PASTORAL EMERGENCIES: 443-538-2806
Carol Diggs & Karen Ferguson
At St. John’s, caring for one another is at the heart of our community. In the normal and sometimes extraordinary challenges of life, each of us has times when we need support and times when we can offer care to others. St. John’s Pastoral Care Commission offers care and support to members of our church and to our greater community through the variety of ministries which it facilitates.
There are many occasions when clergy can be of enormous help to individuals and families, sharing joys and sorrows, and offering spiritual support during crises. The clergy at St. John’s are on-call for pastoral emergencies, with one clergy member available 24 hours a day at 443-538-2806.
The clergy are also available for non-emergency pastoral conversation at various life transitions and offer spiritual guidance. To make an appointment, call the church office at 410-461-7793 or send an e-mail to any of our clergy members through the staff directory. Our "When to Contact the Clergy" page lists times when it is particularly important to connect with clergy.
Communion at Home or in a Care Facility
Trained parishioners called Lay Eucharistic Visitors (LEVs) administer communion to persons who, due to illness or other life events, are unable to be present at a public celebration of the Eucharist. With the advent of COVID-19 and subsequent social restrictions, the ministry of Lay Eucharistic Visitors is currently suspended in order to protect the health of those at risk. Contact Rev. Ann at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have an emergency that may necessitate a clergy visit with communion.
Stephen Ministry provides one-on-one ministry to parishioners who are in crisis or facing life transitions such as illness, bereavement, or divorce. Stephen Ministers are lay members of the congregation trained to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support. Clergy may identify parishioners who will particularly benefit from a Stephen Ministry relationship; however, parishioners are welcome to inquire about becoming a care receiver from a Stephen Minister. Contact one of our clergy team if you are interested in having a Stephen Minister. For more information about Stephen Ministry, visit the organization’s website.
Click of Comfort
The prayer shawl ministry creates tangible signs of prayer, love, and support for those who are sick or bereaved. To date, this caring ministry has made and distributed over 500 shawls, spreading the love of Christ. To participate in the ministry or to request a shawl for someone, contact Judy Anderson, ClickofComfort@stjohnsec.org.
Walking the Mourner's Path
Death and its accompanying grief are part of the human experience. Walking the Mourner’s Path is a grief support ministry offered at various times throughout the year. This ministry consists of eight consecutive weekly small group workshops led by trained lay facilitators and a member of the clergy. Participants discover Christ-centered support in their grief, tools for moving forward with joyful living, and ways to honor their loved one. A workbook containing the program materials, including inspirational readings, scripture passages, prayers, and activities specific to the key concepts for each workshop is provided. Continuing support is offered in quarterly gatherings following completion of the workshop. To learn more or participate in one of the upcoming workshops, contact Tina Millard at (WalkingTheMournersPath@stjohnsec.org).
Download a brochure. See dates of upcoming workshops. WtMP Facilitator Training
An important part of the grieving process is fellowship with family and friends—to celebrate the life of a loved one and mourn together. The Bereavement Ministry coordinates receptions held following funeral services at St. John’s. Parishioners provide food for the reception, or assist with set up, clean up, or serve food for as much time and energy as they can give. This ministry provides parishioners with a tangible way to reach out to other members suffering from the loss of a loved one. Contact Pat Stackhouse to serve in this ministry: Bereavement@stjohnsec.org
The meal ministry prepares and delivers meals for parishioners in any kind of need: family crisis, illness or injury, new baby—anyone who feels they can benefit from a lovingly prepared meal. Meals are prepared by parishioners in advance and frozen at church. The meals are then delivered by a team of parishioners, as needed. Contact Sue Carlson to prepare meals for others: MealMinistry@stjohnsec.org
Tidings of Comfort
The Pastoral Care Commission sponsors Tidings of Comfort, an annual December event that incorporates a dinner, liturgy, and discussion that focuses on processing emotions associated with change, loss, and transition. This offering embraces the expectation of Advent, and rests on the abiding hope of God’s promises.
Mental Health Ministry
The St. John’s Mental Health Ministry furthers the mission of St. John’s through hospitality and inclusion of those affected by mental illness, offering education, worship opportunities, and support, and partnering with local mental health organizations. Contact Debbie Lieberman at MentalHealth@stjohnsec.org.
When an individual or family is under stress and/or struggling with life’s circumstances, the clergy at St. John’s can provide support through counseling referrals. Clergy who are not mental health practitioners are prohibited from offering long term pastoral counseling. However, an initial appointment to talk and pray with one of our St. John’s clergy team will provide the basis for next steps, which may include receiving care from a parish ministry or professional referral.
Pastoral Care Begins in Worship
Pastoral care and personal health begin in worship. Our grounding in wellness is the healing love of God found in the community of Jesus Christ. When we are well, we are further nourished and bolstered for our life as a disciple. And when our minds are confused, our bodies ill, or our spirits weary, common worship is a balm of healing that strengthens us. In the stories of scripture, the beauty of music, prayer, and Eucharist, we find the peace of God. Connected to others in sacred worship, this holy peace restores us.
PARTNERS IN CARE
This self-help support organization mission is to assist bereaved families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age and from any cause, and to provide information to help others be supportive. TCF brings hope and healing to bereaved parents, siblings, grandparents, and other family members. The Patapsco Valley Chapter of TCF holds meetings at St. John’s on the first Thursday of every month.