Our Pastoral Care Ministry
“I give you a new commandment, that you love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” John 13:34
Following God’s call to “love one another,” our church is deeply committed to caring for others, especially during times of uncertainty, transition, or crisis. Through our extensive Pastoral Care Ministry, we partner with God and each other to provide timely and confidential care for members and friends of the church in a wide range of circumstances.
Pastoral care to those in crisis, those who are hospitalized and those who are newly bereaved is provided by our pastor, the Rev. Dr. Chapin Garner. Ongoing support, visitation and outreach is provided by a group of four trained lay ministers as well as a large network of volunteers. These faithful caregivers are supported by Debbie Chapman, the Pastoral Care Coordinator.
Our commitment to pastoral care takes many forms. One of our largest programs is that of the Stephen Ministers (see link in sidebar). We have an active and much-appreciated Prayer Shawl Ministry, who knit or crochet shawls which are given free of charge to members and friends, and the Prayer Chain, a group of devoted members who pray confidentially and individually for those who have requested special prayers. Our deacons deliver the flowers from the Sunday service to designated parishioners as a way sharing the spirit of loving service throughout the week. Our church’s Pastoral Care ministry maintains an emergency call list of those who may appreciate an outstretched hand during times of town-wide crisis, such as the power outages resulting from severe weather. A stock of home-made meals is always on hand in the church freezer for delivery to anyone who needs the comfort of a lovingly-made meal. (If you would like some recipes for freezable meals, please click here.) Through our Pastoral Care ministry, we also provide rides, make and deliver fresh meals, and write sympathy notes during the year.
As needs arise, the Pastoral Ministry Leadership Team (PMLT) offers educational programs or workshops on matters of concern to our congregation. Past programs have included: Senior Living Choices, Managing Stress, Alzheimer’s Disease, Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, Depression, Caring for Others Who Are Facing Difficulties in Life, Divorce Support and Healing, and End-of-Life Planning.
In 2006, the Pastoral Care Ministry began a tradition of honoring our Women of Wisdom at the annual spring Women’s Fellowship luncheon or dinner. Each year’s event has featured a different theme allowing the participation of our most senior women.
All of these ministries allow us to embody Christ’s command to care for one another and our community.