Looking out and caring for one another are an important part of
what it means to be a member of St. Mary’s.
are being challenged to see care as a vocational calling of the
whole people of God, so that Pastoral Care becomes the
responsibility of all of us, not just the Church leaders.
Pastoral Care is the term that we broadly apply to a ministry of
compassion, encouragement and transformation within our shared
Christian lives. We recognise that Jesus came to bring a
fullness of life for all people (John 10:10) and our goal is to
help people on that journey, to encourage and support them to
live in the strength of the Holy Spirit and according to the
example of Jesus.
is about taking the focus off ourselves, and looking outwards to
the needs of individuals in the community. “Let each of you look
not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of
others.” (Philippians 2:4)
So over the last year we have been praying,
discussing and reflecting on how we might be more effective in
seeking to offer pastoral care to one another, and out into the
wider community. We felt led to include aspects of serving,
walking alongside, drawing near, supporting and building
community in real and practical ways.
This began in two key areas, with Scriptural
teaching for the whole fellowship, linked to the formation of a
new Pastoral Care Team.
preaching series looked at aspects of Caring, Serving and
Pastoring Well, teaching us about how and why we should all care
for one another, and the attitudes we should demonstrate, in
particular the Agape, self-giving, unconditional love of God
that we receive ourselves, and which unmerited we should pass on
are learning to listen, respond, pray, accept, share, encourage
and provide practical, caring support to each other. Part of our
teaching over a number of weeks focussed on the 9 different
aspects of the Fruit of the Spirit, love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, fidelity, gentleness and self-control
addition to learning about our own responsibilities as
individuals, we formed a new Pastoral Care Team. This is made up
of some people already experienced over many years in aspects of
care, as well as people who have had little experience but have
a heart for learning and growing in this ministry.
Reverend Phil Dykes, the Winchester Diocesan Adult Discipleship
Adviser, offered much practical and spiritual guidance in
helping us with the formation of the team, including leading a
Training Day in September 2013. This helped us clarify what it
is we believe the Lord is calling us to do, as well as
identifying what ongoing training and resources we need on the
journey. We ended the day with a helpful period of reflection,
before moving forward with a clearer sense of the way ahead.
The Pastoral Care Team has now been operational since Autumn
2013, offering support and help to anyone who would like to
receive care as they face the varying circumstances that life
can bring. In addition we give ongoing care, particularly to
those who are not in Home Groups as the members in
the group can normally offer care for one another. We seek to
show the love of Jesus to those who
are in need at any particular time. Also Meal Aid can provide
meals, on a short term basis, to those members of St. Mary’s
Church in times of particular need, such as after surgery, the
birth of a baby
or at times of loss.
Three of the current team members attended the Association of
Christian Counsellors Pastoral Care Course which has been
running over the Autumn Term 2013 and which has proved to be
very informative and helpful.
Any members of St. Mary’s Church who feel that
they have a listening ear and would like to be part of the team,
should speak to Canon John and Sue,
or Co-ordinators Heather and Tim.
addition some of the team take Holy Communion to Residential
Homes within the parish and to individuals in their homes who
are no longer able to come to church. Tim heads up this part of
the ministry. If anyone in the parish would like to know more or
would like to receive Holy Communion at home please speak with
Tim via the Church Office.
also follow up those in the parish who have lost loved ones and
whose funerals have taken place
at St. Mary’s. A card is sent to the bereaved expressing our
sympathy and offering a visit. We also let them know the date of
the All Souls’ Service each year when they can come and have a
of remembrance. Heather looks after this part of the Pastoral
Care Ministry so if we are made aware
of anyone who would welcome a visit because of bereavement,
Heather is the person to contact.
We are excited about how God is leading us forward in this
already fruitful and valued ministry as we work towards one
strand of God’s Vision here, which is to SERVE one another. May
He continue to guide and bless us for His glory.
For more information about the Pastoral Care Ministry at St.
Mary’s Church, please contact Canon John or Sue via the Church Office on 01264 366 373 or e-mail at