I hope you have all had refreshing summer holidays and are glad to be back, ready for another year of mission. In many ways the new church year starts in September and this year one area of focus will be care. One of our stated aims at Holy Trinity is to love, accept, care and prayer for one another. There are many church members who do this informally and through the Tuesday prayer meeting and we must give thanks to God for this work. And yet we have a need to expand the pastoral care of the church and this September we will seek to do this.
The need for a more organised way to care has been made most clear in a few recent events. In June this year our dear sister Irene Grainger died unexpectedly at home. Her family found her on the sofa, looking as if she were asleep. Irene’s church friend and neighbour, Kath, was on holiday at the time and no one else was in place to check on Irene. At other times, and less dramatically but no less significantly, members of church have been admitted to hospital and we have not been able to respond as a whole church. Sometimes, people just drift away from church and no one notices, or if we notice, we don’t know what to do about it. To the person who has left church it can feel like no one cares. The examples above show that we could care for one another much better. We have the capacity as a whole church to do this, we just need to be organised about it. There is a need for a structure in church life to be able to fulfill the aim of caring for everyone.
This September we will be launching a system of care to cover all church members. The system is simple, it is called congregational pastors and it will be based around our small groups. We will be appointing trusted leaders who will each be asked to look-out for 12 people on Sunday mornings and in their small groups. The system will be explained on Sunday the 18th September as we start the ball rolling.
You might ask, why do we need congregational pastors, isn’t that the pastor’s job? What do we pay him for? First, yes it is my role to care for people, it is also my responsibility to organise care to happen. Statistics show that a single, well organised pastor can effectively care for around 120 people, 150 at most, I can probably manage about 70. We have 3000 people in our small parish so I’ll never be able to care for everyone unless we do it together. Congregational pastors will be asked to keep me informed of any serious sickness, bereavement and so on. Second, whilst it is true that I am set aside to preach, teach and organise church life, all Christians are ministers. We are all to minister God’s word and love to one another. We all use our gifts as God has given them to build up the body (Ephesians 4:15-16).
Please make the services on 18th September a priority. Come to hear how the scheme will work. Be prepared to be committed to a congregational pastor and to seeing care being practised throughout the church.
May God richly bless us