves between 400-500 members and friends), and there is a richness that comes when many work together to serve a church’s pastoral care ministry.
Since arriving last year, I’ve been extremely grateful for all the member-to-member care this community provides. From the too-many-to-count memorial receptions put on by our Membercare committee (as well as their attention to struggling and homebound members), to the informal networking often done without anyone knowing, this community knows how to care!
Soon, we’ll have another way to look after the needs of our beloved community: Our newly forming Pastoral Care Team. It’s not a committee; it’s not a council. It is a ministry team of specially trained members who have been asked to help in this work because of either a specific background (including hospice, education, mental health, addictions counseling, or active listening experience) or a special gift that calls them to this ministry.
Currently our pastoral associates are operating as a steering group to work out our vision and scope of practice. Although they’re already helping me with pastoral care, the program will officially launch in early fall when we commission this outstanding group during a Sunday worship service.