A Non-Anxious Presence

Weekly Reflection, Sunday, August 18, 2019

By: Eleanor Wellford

“A non-anxious presence.” What is that? It’s at the heart of Pastoral Care. It means showing up, leaning in, listening, but despite our natural inclinations, not trying to fix anything. It’s about letting grace abound by simply being present and letting a person know that he or she is loved and not alone. It’s about helping people stay connected when circumstances in our lives make it difficult for that to happen.

At St. Mary’s, four Pastoral Care teams help look after our flock. Each team meets once a month to review with clergy the ways that its members can help minister to our parishioners. That could be an in-home visit, delivery of a meal, a telephone call, or a written note letting them know that we are thinking of them and missing their presence among us. It also means celebrating joyous moments by sending birthday and anniversary cards, new baby cards, cards to the newly married among us, and cards to families who have members serving in our armed forces. Each team is “on call” for a week of every month to help meet any pastoral issues that arise during that week. The clergy are the first responders, but then the team members follow up with appropriate calls and care.

Each team has formed its own community and its members have bonded over prayer, their shared work and their pastoral experiences. Each team, however, would be happy to welcome new members!

Do you feel drawn to Pastoral Care? Would you like to find out more about what we do? Any of our clergy or team leaders would be more than willing to help you discern your call to this ministry. Pastoral Care is just as much about helping people stay connected to our parish community in a variety of ways as it is about sitting quietly and praying with a grieving friend.

As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness and patience. Bear with one another and…above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.  (Colossians 3:12-14)