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Pastoral Care Ministries

Pastoral Care -- beyond the Sunday service
Bear one another's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ (Galatians 6:2).

St. Mary's is an engaged community committed to the well-being of its members through caring relationships and kind actions, intentionally meeting both the spiritual and life needs of the congregation.  The Pastoral Care Ministries provide continuity, warmth and support both in and beyond the Sunday church service. They offer an opportunity to fulfill the role that Jesus gave us, to love and serve our neighbors whoever and wherever they might be. Believing that we are Christ’s hands and heart in the world, a significant percentage of St. Mary’s parishioners is involved in the work of pastoral care ministry which includes Healing Prayer, Intercessory Prayer, Parish Health Ministry, Eucharistic Ministers, Homebound and Transportation Services

There are many “behind-the-scenes” acts of ministry that Pastoral Care ministers perform. They make friendly phone calls and send "We care" cards to those in distress and to honor birthdays, graduations and other special occasions in the lives of congregants.  Weekly Home Devotions are mailed with a personal note to the most senior members of the church community. Prayer Shawl ministers knit and pray together, providing loving comfort for infants, as well as those members of the church who are living out their final days. If you would like to explore being a part of, or if you would like to receive care or services from, the Pastoral Care Ministries please contact May Pritchard at mpritchard@stmarysardmore.org

Healing Prayer -- integral to the Sunday service
Are any among you suffering? They should pray. Are any cheerful? They should sing songs of praise. Are any among you sick? They should call for the elders of the church and have them pray over them, anointing them with oil in the name of the Lord…pray for one another, so that you may be healed (James 5: 13-16).

Gathered in the chapel during Communion, lay ministers welcome petitioners seeking prayers for themselves or others. The support of the entire church community is witnessed through the laying on of hands in the healing rite of intercession. Both ministers and petitioner share the presence of the Spirit in this profound and moving practice.

Intercessory Prayer reaches out into a hurting community
Whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. (Matthew 6:6)

The Intercessory Prayer group is a community that recognizes the need for compassionate, transformative prayer reaching beyond the walls of St. Mary’s and out into a hurting community. The group’s 25 members are committed to the power of authentic, heartfelt prayer and faithfully uphold those on the intercessory prayer list. Known only to the rector and the Intercessory Prayer Group, the confidential list averages 40-50 people at any given point in time.

The members of the group are notified when a prayer request is submitted, and the requester is given the option of having the group send a caring card to the person or family being prayed for to let them know the group is praying for their needs. The Intercessory Prayer Group is an active, living ministry serving all people regardless of their affiliation with St. Mary’s.

Health Ministry for the congregation and community
For nearly 25 years in the U.S., there has been a “Parish Nurse” movement, focused on reclaiming a once prominent role of the Church in the care and healing of its members. Parish nursing is a unique blending of professional nursing practice and spiritual caregiving to assist parish members in achieving wholeness of body, mind and spirit. In keeping with its commitment to be the hands and heart of Christ in the world, St. Mary’s has launched an initiative to develop a congregational health ministry that is supportive and informative not only for the congregation’s own personal or family needs, but also for the larger community beyond St. Mary’s.

Eucharistic Ministers for those who are homebound
The burdens of homebound illness, including separation from Sunday services and fellowship with the congregation, are eased through visits from Eucharist ministers who administer the sacrament of Holy Communion and listen to the concerns of those who are shut in. St. Mary's parishioners can also request daily prayers from Intercessory Prayer ministers for themselves, for family members or a friend, as well as for anyone who is experiencing a health, emotional or relational crisis.

Homebound care and transportation services
When a new parent cannot leave the house, a parishioner has had surgery or a disabled individual is kept inside by extended inclement weather, a Pastoral Care minister will bring meals, do shopping, pick up prescriptions or run other errands until the church member is able to function independently once again. Along with a helping hand and an attentive ear, these pastoral ministers bring reassurance and compassion to those who are homebound.