Pastoral Visitation is of vital importance to the St B’s Community. It’s what we do. The clergy, members of the pastoral care committee, Lay Eucharistic Ministers, or the parish nurse make every effort to visit parishioners or family members who are hospitalized or shut in on a regular basis. In case of emergency it is important to notify the church office or clergy as soon as possible. In the case of impending surgeries or significant medical appointments the office, clergy, or the parish nurse should be notified as well. It is important for us to be a supportive presence for the patient and for significant family members who may also need our support and advocacy, and to assist in any way we can. This is true during hospitalization and following. In some cases transportation or food may be required and the pastoral care committee is prepared to respond.
The ministry of our Parish Nursing team is a vital arm of the Pastoral Care initiative here. The service is based on the concept of a holistic health care model, specifically health and wholeness in body, mind and spirit. The roles of the nurse are defined as health educator for the church community, health counselor, liaison to community resources, and advocate for parishioners in their individual needs. Accompaniment to doctor visits, interpretation of test results, support of family members, and health teaching for all ages is a part of the program. The team also provides free, monthly blood pressure screenings and health consultations. Educational programs on health issues are provided to parishioners. An example is Red Dress Sunday, held in February, which targets cardiac health issues, particularly in the African-American and Hispanic populations. The Apostle periodically features articles about pertinent health issues. All of this is undergirded by God’s spirit at work in the healing of persons, along with a strong support system offering many other services. Some of those services include making and delivering of food to those in need, and transportation to doctor’s visits.
We offer a Healing Ministry each Sunday at both services, when the congregation is invited to receive healing prayers and the laying on of hands by representatives of both clergy and laity. The sacrament of Eucharist is also offered at this time. It is a powerful time in the midst of the liturgy to ask for God’s healing gifts to embrace persons who seek strength and help for themselves or for others who are unable to be present.
Our Prayer Shawl Ministry provides warmth, healing, and compassion to those in need of such. A dedicated group of volunteers meets regularly to pray while they knit and crochet shawls that are then blessed and given to those who desire this physical sign of our prayers.
We pray that we will continue to discover new ways of ministering to our sisters and brothers.