We believe in a God who cares for each of us and calls us to care for each other. We believe that:
Pastoral care is God’s love in action.
Pastoral care is about relationships.
Pastoral care is about nourishing and supporting one another.
Pastoral care involves real listening; a gift we give to others and ourselves.
The word “pastoral” comes from the Latin word for “shepherd,” and that’s what pastoral care is all about at St. Matthew’s: clergy and lay volunteers working together to pray for, tend to, visit, listen to, and care for those in our congregation who are sick, lonely, grieving, in need of healing, and overwhelmed in crisis or transition. By being available for a home or hospital visit, taking Eucharist to the homebound, checking in on those in need, fulfilling prayer requests, and supporting college-age youth, elders, or those caring for loved ones, we firmly believe that God hears our prayers and that prayer changes lives.
COVID-19 changed the world in 2020. People were faced with fear, uncertainty, anxiety, loneliness, and isolation. Believing that God does hear our prayers and that we are called to care for others, our community of clergy, lay ministers, and others stepped in to offer prayers for all parishioners, especially the sick and grieving. We are here to offer support, friendship, and compassion for those in need.
St. Matthew's New Pastoral Care Model
There are many in the St. Matthews congregation that have been helping other members in need. If you are one of these people, and there are many, I thank you. And I know that the people you have helped thank you. But Brian and I have been worried. Worried that there are some who are falling through the cracks. Worried that some in our congregation are getting overwhelmed. So we have been working on a new Pastoral Care model. The first phase has already been implemented. We now have an official prayer team.
If you would like a group of people to pray for you or a loved one, completely confidentially, we have a dedicated group of saints who are happily giving of themselves to do this. Brian and I knew, however, that more was needed. We created models. We poured over lists. We debated back and forth. Who should be on the pastoral care team? Who should provide meals? Drive people to appointments? Offer comfort? Call with a kind word? And then we realized . . .
We are ALL on the pastoral care team!
We have all been tasked by Christ to love our neighbors as ourselves. When one of us falls, the rest of us should be there to pick them up. This, then, is our vision. John Doe falls ill. John contacts myself, or Brian or Nancy in the office. A team is then formed. Perhaps this team is partly in place naturally, and only limited help is needed from John's church family. Or, perhaps John needs more extensive help. Brian and I would send out word through email and regular mail as to what services are needed by John. Then, if you are able to help, you help. As we get started, we anticipate some bumps in the road. But this is being done with love. And love never fails.
Julie Gross (307-251-6146)