Central to the ministry of this congregation is the commitment we make to support each other in all the stages of life.
As our congregational Ends state, we seek to “create a community where people of all ages and backgrounds experience belonging, and feel loved and needed.”
To accomplish this we put in place staff, structures, and programming intended to promote an atmosphere of caring and support. But it doesn’t end there. We describe this as Congregational Care because we consider it something that every member of the congregation attends to, in keeping with our covenant, which calls us to “care for and support each other.”
Our ministers – Lead Minister Rev. Mark Ward and Minister of Faith Development Claudia Jiménez – are charged with leading our Congregational Care ministry. Each is available for short-term counseling, visits, and support when members and friends are in crisis, conversations to explore spiritual issues and consultation about rites of passage and planning for illness or death.
They are assisted by a team of Pastoral Visitors, congregation members who are trained to offer a ministry of caring presence by phone, e-mail, or in person to members and friends.
Pastoral Visitors are members of UUCA who are recruited and trained by the ministers to offer compassionate listening in times of crisis or life changes that challenge their ability to cope. They meet monthly to coordinate care in the congregation and refer members to community resources where it is deemed appropriate.
Matters discussed in in pastoral situations are generally held in confidence, but will be shared with the ministers. Our Pastoral Visitors: Jill Preyer, Myrtle Staples and Dale Wachowiak.
Good Grief Group, a Congregational Care Program
The Good Grief Group offers group members a safe and sacred space to grieve circumstances in our own lives and the lives of our loved ones. As we talk about our grief, we are both held and heard by each other. All members are present to one another’s grief, as well as our own. It is a sharing-caring experience where we give and receive loving support. We meet on the 2nd Friday of each month, 9:30-11:00am.
Contact: Nancy Bragg for information or the Zoom meeting link.
We also offer short-term help for our members needing meals, rides, or help with minor household tasks through Meal Trains.
Meal Train offers short-term support for congregation members who are ill, incapacitated or otherwise in need. As a rule, we offer one meal every other day for one to two weeks as well as limited, minor household tasks or rides. Anyone seeking a Meal Train should contact Lead Minister Rev. Mark Ward or a pastoral visitor.
To help us stay in touch, we send out a weekly email entitled This Loving Community (TLC), which notifies the congregation of important joys, sorrows or life passages in the congregation. To share news for TLC, please call the main office number or click this link to fill out a form.
We have available in the church office a Life Crisis form that provides us with contacts and other information in case of need and Five Wishes booklets for end-of-life planning.
We maintain a Memorial Garden on our campus where members, friends, and their family members may apply to have their ashes interred. Click this link for an application to have ashes interred in the Memorial Garden.
Memorial Garden – The Memorial Garden is a walled area on the church grounds where ashes of members and friends are interred directly in the soil. The names of those whose ashes are interred are inscribed on brass plaques that are attached to the wall of the garden. A fee of $400 covers the cost of the plaque and assists in the upkeep of the garden.
We also periodically offer workshops, classes, and support groups to meet a variety of needs. Talk with a Pastoral Visitor or one of the ministers to find out more or to offer suggestions for future programs.