Spend some time thinking about the pastoral care you have received and given this week.
Hold before God those involved that in and ask for his blessing on them.
Finally, give thanks for the love of God demonstrated through people and creation that you have given and received this week.
This week you will need to be a detective! Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to delve into the little known world of Church policies and procedures, and find out just what there is in those cupboards and files, or that tab on the website?
Church policies, procedures and plans vary enormously! We may be one body, but we all have our different ways of putting caring into action in the name of the Church.
Policies, Procedures and Plans
This is one of the key aspects of this module – when that expression of care is carried out for and on behalf of the church, in the name of the church, and within the safer practices of the church.
What policies are you already aware of that are current in your church? List them in your reflective journal ………and better still, download them or get a copy from your church.
You may have found some of the following:
Promoting a safer church policy
Health and safety policy
Lone working policy
Download and look at the pdf file 'Church Policies Checklist' in the Resources section below - this is not designed to scare you, but hopefully to inspire you!!
Why, How, What and Who?
Why, how, what and who are we already involved with in the name of the church?
Take a look at the template “Pastoral care in our church and community” in the Resources section below.
Although the first question we need to start with is “why”, it’s often too difficult to start there, so the suggestion is you go to “what” first.
Using the template start with the third column along, and fill in what you have found out is already taking place in your church and community (as applicable) ie name the service that you / your church is carrying out eg toddler group; home communions; residential care home visits; email prayer list etc
Then use the template in whatever way feels right to you, and see how much of the other columns you are able to fill in.
Remember, most detectives have their helpful friend, so do ask around for help (Holmes and Watson; Rosemary and Thyme; Morse and Lewis …….)
Creating A Plan
Some people like to plan. They love a list. In fact, gathering together some new stationery and sharpening pencils is the deed done. Some people find this part of any training or course the most boring part, and find it easy to switch off and walk away. Some people will be enthused by the idea of a plan and even get as far as filling in the first page. Some people will embrace the whole “make a plan” idea and it’ll be done before supper.
This module has a bit of a flavour of the parable of the sower about it – but the hope is that some good soil is already prepared, and that which needs some more work on it before it becomes productive will find that nothing is wasted in God’s economy, and so take it or leave it as you see fit.
There is no pressure on you to produce a plan! However, in the Resources section there is an example of a policy and a plan which emerged from that policy, and a document which emerged from that plan for you to look at, and maybe find some inspiration.
Spotlight on Doctrine
Pastoral care and the Christian faith is informed, supported and developed when it is embedded into a Church’s policy, procedures and plans. Consider Exodus ch 18, and Acts ch 2: 42 – 47,, and ch 6: 1 – 6 – what might we learn from these Biblical stories for a 21st century church. Write three things down in your learning journal for discussion at the final Study Day.
Spotlight on Spirituality
In the light of your reflections on this session, what are you most thankful for? What have you found difficult or challenging? Write or draw just ONE word or image that will help you in your journey with God at this time.
Spotlight on A Safer Church
With what you already know about promoting a safer church, what are the main issues you have identified this week in order to be safe when involved with pastoral care? Make a note in your learning journal for discussion on the Study Day.
What has particularly struck you in this session? How will you use some of what you have learned as you live out your life of faith?
Blessed are you, Lord our God, all things come from you:
from you come our life, this world and all that we have and are.
Help us to love one another as you have loved us.
Blessed are you, Creator, Redeemer and Sustainer.
Something Practical To Do
Ask about the policies and procedures in your church, and what helps or hinders in putting them into practice.
Share this and what you find out about the art of planning, in the discussion forum. on the discussion board in the Forum (this post is required for those taking the assessment).
Parish Church Policy
Pastoral Care Grid
Pastoral Care Plan
Pastoral Care in Church and Community