Have you ever felt like this? Do you feel like this now?
- My partner has to have major surgery. I’m scared.
- I’m lesbian/gay/bi/trans and I think I’m ready to come out to people, but I need to know someone is in my corner and will support me.
- We just had a miscarriage. I’m sad and angry and don’t have anyone to talk to about it.
- I’m struggling with grief around the death of a family member, and I don’t know what to do.
- My spouse just got a fantastic job offer half way across the country – I want to be excited for her, but the idea of uprooting our family and moving to a brand new community where we don’t know anyone terrifies me.
- Too many things have gone wrong recently – why is it that bad things happen to good people?
- I can hardly breathe; my spouse told me last night that he might want to end our marriage.
- When did my teenager become like an alien to me?! I need help figuring out how to reconnect.
- You know, this whole God-thing really has me confused. I’m feeling kind of lost theologically.
- It’s not like I’m really hurting; I’m just “stuck” and can’t seem to move forward.
- My spouse is verbally and/or physically abusive, and I don’t know what to do.
If so, don’t forget that pastoral care from your church family is one of many helpful tools at your disposal as you seek to navigate troubled waters. Remember: pastoral care is not just for emergencies or crises, it can also be helpful during some of life’s more day-to-day struggles as well.
But what is pastoral care?
Pastoral care can best be described as a form of spiritual counseling, as our pastoral caregivers provide support, comfort, and counsel during times of distress. In our free religious community, pastoral caregivers bring the resources of many religious, spiritual and humanistic traditions to bear on the life concerns you may have. We offer compassionate listening in a safe space in which you can be open about who you are: your brokenness as well as your wholeness, your strengths and weaknesses, your fears and your hopes. Our job is not to provide our answers to yourquestions, but instead help you find your answers to your questions. Our job is not to fix you, but instead to help connect you with the resources you need – from within, from the community around you, and for some of us from god – so that you can move forward on your path to healing, knowing that you are loved and supported.
Who do I go to for pastoral care at our church?
Our ministers, Rev. Seth and Rev. Julia, are of course available for pastoral care appointments or to make pastoral care visits at the hospital whenever you need them – they will respond to emergency situations as quickly as possible. For Rev. Seth, it is helpful in non-emergency situations to schedule an appointment if you’d like to have an in-depth pastoral conversation. Trying to grab him before/after the service or during a church event is less than ideal, since he’s usually running around and busy during these times, and is thus likely less able to be as present to you as both you and he would like. Rev. Julia on the other hand is happy to have conversations before or after the Sunday service, as long as it’s not a Sunday that she’s preaching, though of course she’s always available for appointments as well.
The Pastoral Associates are a group of trained laypeople who are another valuable resource for pastoral care within the congregation. Currently, the group includes Phil Gift, Mary Johnson, and Liz Lowe, who can be identified by the pink name tags they wear on Sunday mornings.
The Caring Committee, co-chaired by Julie Fritz and Liz Lowe, provides occasional transportation, prepares and delivers meals, assists with the receptions for church members’ memorial services, and provides other general short-term support to those facing illness or with other needs. If you feel like you could use support from the Caring Committee, please contact one of the ministers or a Pastoral Associate.
Does this mean I should never update Rev. Seth with what’s going on in my life when I see him on Sunday mornings?
No! Please still do that – just be aware that if a more in-depth conversation is important to you, you should also make sure to set up an appointment where he can give you his undivided attention.
How do I reach a minister in an emergency?
Call the main church number and leave a voicemail for Rev. Seth or Rev. Julia – they will receive a text message notifying them that they have a voicemail.
How do I schedule a pastoral care appointment with a minister?
To set up an appointment with Rev. Seth, either e-mail him at email@example.com, or call the church office and talk to Christie, who has access to his calendar.
To set up an appointment with Rev. Julia, either e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or look her phone number up in the church directory and call her directly.
Who are the Pastoral Associates and how would I contact one of them?
Learn more about the Pastoral Associates and how to contact them by clicking here.