Pastoral care refers to a broad spectrum of pastoral services that are offered by our ministers as spiritual resources to the congregation at points of need. At Decatur UCC, we offer RESPONSIVE pastoral care. That means that our pastoral care staff will respond to your request for care. We respect your privacy and will not impose ourselves; we will wait for you. PLEASE let us know if you would like for us to help you, work with you, or offer any of the services outlined in this brochure. You may schedule pastoral care by contacting the church office at 404-373-2933 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Many people find it helpful to process spiritual issues in conversation with another. Ministers can often be helpful spiritual conversation partners and guides. In times when we are examining or questioning beliefs, when we experience life changes, when moral decisions are before us, or when we’re faced with a crisis in any realm of living, we may benefit from prayerful, caring spiritual guidance.
Spiritual practices are one manifestation of our life with God and our connections with each other. Developing spiritual practices such as prayer, meditation, service, giving, journaling, or fasting (or many others) can deepen our lives, draw us closer to God, and bring peace to our often too hectic and urgent living. Pastors can suggest practices that might be meaningful to us and help us deepen our spiritual lives.
Prayer with another can be a centering, grounding, freeing way to attend to urgent or ongoing needs in our lives. A member of our pastoral staff will pray with you and for you or help you develop your personal or communal prayer life or ministry. We also have an organized group of lay people who will offer intentional, focused prayers for you. Just let us know your desire and we will let them know to pray for you.
Rituals are ways to symbolize – or make concrete – the transitions, realities, commitments, processes, beginnings and endings in our lives. Personal, specific ritual can create spiritual and emotional space for letting go of past hurts or difficult experiences, for processing grief, for making vows, for finding forgiveness, for beginnings or endings that are significant to us. Our pastors can work with you to develop rituals to symbolize these passages in your life, including weddings and commitment ceremonies, funerals and memorial services, baptisms, and blessings.
If you or someone you know is ill or hospitalized, is having surgery or recovering at home, we can arrange for someone to visit and pray with them. We can also arrange institutional visitation in recovery centers, jails and prisons. Please indicate if you would like for us to serve communion on these visits.
Guidelines to Understanding Pastoral Care
Pastoral care is SPIRITUAL care. It is not psychotherapy or even counseling.
The pastoral care you receive is protected by an expectation of confidentiality; however, some things cannot be held in confidence. Additionally, pastors often work with supervisors, colleagues, or spiritual directors with whom they share information about the care they offer. While your name and identifying information will not be shared, your situation and the care that you’ve been given may be shared. Discuss this with your pastor if you have concerns or need clarification.
Usually, pastors limit the number of subsequent care sessions with a person or couple in regard to any single issue or situation. After those sessions, your pastor may recommend a therapist or spiritual director for ongoing care.