Some may be inclined to think that “pastoral care” is the responsibility of the Minister, and perhaps the elders or a designated care group. And we do have those support structures in place in our congregation. But it is primarily the responsibility of each one of us, as Christians, to care for one another – our families, our friends, our neighbors and all those around us and with whom we come into contact.
The person sitting beside you in the pew on a Sunday morning, whether it’s someone you know or a total stranger, is a good example – and your caring for him or her may be reflected in as simple a gesture like a smile, a word of welcome and a willingness to chat. Jesus was a perfect role model for that.
We do have a small caring for one another core group within our congregation, whose role is to support and coordinate our caring efforts and to ensure that those needs of which we are aware are, to the best extent possible, met. We also pray a lot for those who are in need, for prayer can be one of the most effective responses to challenging situations. Please do pass on to the minister or a member of the core group any specific care concerns of which you may be aware. Confidentiality is always ensured.
One of the initiatives the core group has taken recently is to offer folk in the congregation the possibility to lodge with the Minister, for confidential safekeeping, a note of contact details for their next-of-kin or others, to be used in the event of serious illness or death.
We have designed a simple contact information form, to be completed with the name, address, and telephone number of your next-of-kin. Once completed, this is placed in a sealed envelope bearing your name and will be held in confidential safekeeping by the
Minister. It will be opened only in the event of your death or serious incapacitation requiring the intervention of others.