St Margaret's News July 2016 - Page 8

Pastoral Care Who is responsible for pastoral care at St Margaret’s? What constitutes pastoral care? Our Website says “St Margaret’s, like all Uniting Churches, asks our Minister and our Elders to be available to visit people in their homes on request. Our Church has a very active Pastoral Care committee to support any needs. Such requests can come from any member of the local community as well as those on our Parish Roll. A phone call to the Office or Elders (02 6248 0282) is all that is needed to request such a visit.” But, in my view, it isn’t that simple. The Pastoral Care Council of the ACT Website says “A pastoral or spiritual carer offers a friendship that is intentionally seeking to ‘walk with you along your path’. Its focus is on emotional support and spiritual care. In difficult and demanding times such as a critical illness or other traumas in life, we may experience high stress, reducing our ability to cope.’ Whilst our Minister Chris undertakes some pastoral care, he does not have the time to do it all and he can not be expected to. Chris provides particular pastoral care by offering Holy Communion to a number of residents of Goodwin Village who cannot always make it to services. His regular report to Church council shows that he provides pastoral care to various individuals and couples, through phone calls or getting together with them. Chris also does some hospital visits and is there for people at times of crisis. And he provides some pastoral care to the families of Ross Walker Lodge residents in meetings. We have an excellent Pastoral Care team that arranges events such as Soup Lunches that provide opportunities for conversation with people in need of pastoral care, sends cards to people and activates our three prayer chains. The Tuesday Ladies Friendship Group also provides excellent pastoral care to its older members and often is best placed to identify their needs. Likewise, the monthly Luncheon Group and Fork and Talk events provide opportunities to provide pastoral care as well as sharing food. And, of course, particular individuals provide personal pastoral care and support to others that they are very close to within our community. So I suggest that every one of us is responsible, and pastoral care takes many forms in response to all sorts of needs that arise when others experience high stress because of difficult and demanding times such as illness, family breakdown or violence, children who have gone off the rails, and much more. We all must seek to provide needed pastoral care for each other. - Brian Rope St Margaret's News 8 July 2016