As the Body of Christ, we, the people of God, are called to bear one another’s burdens with tender mercy and abiding love. We have begun a one-on-one lay person ministry of mercy and love, provided in the context of confidentiality, holy listening, and gentle grace. With anticipation and delight, we announce that St. David’s has become enrolled as a parish that has implemented the lay caring ministry known as Stephen Ministry.
Stephen Ministry operates nationally in thousands of churches, including hundreds of Episcopal Church parishes, and has a distinguished history of offering guidelines for effective, confidential, safe, one-to-one relationships for persons in crises, whether by hospitalization, surgery, grief, divorce and other life events.
Stephen ministry does not replace the pastoral care work carried out by the clergy. The clergy will continue to respond to the pastoral needs of this community as one of the central tasks of their ordination into Holy Orders. However, there are some ongoing needs that can be helped through the gift of a trained listener being available on a regular basis to listen, pray and to be present. It is the work of a trained Stephen Minister to come alongside a person to provide support, comfort, and strength by a ministry of presence.
WHAT IS A STEPHEN MINISTER?
Stephen Ministry is a ministry in which trained and supervised lay persons, called Stephen Ministers, provide one-to-one Christian care to individuals facing life challenges or difficulties.
Who is Involved?
Stephen Leaders are the ones who oversee and direct our Stephen Ministry. We have two Stephen Leaders. They are Don Baggett and Jon Ann Thompson.
Stephen Ministers are the caregivers. They have engaged in 50 hours of training in Christian care giving, including general topics such as listening, feelings, boundaries, assertiveness, and using Christian resources in care giving. In addition, their training covered specialized topics such as ministering to the divorced, hospitalized, bereaved and aging.
Care receivers are the recipients of Stephen Ministers’ care. They are people from our parish who are experiencing divorce, grief, loss of a job, loneliness, illness, or other life difficulties, including persons who are caregivers for others.
What Do Stephen Ministers Do?
Stephen Ministers are caring Christian friends who listen, understand, accept, and pray for and with care receivers who are working through a crisis or a tough time.
Are Stephen Ministers Counselors?
Stephen Ministers are not counselors; they are trained lay caregivers. Their role is to listen and care—not to give advice or counsel. Stephen Ministers are also trained to recognize when a care receiver’s need exceeds what they can provide. When that happens they work with care receivers to help them receive the level of care they really need.
Can I Trust a Stephen Minister?
Trust is essential to a caring relationship, and Stephen Ministers are people you can trust. Confidentiality is one of the most important principles of Stephen Ministry, and what a care receiver tells his or her Stephen Minister is kept in strictest confidence.
What is the Role of the Priests?
Priests will always be the primary caregivers, but there is no way our priests can meet all the needs for care. God has called all of us, not just priests, to minister to one another. Stephen Ministry multiplies ministry by turning priests into equippers so they can enable lay people to provide caring ministry as well.
How Much Does It Cost?
Stephen Ministry is a care giving ministry available to our members free of charge.