(Note: at FCB we now use the term LAY PASTORAL CARE)

Excerpted from Interim Minister Doris Hunter’s “Minister’s Report” for the May 2008 Annual Meeting:

This year the Ministerial Relations Committee has been working on the concept of Shared Ministry. You will be hearing about this at the Annual Meeting and at some informal sessions held by the Committee to clarify this idea. Basically it is the idea that we are all doing ministry in various ways and how vital that is to this church community. Several ideas have been expressed to me this year about Shared Ministry and one of them has been the concept of Lay Ministry and the possibility that this church might consider this “ministry” as a possible outreach to the congregation as we grow into that “Program-Size” Church. Remember that chart illustrating our “Program-Size” Church?

We have had two meetings with representatives from the Follen Church in Lexington that has a Lay Ministry program. They were helpful in describing their activities as lay ministers and their minister emerita, the Rev. Polly Guild, told how this program has been helpful in providing pastoral care for church members. Pastoral care, they told us, should not fall exclusively on the shoulders of the ordained minister especially as the congregation increases in size. The whole church should feel the breath of real support and honest concern within the congregation and that can be made real when there is an identifiable “paraprofessional program” called lay ministry.

It is important for those who wish to be “lay ministers” to have training in the skills of listening and knowing the characteristics of a helping relationship including knowing one’s limits and being self-aware as an effective communicator. The Mass Bay District used to offer these training sessions but now it has become the task of churches which have folks trained as lay ministers to offer their wisdom to other churches. The West Newton Unitarian Universalist Church has such a group trained in these skills and they have offered to come to First Church on May 31st from 9:30 to 12:30 p.m. to tell us about their experiences with lay ministry and the training involved in becoming a lay minister. I want to invite you to come that Saturday morning to hear about this possibility for our church…a vital part of shared ministry for our “Program- Size” congregation.

The lay ministry program would be very helpful for your new settled minister. To have a small group of “lay ministers” to assist with pastoral needs would be an immense aid for getting to know the congregation. It would also be an additional resource for the Caring Connection.  Please join us if this is of interest to you. I will be glad to talk with you any time about this Shared Ministry concept. May 31st, Saturday morning from 9:30 to 12:30 p.m. in the Library!