Sitting with people during vulnerable times is one of the great privileges of ministry. The stories told and the confidences shared always remind me how fortunate I am to have this vocation. Few get to witness to the inner lives of people the way I do.
I also believe the pastoral work taken on by the community changes every single person involved. We live within a great gift and we are able to experience what this gift truly means when we are able to participate in the process of giving and receiving ourselves.
Training people or finding ways to provide training in the pastoral care teams of a congregation is one of my great joys because it offers people a way to participate in the gift. It is one of the great spiritual opportunities that few people get to experience, but is made possible to those participating in congregations.
While the following meditation is not precisely about pastoral care, it contains the kernel of what I believe is the core of healthy pastoral care work.
chair of the Care Team UUTC
I was a member of the Care Team at UUTC when Ian came to serve as our interim minister. His involvement in pastoral care far exceeded our expectations; especially for an interim. Often, Ian was the first to arrive at the hospital or at the home of a family experiencing tragedy or loss. His calm, meaningful presence made all the difference for those receiving his care. It’s hard to imagine how he could have been more in tune with the needs of UUTC members and friends.