To be honest, when I list the most exciting things that happen in church, policies are not the first thing I would identify. But I’m actually really excited about a shiny new policy that just went into effect this month. We’ve created a Congregational Care policy that lays out exactly what our pastoral ministry looks like in this congregation. The process of creating the policy document was extraordinarily helpful in clarifying the scope of the program, and I hope that it will be useful to you to see it and learn what support is available, as well as ways you can be part of providing assistance in a crisis. I hope that you will take a look at the policy.
We are a congregation that cares for one another. This is accomplished in many different ways. Primarily, Rev. Mark Ward and I work together with the pastoral visitors to make sure that everyone in the congregation who asks for support receives a visit, a card, or other support appropriate to their needs. The pastoral visitors are the core of this team, and I am deeply grateful for the work that they do. I run trainings for new pastoral visitors annually, and we meet monthly for support and continuing education to help hone our skills.
One simple way that all congregants can be a part of this work is to sign up for the Caring Response Network. We need more volunteers to participate. The Caring Response Network is a simple email list that goes through our database. If someone needs a ride to a doctor’s appointment or meals, you will receive an email with the details of the request. If you are not able to help in that situation, you just let the email pass by. If you can help, then you will follow instructions in the email to contact the person requesting help. This is a simple way for us to support each other in concrete ways and to make sure that nobody is alone or unfed during a crisis. If you’d like to join the Caring Response Network list, log in to MY INFO and sign up, or you can call or send me an email and I will add you to the list.
The pastoral work of the congregation belongs to everyone. We work together to create a web of care that connects each and every one of us. I hope this new policy will help to clarify the process.