Pastoral care is a primary commitment of our pastoral staff, our Parish Nurse, and a number of experienced, trained laypersons. Whether in individual visits or through small groups, retreats, and educational classes, all pastors and others who offer pastoral care reach out to anyone experiencing difficulty due to medical conditions, physical or emotional crisis, grief and loss, sexual orientation issues, and/or questions about their faith. In fact we make it a priority to monitor the health of our congregation and others weekly.
Even during periods of relative stability and growth it is good to be able to ask questions about our faith openly in a spirit of inquiry and learning. Spiritual direction is coaching, support and guidance on an ongoing basis. While all our pastors are experienced in short-term support and listening in periods of crisis, some are trained as well to offer ongoing spiritual direction (or guidance) over a period of months or years. Like psychotherapy, this guidance is offered on a one-to-one basis in private sessions which remain confidential, and focus on one's awareness of God.
Each pastor or layperson also may refer to other professionals such as psychotherapists or social workers more qualified for issues such as substance abuse, domestic violence, and mental illness.
Pastoral care includes response to emergencies, support in long term medical care and the transitions in our lives, grief work, spiritual pathfinding, healing and forgiveness. It may also include programs designed for larger groups to discuss end-of-life issues, legacies, and other mental/emotional health issues of benefit to the entire congregation several times a year.