Posts Tagged ‘congregational care’

By Lynn Turner.

An 18-year-old girl, diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor, gathered with family, friends, teachers, and coaches after school in early 2013 in Atlee High School auditorium. Together they celebrated her receiving her high school diploma. Kalena Porter graciously received this honor knowing she would likely not make it to June graduation ceremonies. Through shouts of jubilation and tears of reality, pastoral care happened with FBC youth, parents, teachers, and ministers in the crowd cheering her on. (Kalena died February 15, 2013.)

A care giver enters a nursing home room for her monthly visit. She reads, shares stories, and most important of all, offers a hug. Pastoral care happened that Saturday afternoon with one of our homebound members.

buckets300pxA Sunday school class generates a sign-up meal list for one of their own who has recently had surgery. Hot meals are taken by various class members so the family doesn’t have to prepare them, but instead can give their energy to healing. Pastoral care happened for two weeks with a bowl of soup and homemade bread.

Someone brings beautiful flowers to a hospital room saying, “You were missed today at church; I bring well wishes from our congregation. We want you to enjoy these flowers from the service today.” Pastoral care happened on a Sunday afternoon with the delivery of cheering flowers.

The phone rings: someone is dying and a minister is needed to pray and stand with the family during this difficult time of saying goodbye to a loved one. Pastoral care happened in one of the most tender and sacred moments of a person’s life.

Pastoral care happens every day at First Baptist Church.

In a recent article on pastoral care, the phrase “buckets of care” described the need for care-giving within the local church. In a church the size of FBC, there are care buckets that need to be filled all the time. Pastoral care has no boundaries, no time tables, no schedule, and no age limits. When a crisis happens, there are many ways to respond.

The Staff Pastoral Care Team, Jim Somerville, Lynn Turner, Bob Higgins, Becky Payne, and Martha Smith, meets every week to go over pastoral care needs. These needs include hospital visits, death and grief visits with coordination of funerals, and ongoing care visits. For direct requests for care contact Martha Smith (804-358-5458 Ext. 126) or after hours Lynn Turner (804-304-1000).

The Congregational Care Team and Women on Mission make regular visits and deliver Christmas poinsettias and Easter lilies to 100-150 homebound members. To add a name to this list, contact Gwen Smith (804-266-9345) with the Congregational Care Team or Ethel Eure (804-270-9352) with Women on Mission.

Sunday school classes, Church Choir, and other small groups keep up with their members through phone calls, visits, meals, prayer chains, and many other ways to assure that specific needs are met when crises occur.

The Deacon Fellowship is responsible for the pastoral care of members who are currently not associated with a small group. Phone calls and visits are two of the ways deacons make sure everyone has a contact when needs arise. Contact Mary Ann Delano (804-360-0936).

The Flower Delivery Team delivers flowers from FBC’s services each week to those in the hospital. Mary Palmer (804-794-2620) coordinates this group.

Dr. Roberta Damon is available for counseling on a limited basis and offers a monthly grief support group for those who have suffered loss. Contact Lynn Turner (804-358-5458).

U First is an on-call team that gives emergency assistance to folks who are not involved in a small group. Theresa Norton (804-364-5856) leads this team.

Caring for one another, filling the buckets of care in each other’s lives, is more than an opportunity or spiritual gift; it is a command to all Christians: “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2, NIV).

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