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My family and I have been wonderfully cared for by the members of St. Paul’s throughout our 14+ years as a part of the congregation. I’m sure that some of this good care can be attributed to the position I hold in the church, but I’m also certain that much of it is given simply because I’m a part of the membership. St. Paul’s is a caring church. I’m convinced of it, and I’ve heard it from many others too.
That being said, we can always do better. This past year the Board of Elders and I worked up a program which we feel will help us in this regard. We call it “St. Paul’s Caring Ministry.” As shown in the graphic we created, there are two roles which we are having our members fill. Care Coordinators will be a small group of people who meet periodically for training, support and prayer, but whose main task is to work with a person in time of need to help them find care through our congregation. Care Volunteers will be members who actually provide the acts of caring—giving such things as a ride, a meal, a listening ear, advice, some yard work, etc. We hope that every member of the congregation will sign up to be a Care Volunteer. The Elders and I will continue to work with this ministry also, and we have identified someone to keep the database of volunteers. We hope to be able to do sign-ups, calendar coordinating and database access through our website sometime soon.
At any given time, our congregation will have both those in need and those who are available to help meet needs. Certainly, within our lifetimes, each of us will find ourselves in both positions. It is a wonderful gift to have the health, ability, and resources to be a caregiver, and it is also a great comfort to know that others care about our needs.
Our church should be the first line of support for all members in our congregation who might be feeling worried, isolated or overwhelmed due to life-changing events. Some members in our congregation who might need help include our elderly members, families of service members deployed overseas, those in the hospital, those recovering from illness or injury, or anyone within reason asking for some sort of assistance. The pastors of St. Paul will visit at these times and offer spiritual comfort, but our caregiving as a congregation will be better when all people are involved and when many different needs are being met.
Knowing that God calls us to serve one another, our goals for St. Paul’s Caring Ministry are:
1. To offer some kind of short-term help or expression of care to every member or friend who is experiencing a difficult time.
2. To have a very high percentage of members within the congregation sign up as a Care Volunteer and use their gifts to help others.
3. To utilize trained Care Coordinators and helpful technology to effectively coordinate and expand our care.
May God bless our efforts of caring to His glory!
Pastor Mark Shaltanis
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