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Introduction to Congrgational Care Seminars
At the heart of the Congregational Care Network are two introductory core seminars that we are encouraging every member congregation have at least one person take. These two seminars provide those who participate in them with the foundations for being part of a congregation's care ministry reaching out to members of the congregation and the community.
The first of these seminars, Introduction to Congregational Care 101: A Ministry of Listening, provdes not only foundation in congregational caregiving but in how to engage in a ministry of listening. For many people, the experience of feeling care for and feeling a sense of belonging within a community and congregation comes down to someone expressing an interest in hearing their story. A person taking the time listen attentively to another's story, perhaps over a cup of coffee or lunch, is a meaningful act of caregiving. This seminar helps those who seek to be part of the congregation's care ministry to see opportunities and to develop the skills for listening attentively with compassion and care.
The second seminar, Introduction to Congregational Care 102: Boundaries, Referrals, and Self Care, seeks to equip congregational caregivers with skills that help them provide care for themselves. One aspect of this is learning how to set healthy and compassionate boundaries with people that you are ministering to. Part of this is knowing when and how to invite people to ask, "Who might be able to really help with this?" and to encourage them to make contact with people that have expertise and resources that might help. It may be a referral to see the pastor or to a pastoral counselor or local clinic. A third part of this is learning to give yourself permission to give priority to your own needs for rest, recreation, and family time.
We identify these as the core seminars because once a person has completed these two foundational seminars, we invite them to take any of a group of Congregational Care electives that include:
- Making Hospital and Home Visits
- Crisis Intervention and Pastoral Care
- Congregational Care with Grief and Loss
- Ministry with Bereaved Parents
- Ministry to a Society that is Living Longer
- Leading a Lay Pastoral Care Network Setting (elective option)