As a congregation, we all play a part in promoting a community of compassion and caring. Sometimes, we need just a little more than words of encouragement or a hug from a friend.
This is when the trained members of the Lay Pastoral Care Team are here for you.
Lay Pastoral Care Team members are volunteers from our congregation who are trained in compassionate listening and caring. They are available to support those who would welcome a visit or who are experiencing difficult circumstances or times of transition. The goal is to provide a ministry of hope and caring so that no member of the congregation need suffer or struggle alone through life’s hard times.
Lay pastoral care team members may: visit members who are ill at home or in the hospital; support those who are going through a major life transition or personal crisis; maintain contact with those unable to attend church due to illness or disability; support family and friends involved in care giving; comfort the bereaved; provide support that is ongoing; assist with spiritual support; and help a person find additional resources they need.
How does one access Lay Pastoral Care services?
There are a number of ways to request contact. You may phone the Rev. Suzelle Lynch or the Rev. Lori Hlaban at 262-782-3535 or contact them and the Lay Pastoral Care Team Coordinator via email. You can download the Lay Pastoral Care Referral Form (or pick up a copy in the church foyer) and place it in the mailbox outside the Minister's office on the Upper Level, or bring the form to the Church Office. All inquiries are handled confidentially.
People may refer themselves for support, or sometimes a concerned friend will suggest that the Lay Pastoral Care Team contact a person in need. After a referral is received, a Lay Pastoral Care Team member will make an initial phone call to introduce him- or herself, and Lay Pastoral Care services, and inquire to see if this would be helpful.
Why Lay Pastoral Care?
In a large congregation like UUCW it is not always possible for the ministers to give full listening attention to each member that might need pastoral care. Trained lay members providing a compassionate, listening presence builds a more loving and vital community. Caring for each other in a conscious way is important to the life of the church. The members of the Lay Pastoral Care Team find that time shared with a member or friend of our congregation is a blessing to both people in the relationship.
Active listening -- There is a healing power in telling one's story. Our Lay Pastoral Care Team members have been trained to listen with compassion.
Nonjudgmental presence -- Respect is foundational to Unitarian Universalism, and to our Lay Pastoral Care Team. Respect and empathy help Team members listen and respond without judgment, accepting people as they are.
Caring, not curing – Pastoral care is a process of companionship, not problem-solving or curing. As companions, Lay Pastoral Care Team members give those they support the chance to recognize, value, and use their own inner wisdom, and they respect the other person’s spiritual journey.
Equality and wholeness – Pastoral care recognizes that we’re all equals – the Universalist philosophy that we all share a common destiny, and that wholeness includes each and every person. Our Lay Pastoral Care Team members know that the time shared with a member or friend of our congregation is a blessing to both people in the relationship.
Trust and confidentiality -- Relationships of caring are built on a foundation of trust. Pastoral care recognizes that confidences must be private, and that deep relationships take time.