Tuesday, September 12, 2017

A Community of Hope

"All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it." -1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT)
In 1 Corinthians, Chapter 12, the Apostle Paul provides a discussion of how we each possess unique gifts, skills, and abilities. He further explains that it is these individual gifts, skills and abilities, working together, that enable us, as a community, to become the Body of Christ.

One of the pillars of the Christ Church Vision is to “BE THE HEART AND HANDS OF JESUS”. Said another way, this part of our Vision asks us to fulfill Paul’s framework for Christian Community.
More specifically, our Vision asks us to do three things:

• GO out into the world.
• BE agents of change.
• ACT on his behalf.

One way Christ Church can fulfill this call is to provide loving and compassionate Pastoral Care to our fellow church members. That is why, about a year ago, the clergy and vestry decided to update our Pastoral Care Ministry, utilizing a program created by Community of Hope International.

One of the intensive training sessions.
This refreshed ministry is blessed with 18 members who, over seven months of training, have studied Benedictine Spirituality, attended 14 classroom sessions, and made practice Pastoral Care visits. Following the completion of training in July, they have started to provide pastoral care services and the group will be publicly commissioned at our worship services during the weekend of September 23 and 24.

A common question asked is, “What exactly is Pastoral Care?” The answer could take several pages of explanation. However, at its core, Pastoral Care is a ministry of trained caregivers providing support to people in times of need. These could result from, among other things, illness, loneliness, loss, grief, addiction, or the stresses and problems of day to day life.

The Pastoral Care Ministry at Christ Church is designed to provide those facing challenges with a caregiver who will listen, be fully present without judging, and honor confidentiality. It is not meant to replace the clergy or stand in between a church member and the clergy at times when care it is needed. Rather, it is intended to supplement the clergy’s role and provide a different type of care as we support and love each other and those in our surrounding community.

Our Pastoral Caregivers are trained in a wide range of topics, including family systems, coping with loss, care for seniors, prayer, confidentiality, and the theology of Pastoral Care. We have identified our spiritual gifts and our pastoral identities. Most importantly, we were trained in and practiced listening skills.
A group brainstorm on "Pastoral Care"

"Christ has no body on earth but yours, no hands but yours, no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which Christ's compassion for the world is to look out; yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good; and yours are the hands with which He is to bless us now." - Saint Teresa of Avila

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