As part of Highland Presbyterian Church's mission of caring for people, Stephen Ministry is one way that lay members of the congregation care for one another. Stephen Ministers receive intensive training in caregiving skills, are committed to confidentiality in the relationship, meet regularly (usually weekly) with the person needing care--listening, being there, accepting, and sharing God's love--to walk with you or a friend on the journey to wholeness.
If you or someone you know is in need of Christian care, contact Reverend Ann Osborne 569-2651, Doug Good or Linda Neumann for more information.
Who Might Need the Care of a Stephen Minister?
Many times in life, there are crises, life changes, losses, discouragements--times when it is easy to see how someone would benefit from the care of a Stephen Minister. But there are other times when the support of a Stephen Minister could help, possibly making the walk along a difficult journey go more quickly or with less stress.
If you know someone who may be suffering quietly, who has experienced a loss, or a series of small losses, or a family member caring for a loved one going through a crisis time, consider whether that person might benefit from the distinctly Christian care of a Stephen Minister.
How to Refer Someone to Stephen Ministry
Contact Reverend Ann Osborne 569-2651, Doug Good, or Linda Neumann, if you or someone you know might be interested in working with a Stephen Minister. Stephen Ministry care is confidential and provided only at the choice of the hurting person. A referrals coordinator will meet with the person and help to match him or her with a suitable Stephen Minister.
Who Benefits from Stephen Ministry?
Everybody at Highland Presbyterian Church benefits from Stephen Ministry!
- Care-receivers benefit because they receive care and support during the crises they face.
- Stephen Ministers benefit through the spiritual growth they experience in being involved in a meaningful ministry.
- Our pastors benefit because caring ministry at Highland Presbyterian Church is expanded, and more people receive individualized Christian care.
- Most of all, each member of the congregation benefits from the knowledge that special care is available to you when you need it. In addition, you have a place where you can refer a friend, neighbor, co-worker, relative or anyone else who is going through a difficult time--so that they can receive special care when they need it most!
How Can I Become a Stephen Minister?
If you feel that you might like to become a Stephen Minister, talk with one of the Stephen Ministers or Leaders. They can share their own experiences and answer most of your questions about training, serving, and the commitment involved.
Potential Stephen Ministers go through an application, interview, and selection process. The next training class will be scheduled in 2011.
In preparation for this special ministry of care and concern, Stephen Ministers receive 50 hours of training in Christian caregiving skills, in such areas as listening, feelings, assertiveness, boundaries, and using prayer to minister to someone experiencing problems. When they complete training, they are commissioned by Highland Presbyterian Church to carry out this caring ministry in our congregation community.
Stephen Ministers meet twice a month to share and learn with each other and to keep grounded in their spiritual roles.
A Stephen Minister is not a counselor or therapist, a problem-solver, or a casual visitor.
What do Care-Receivers Say?
"I thought a Stephen Minister would just listen to my personal pain. Instead, it was a conversational journey together enabling me to hear strength, wisdom, and impact that I could apply to my life."
"When my husband died, I found it hard to be the strong woman I thought I should be. A Stephen Minister helped me see how difficult it is to admit that I couldn’t quite make it alone. She walked with me through that time."
"The friendship, kindness, caring and help which my Stephen Minister gave, I shall always remember."
"We had just moved to Lancaster when my child suddenly became ill. I was dealing with the move, with doctor’s visits, hospitalization, making new friends, finding the “right” the move, with doctor’s visits, hospitalization, making new friends, finding the “right” Church, locating workmen to do things needed. Overwhelmed, I called Highland Church., and was assigned a Stephen Minister. A wave of relief washed over me as we met week after week and I came to rely on her caring concern for me."
"My crisis wasn't major, but my Stephen Minister was gracious. Most important to me were the complete confidentiality of our discussions and my Stephen Minister's patient, connected, untiring listening."
"My Stephen Minister brought God’s love to me when I needed her. Every time she walked through my door, we said a prayer of thanks together. All I needed to do was ask for help."
"I would encourage anyone who could use confidential, caring support for a month, several months, a year, or however long it takes to get back on their feet to accept the gift of a Stephen Minister."