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Consider Becoming a Pastoral Care Associate!

Frequently Asked Questions

 Since 1997, First Church has offered a Pastoral Care Associates ministry which trains and commissions members of our congregation whose talents, experience and skills enable them to respond to fellow members in times of need. This one-to-one lay ministry is designed to complement, not replace, the pastoral care that our ministers continue to provide.  This is ministry of “being” rather than “doing” — a ministry of presence and quiet listening. (Our Pastoral Care Providers program is a ministry of “doing” by providing meals and rides during non-pandemic times.)

Who is a Pastoral Care Associate?

  • A warm, caring and accepting person who can respect confidentiality
  • An honest, authentic person who has grown through the challenges and pain of their own life
  • An active, interested, accessible member of First Church who is ready to grow and learn and can accept uncertainty, rejection, and ambiguity

Being a Pastoral Care Associate is as much about growing and becoming this kind of person as it is about being this kind of person. The ongoing training involved in the program is designed to facilitate this development as well as to foster a strong sense of group support among the team of Pastoral Care Associates.

For Whom is Pastoral Care Given?

  • Families with a new baby, foster or adopted child
  • Members facing an important life transition, surgery or chronic illness
  • Those experiencing job loss, divorce, terminal illness, the death of a friend or family member, or another crisis.

Is Training Provided?

Training focused on cultivating a listening presence and helpful approaches to outreach will be provided by PCA Co-Trainers Sarah Richards and Dale Skaggs, both of whom are experienced PCAs themselves. The training is also guided by our Associate Minister, Dena McPhetres. All Pastoral Care Associates must participate in the 20 hour training to be held either online or in person in September and October 2021.

What is the Time Commitment?

Following the training, if interested in proceeding, each Pastoral Care Associate is available for a minimum of two visits per month, unless they are out of town or have reduced capacity due to their own life transitions. PCAs also attend monthly meetings with the other Associates for ongoing support and learning. Pastoral Care Associates serve for three years.

How Does Pastoral Care Happen During A Pandemic?

PCAs reach out to church members via telephone, email, texting and occasionally FaceTime, Skype or Zoom until we can safely meet in person again.

What is the Selection Process?

Complete an application online at the link below by Saturday, May 1, 2021. Selected applicants will be interviewed by Sarah, Dale and Dena during the month of May. Approximately ten people will be selected for the training. All applicants will be informed if they have been selected by the beginning of June.  Toward the end of the training, there will be a “taking stock” discernment to decide whether you still wish to commit to becoming a Pastoral Care Associate.

“Boundaries of Lay Pastoral Care” Video

To learn more about the pastoral care ministry, watch this 40 minute video by Rev. David Pyle. The video will help you discern whether serving as a Pastoral Care Associate at First Church is a good fit for you.  https://vimeo.com/402294106

Learn about Pastoral Care Associates Experiences

Click on each name for a brief YouTube video:

Jeri Pearcy

Laurie Petersen

Sarah Richards

Julie Hamrick

For more information contact:

The Rev. Dena McPhetres

Contact The Rev. Dena McPhetres

Application Form