September 30, 2021
From Pastor Joey
My first introduction to pastoral care did not come from the pastor. I was new to a congregation in Plano, Texas, when my dad died. When I returned from his memorial service, someone rang the doorbell. I opened the door and a lady from my church stood there with a casserole snuggled in oven mitts. It took a while for me to comprehend that my personal loss mattered to the people in my church. They cared for me, prayed for me. The pastor was part of the care, but many other folks were part of a powerful team.
As a pastor, I ask the question, “What is the spiritual significance of pastoral care?” I believe that pastoral care is always relational, beginning with our relationship with the Holy One who is our shepherd and restores our souls. Remembering “what a friend we have in Jesus.” Realizing that as God takes care of us, he invites us to “pass it on!”
During times of loss, illness, disorientation, people often experience a sense of separation from God and others. The ones distressed hunger for compassion, connection, hope. This is the task of pastoral care. I can attest that I must attend to my own need for healing before I can be of service to others. In my own life, this has involved worship, prayer, therapy, small group connection with other Christians, continued study of God’s Holy Word.
I also learned from my mother. As a child in the Presbyterian Church, she would often take my sisters and me to “visit.” That was my introduction to senior ministry. The Badges (both with beautiful white hair), the Buckalews (my Sunday school teacher, now a shut-in), Miss Levine (wheelchair-bound in a nursing home).
As an interim minister, I have joined our pastoral care team. Pauline Olsen and Kathleen Charters have done a remarkable job of keeping the hearth fires burning during Covid and unexpected transition. As I joined the team, I realized I need someone to help me coordinate my work. I chose Gay Lyn Lillagore, “the energizer worker-bee!” She is helping me organize the work for visits, phone calls, and connections. She will coordinate with Kathleen and Pauline to see that we are as effective as possible.
I consider pastoral care one of the front lines of the church’s ministry. Most calls come directly to me or to Marian Needham, the church’s effective, efficient office manager/bookkeeper. Then someone on the team begins the care. It will take several more articles to describe the extensive care network of the congregation, beginning with Lois’s Legacy, on to neighborhood group leaders, and much more. It is our hope and goal to serve God, our community, and the church with compassion that spreads throughout the land. May God bless you and keep you safe.
Some Concerns that we have:
- Pastor Brad and Dorothy for Brad’s health issues.
- For those who continue to go through physical struggles, those who are dealing with cancer, or other health situations. For those who are emotionally feeling lost and alone.
- For those who haven’t been vaccinated yet; for all those who are ill from the Covid-19 virus; for those families who have lost loved ones to the virus; and for essential workers.
- For peace in our country.
- For Katherine Parker, missionary to Nepal.