Care for the Church

Stephen Ministry

Bear one another’s burdens, and in this way you fulfill the law of Christ.” – Galatians 6:2

First Church began its Stephen Ministry program in 2010. Stephen Ministry is a national lay-led pastoral care ministry headquartered in St. Louis. Through the training and resources of this organization, more than 11,000 congregations from more than 150 denominations have been served for over 35 years.

Stephen Ministers are trained to extend compassionate care to those who are going through difficult and challenging situations. Stephen Ministers accompany these people through confidential and non-judgmental listening and support. They are not counselors, nor are they in a position to fix problems.

Some examples where Stephen Ministers can provide caring spiritual support include (but are not limited to) the following crises and life-changing experiences:

  • Death of a loved one
  • Terminal illness
  • Marital separation, divorce
  • Job loss
  • Health challenges

When an adult person in need consents to receiving care from a Stephen Minister, they are then matched up with a Stephen Minister (of the same gender). They meet with their Stephen Minister one-on-one weekly for about an hour, or however often is convenient and beneficial on a regular basis. Duration of the caring relationship depends on the need and often runs anywhere from three to six months, to a year, and sometimes more.

If you think a Stephen Minister might be beneficial for yourself or someone you know, please contact Rev. Crouch at 746-4235 or revgordon@mcttelecom.com.

Pastoral Care Committee

Members of the Pastoral Care Committee visit parishioners who are homebound, in nursing homes, or simply appreciative of a visit. They are also responsive to any parishioners who may need attention and support in some manner, and they manage and update First Church’s prayer list. Bud Hancock chairs this committee, and can be contacted at 746-5568 or hancock.bud61440@gmail.com.

Prayer Chain

If anyone has a prayer request for either themselves or someone they know, they may contact Bud Hancock (746-5568 or hancock.bud61440@gmail.com) or Rev. Crouch (746-4235 or revgordon@mcttelecom.com), and that prayer request will be communicated by email to members of the First Church prayer chain.

Members of the prayer chain include the Pastor, the Deacons, members of the Pastoral Care Committee, and anyone else who desires to pray for the requests of First Church parishioners. All prayer requests are kept confidential among prayer chain members unless permission is given to share publicly with the congregation.

Prayer Shawl Ministry

First Church’s Prayer Shawl Ministry combines a love for knitting or crocheting with a prayerful ministry of compassionate outreach. They are called “prayer shawls” because, while making the shawl, the shawl maker includes prayers and blessings for the recipient.

Prayer shawls have been given to those who have been sick or hospitalized, those who have been grieving the loss of a loved one, and those who have been going through a difficult life challenge of one kind or another.

However, the shawls are not used solely to give comfort during difficult times. They have also been given to celebrate certain milestones such as a marriage or the birth of a child. If you know of someone who would benefit from receiving a prayer shawl, contact Dijit Taylor at 228-4614 or dtaylor@lchip.org. Members of this ministry meet in one another’s homes.