pastoral care

Pastoral care is both the individual and communal care of souls. At its core it is about helping people and congregations make meaning of the events in their lives in ways that foster deepened understanding of identity and self-knowledge. Specifically, pastoral care is an intersection of trauma, faith formation, and the events of our lives, both as individuals and as a community. As minister, it is my job to companion people on this journey of change.

In the various congregational staff roles I have held, I have experienced both emergent and long-term pastoral care situations. Moreover, I have seen the pervasiveness of mental health issues and their impact on congregants and congregational life. It is for this reason that I intentionally did my chaplaincy work in my Clinical Pastoral Education program at a state psychiatric hospital. I continued this work in my internship congregation by working with a small group ministry focused on mental health.

Care for a congregation is shared with a congregation, however. As minister, recruiting and training leaders who companion members during crisis and concern as well as provide support during life events is part of my responsibility. I look for partners who are willing to engage with this vital work of care for our community.

Whether it is in one-on-one sessions with congregants or through sermons that address communal care issues, one of the most important roles of a minister is to help congregations support their members in care. Care is part of the larger picture of cultivating resilient Unitarian Universalists as they journey through their lives.