The risen Christ told his followers to teach, heal and give hope to people wherever they meet them. As Christ’s disciples, we are directed to do likewise. St. Paul said we should bear one another’s burdens. These directives from the early Christian church shape and mold the ministry of offering care and comfort in today’s world just as they did so long ago.
Stephen Ministry was begun in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1975, to ensure that lay ministers caring for people approach the concerns of others using time-tested approaches for offering comfort, acceptance and understanding in a ministry supported by the church’s clergy and by trained Stephen Leaders.
Here at Lakeview we care for people until we say a final goodbye to them. There may be a misperception that older people don’t need much help, but the challenges of aging and loss are very, very difficult to confront. We prize the ministry of our members who are committed to journeying as companions alongside any of our Lakeview family during a time of need. Sometimes, people’s needs are brought about by a personal crisis; sometimes, a person isolated and lonely finds healing in the company of trained Stephen Ministers.
Most of us have known times in which it would have been a great comfort to have someone who would walk alongside of us and just be present for our feelings and thoughts, comforting us by their presence and encouraging us by their faithfulness. It is a great gift to have someone nearby in times of difficulty and uncertainty, someone willing to sit and listen so we can resolve for ourselves whatever our concerns may be. These companions are called Stephen Ministers.
Each year we begin a new class of Stephen Ministers who receive fifty hours of training followed by monthly supervision. They learn to come into our lives as caregivers, not cure givers. Only God is our Cure Giver. In confidential one-to-one relationships, Stephen Ministers often open the door of our hearts, minds and spirits for God’s presence already with us.
You are invited to consider this ministry. This year’s training begins on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, at 9:00 AM in the Music Room. For more information contact Pastor Ross or Pastor Linda at 623-974-5821 or talk with a Stephen Minister or Stephen leader on Sundays at church.