Pastoral Care Team
Pastoral Care involves outreach to others through a variety of ministries. Trained leaders provide care to one another, care for self and care for those in need of a pastoral visit. Qualifications for each are varied. All are invited to complete a fourteen-week course, “Healing Scriptures of Jesus,” offered by Order of Saint Luke [OSL], and maintain an annual membership in the International Order of St. Luke. For continuing education, each is invited to join St. Mary’s “Growing Deeper” accountability group to maintain their qualifications.
Pastoral Caregiver Ministry
Qualifications: Those parishioners who are unable to attend weekly church services due to illness or physical challenge, are offered a Pastoral Caregiver to contact them and pray with them at regularly scheduled times. Each Caregiver is vetted by Clergy before being placed on the Pastoral Caregiver [PC] team. Communication skills, sensitivity, deep spirituality and confidentiality are requisites for being a Pastoral Caregiver. During the threat of COVID19, caregivers connect with each person via phone conversations, facetime, Zoom and personal cards.
Accountability: Each Pastoral Caregiver is assigned specific names of parishioners to pray for and contact throughout the month. Each Caregiver is required to meet twice monthly with the PC team [on Zoom during COVID19] to share their outreach “actions” taken with their assigned pastoral care receiver. This is a time to share changes or challenges in this ongoing ministry. For continuing education, it is highly recommended that each Pastoral Caregiver join the weekly “Growing Deeper” OSL growth group or other accountability group to maintain their qualifications. When able to visit parishioners [after threat of COVID19] Pastoral Caregivers must be licensed by the diocese as Lay Eucharistic Visitors. They must also register with the Diocese their completion of five  units of Safeguarding classes.
Prayer Request Cards: Blank notes for prayer requests are offered at all worship services.
Each week an OSL qualified Prayer Leader gathers these cards and invites others to join in prayer for each request. Special care is taken to keep the prayers private. OSL members also pray for “Comma” requests from prayer boxes located in Thrift Shops and various locations. Requests for friends and family that are signed by parishioners are given to clergy or a “PoP” representative to be placed on a 30-day prayer list [see below].
Power of Prayers [PoP] Team: Each PoP team member receives weekly updates via email that come from two sources. (1) Parishioners who desire prayers for friends or family sign and submit a Prayer Request Card [see above] or (2) they send a request via email to: [email protected] The prayer request immediately goes to a designated leader who records the date, name and prayer request. This is then sent to the PoP team members via email. Each prayer request remains on the list for thirty  days and then is removed. If a request needs prayer for thirty more days, another prayer request must be submitted.
All on the POP team are OSL certified and are required to attend continuing education classes offered two times monthly to all OSL members. [See Christian Formation CF]
Prayer in the Square: Monthly, a group of trained OSL prayer team members offer to stand near Pennywise Thrift Shop and pray for those who might desire prayer. This outreach is surprisingly popular for many who do not attend a church. Ash Wednesday is especially important when clergy are available to give ashes, pray and anoint as desired. People actually ‘drive by’ for their Ash Wednesday anointing and prayer.
[Due to COVID19 we are in prayer hoping to resume Ash Wednesday, 2021]
“Comma” Prayer Ministry: Begun by our St. Mary’s Deacon. ‘Prayer Boxes’ are placed in various places with blank notes for prayer requests. No identification is necessary. OSL prays for each prayer request weekly. Children are especially invited to fill out cards that are handled with the greatest of care. This “outreach” prayer ministry is for those who may not attend any church.
Prayer Shawl Ministry: Volunteers may stitch specific shawl patterns at home and join the group monthly at St. Mary’s to stitch, share and pray. For those knitting or crocheting shawls, each stitch is a prayer for the person who will soon receive it. The shawls provide warmth and comfort for body and soul to those in need, sickness or adversity. Prayer shawls are also placed in a basket in the church narthex for those who need a little “warm hug” while worshipping in the cooler air. [COVID curtailed in-person meetings]
Stress Management Care: Offered by a parishioner who is a trained cognitive behavioral therapist to address isolation, stress and any other anxieties. Currently offered upon request via Zoom.
Walking the Mourner’s Path: An eight-week, small group workshop that is grounded in prayer and led by trained facilitators. This Christ-centered program is a great source to help in the management of the grieving process. The facilitators are well trained parishioners who have a heart for those dealing with grief. A selected, OSL trained, prayer team prays off-site for each individual throughout the course. Offered periodically.