“Bear one another’s burden, and so you will fulfill the law of Christ.”
VITALity Offers Hope
Stephen Ministry is the compassionate and caring face of the parish. We have many needs for care in our parishes and in our communities: People experience divorce, grief, terminal illness, loss of job, hospitalization, loneliness, being a caregiver to a loved one and many other stresses and challenges. With a limited number of clergy, it would be impossible for our priests and deacons to meet every single need of every single person. Stephen Ministry fills that gap by assisting the clergy in their pastoral and spiritual care by ministering to people throughout the crisis they face.
Stephen Ministers are lay members of a parish, trained and organized to help provide one on one confidential Christian care to members of our parish and our community. It is a lay ministry based on the idea that all Christians are called to and gifted to minister to others. Stephen Ministry is a way people with special gifts for caring ministry can use those gifts to bring Christ’s love to people in need. Stephen Ministers are each assigned a care receiver and meet with that care receiver for about an hour a week, as long as the care receiver needs it. Stephen Ministry indeed is a gift to our parishes.
By: Father Sanjai Devis, VC
Director of Stephen Ministry
Stephen Ministry at a Glance for 2018
Stephen Ministry Parishes: 15
Trained Stephen Ministry Leaders: 35
Stephen Ministers: 230
Care Receivers: 225+
“My caregiver from Stephen Ministry saved my life and helped me to feel God by my side, and that I could survive this. And because of her, I am beginning my road back to God. Because of her, I don’t feel so lost anymore and I am not so overwhelmed.”
“Besides supporting me emotionally and spiritually, sometimes my minister helps me to get some information on things that I need. Other times we will pray together. My Stephen Minister is always encouraging me and cheering me on? I feel very blessed and full of gratitude that my Stephen Minister has entered my life!! Thank you!”
“The relationship I have with my care receiver has made me a better human being. I listen more carefully, consider my answers more thoughtfully. It has made a difference in all of my relationships. . . This experience has been one of the best in my life!”
Stephen Ministry is a system through which selected members of a parish are trained and organized to help provide one on one confidential Christian care to members of our parishes and our communities. This will multiply the amount of caring ministry a parish can provide by giving the parish a whole team of skilled caregivers who are equipped to bring Christ’s healing love to people who are experiencing stresses in life.
Stephen Ministry is based on the idea that all Christians are called to minister to others. The responsibility for passing on God’s love is for all Christians, not just for a chosen few. God has given us all gifts for ministry and called us to put those gifts to use. Stephen Ministry is a way people with special gifts for caring ministry can use those gifts to bring Christ’s love to people in need.
We have many needs for care in our parishes and our communities: People experience divorce, grief, terminal illness, loss of job, relocation, empty nest, retirement, hospitalization, loneliness, and many other stresses and challenges. Often people with needs suffer silently or do not request or receive the level of care they really need. With only one or two priests for a large parish, you can quickly see why it would be impossible for our priests to meet every single need of every single person. Stephen Ministry expands the care the parish can offer by equipping and organizing members to provide Christian care. This gives us a larger pool of people with the gifts, skills and calling, to bring Christ’s love and care to those who need it.
Everybody benefits from Stephen Ministry. Those receiving care from Stephen Ministers benefit because they receive prayer and support throughout the crisis they face. Stephen Ministers benefit through the spiritual growth they experience from being involved in meaningful ministry. Priests benefit because caring ministry at our parishes is expanded, and fewer people will slip through the cracks. Most of all you benefit from the knowledge that special care is available to you should you need it. In addition, you now have a place where you can refer a friend, neighbor, coworker, relative, or anyone else you know who is going through a difficult time so that they can receive special care when they need it most. Stephen Ministry makes our parishes a much more caring place!
Stephen Ministers are members of a parish who have gone through 50 hours of training to provide confidential high quality Christian care to individuals experiencing a crisis or challenge such as divorce, grief, hospitalization, relocation, aging, spiritual crisis, or loneliness. Stephen Ministers are each assigned a care receiver and meet with that care receiver for about an hour a week. This caring relationship will last for as long as the care receiver needs it. The Stephen Ministers receive continuing education and twice monthly peer group supervision so that they are equipped to provide the best care.
When someone requests a Stephen Minister, the parish Stephen Ministry Coordinator/Leader will meet with that person, explain what Stephen Ministry is, and help determine whether Stephen Ministry is the kind of care that person needs. The leader then matches that person with one of the available Stephen Ministers. The Stephen Minister will then call that person to begin meeting with him or her for about an hour each week as long as there is a need. Everything a care receiver says to his or her Stephen Minister is kept confidential. The Stephen Minister doesn’t try to solve problems; rather, he or she listens, cares, prays, and helps the care receiver find his or her path to healing and wholeness.
If you would like more information on Stephen Ministry or how to begin the ministry at your parish, please contact:
Rev. Sanjai Devis, VC