“Pastoral care is the faithful ministry of a religious community to the needs of people in face-to-face relationships. This ministry comes from a genuine concern for each person, caring about her as a person of unique worth, and caring for her as a mutual responsibility.” ~ Paul Johnson, A Theology of Pastoral Care
At the Boulder Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, the Pastoral Care Ministry is a joint partnership between the ministers and the laity.
Lay Pastoral Care Associates, or LPCAs, are caring members of the Fellowship who have been invited to serve on a small team in collaboration with the ministers. These volunteers have been invited into this ministry based on their respect in the congregation, their capability for this kind of ministry, and their commitment to collaboration and ongoing training. LPCAs can be counted on to keep pastoral conversations in confidence within the circle of caring that includes other LPCAs and the minister, who may need to be consulted from time to time. All LPCAs have completed extensive training, including a Basic Mental Health First Aid Course.
A Lay Pastoral Care Associate, or LPCA, offers one-on-one attention to persons in the congregation who are in special need. Those special needs might include, among other things:
- Major life changes like birth, adoption, retirement, loss of a job, divorce
- Death or chronic illness of a loved one
- One’s own health problems or hospitalization
- Gender or sexual preference struggles
- Isolation or loneliness
A Pastoral Associate offers a ministry of support and presence. She is not a therapist. He is not a financial or medical or legal advisor. A Pastoral Associate is not there to tell you how to solve the problems you are experiencing, but to let you know that you are not alone with those problems. To walk with you in the ways of love.
If situations arise that are beyond what a Pastoral Associate is equipped to handle, they will help you find more appropriate resources. Pastoral Associates will get referrals from the minister, from Candles of Community, and Neighborhood Connectors. You can ask for a visit or tell of us of someone you know who is in need by talking to an Associate or the Program Coordinator or by contacting the Program Coordinator by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
And you can identify the LPCAs at Sunday Services by the purple ribbons on their nametags.