A warm and caring community is an integral part of church life. As a pastor I aim to offer this warmth to newcomers - people who often feel vulnerable or lonely when they first come through our doors - as well as to create opportunities for healing and connection within our walls, and to be there with members when illness or death comes. Where appropriate, I refer congregants to community resources for specialized or longer-term support.
I work with lay pastoral teams to offer congregational support, and see this as a vital part of our shared ministry. Together, minister, the Caring Team and small groups in the congregation care for our community and bring a compassionate presence to those experiencing pain or transition.
I am a certified PREPARE/ENRICH facilitator. This is the leading program clergy and therapists use for premarital counseling and marital enrichment. PREPARE/ENRICH includes a relationship inventory and series of customizable materials for helping couples explore key issues and build a strong foundation for their marriage. Based on the couple, I bring other resources into counseling sessions as well.
The nurturing of a caring community happens in every facet of congregational life - not only in pastoral care contacts and hospital visits, but also in the course of routine meetings with lay leaders and program participants, in social gatherings where people connect, in religious education and small group opportunities, and of course, in worship.
Pictured here: a ritual of remembrance held during worship annually at one church in the Christmas season. People of all ages can come up to tie a ribbon onto a holiday wreath, in remembrance of a loved one no longer with them. It provides an opportunity to acknowledge the grief and nostalgia that the season can bring, and reminds congregants of available pastoral support.