Pastoral Care at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ” (2 Cor 1:3-5)
Pastoral Care by Clergy
Members of the clergy are available to provide pastoral care in crises and in circumstances of sorrow, loss, grief, loneliness, spiritual struggle, or other situations in which guidance and counsel are sought. Most serious matters can be addressed immediately, in some form. It is best, however, to make an appointment to discuss less urgent situations, so that both you and the priest may prepare prayerfully.
Appointments may be requested by contacting the Rector at the parish office: 410-687-5531 Pastoral care may be requested in the office or in the home, should you not be able to visit the church. A request may be made also for visitation in a health care facility. Please note that due to health privacy laws prohibiting inquiries, you must provide complete information concerning you or your family member’s name, phone number, and location of the facility. If after hours, in an emergency, it is requested that parishioners leave a message on the Pastoral Care Hot Line, Teresa Schutte-Register 410-665-1207.
Clergy have been charged with the responsibility for providing pastoral care, and have been trained for this specialized ministry. While clergy are not usually licensed therapists or social workers, they are trained to recognize when a referral for other services may be required. Pastoral concerns that cannot be addressed in one to three pastoral visits may result in referral to a therapeutic counselor, or other professional.
Some spiritual questions and struggles may indicate a call to more consistent pastoral accompaniment. In these instances, spiritual direction may be recommended. Short-term direction is available.
Pastoral Care in Community
Of course, not only clergy may provide pastoral care. The Book of Common Prayer states that all the members of the church are ministers. Pastoral care at Holy Trinity Essex is accomplished in community. Ten Lay Pastoral Assistants [LPAs] have been equipped for ministry through the Church training Program, and commissioned for deployment as assigned and supervised by the rector. Commissioned LPAs work in partnership with priests, fellow LPAs, with the wider ministries of the parish, and with God’s Beloveds who have invited pastoral care.
We are all, every one of us, commissioned by Christ to care for one another. This is our ministry and our privilege.
Lay Pastoral Assistants: Who, What, How
This specialized ministry meets the current and increasing need for coordinated pastoral care in our adult parish family, in partnership with the clergy.
Lay Pastoral Assistants [LPAs] serve on-call, on a team, once every month. During this week, LPAs pray for and visit parishioners, make phone or email contacts, refer for other supportive care through the Local Church Council, and/or send cards of encouragement, as deployed and supervised by the rector.
Those who participate in this ministry are offered training in preparation to offer care to fellow parishioners in hospitals, skilled nursing facilities, and in homes. The training is mandatory and is followed by a regular meeting, which includes Lay Eucharistic Visitor training and a hospital practicum.
Throughout their ministry, LPAs meet periodically to discuss the business of care, and to obtain continuing education in a variety of forms. All LPAs must engage in regular check-in and debrief and quarterly supervision with supervising clergy.
LPAs worship together during and after training, and commit to the intentional formation of community through prayer and service to one another. Prior to their first on-call experience, new LPAs are covenanted to serve under a Ministry Description (attached to the bottom of this page) that defines their roles, responsibilities, and limitations. LPAs are commissioned during a Sunday Eucharist, and recognized by the assembly as dedicated pastoral care providers.
Holy Trinity Episcopal Church observes a strict discipline of protection of dignities. No pastoral care information is shared with Lay Pastoral Assistants which exceeds the baseline information necessary to provide care. In addition, all LPAs are covenanted to confidentiality and may not share pastoral care information, periods of on-call, with other parishioners, or their own spouses and families.
Holy Days and Days of Special Commemoration are celebrated in The Holy Eucharist, either at 7pm upon the day, or in vigil, 7pm the evening before. See the Happenings page for announcements of such special days and times.
Sacramental Rite of Reconciliation
Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, and other times by appointment with the priest.
Sacramental Rite of Anointing of the Sick
First Sunday of the month, in the chancel following the Rite II, or by request, and at other times by appointment.
Members should call the office during business hours (410-687-5531) 9 to 3PM Monday – Friday or the Pastoral Care Hot Line (Teresa Schutte-Regester) (410-665-1207) to request sacramental care for the sick/infirmed in an area hospital or other health care facility.
LAY PASTORAL CARE IS THE CHURCH RESPONSIBILITY TO LOOK AFTER THE MEMBERS AND THERE FAMILY LOVE ONES ON A MONTHLY BASIS.