Printer-friendly version

Stephen Ministry

In the spring of 1995 four women traveled from South Carolina to St. Louis, Missouri, to study and learn about the Stephen Series. Since that time many men and women at First Presbyterian have been trained and have worked quietly in and among our congregation members. They have offered care and comfort to those who experience “life hurts.”
 

What is Stephen Ministry?
It is a program that equips lay people to give distinctively Christian Care to those who are experiencing all kinds of life hurts or losses. It is an international interdenominational program that includes thousands of congregations of all faiths in North America, South America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. Currently, First Presbyterian has thirty trained Stephen Ministers working in our congregation.

The Stephen Ministry Symbol reminds us that what we offer in Stephen Ministry is love, God’s love. The dominant element of the symbol is the Cross, which stands between the broken and whole person. In Stephen Ministry the cross is an ever present reminder that it is God who is active, transforming broken people into whole people. Our caring is an expression of God’s love made real for all. In other words, Christians are responsible for care; God is responsible for the cure.

What are the qualifications of a Stephen Minister?

Stephen Ministers must take an intensive training course in approved and psychologically recognized counseling techniques. The course covers a variety of situations and takes six months to complete. In addition, all Stephen Ministers must attend, twice a month, supervision sessions which last for about two hours each. These sessions are held to check on the progress of Stephen Ministers in ministering to care Receivers and to update techniques and skills. All Stephen Ministers are approved and formally commissioned by the church under whose auspices they operate. Stephen Ministry training classes are held periodically and announced to the congregation.

REMEMBRANCE SERVICE

On a Sunday evening, in November, Stephen Ministry will again host the annual Remembrance Service. This service is designed to bring comfort to those who are facing the holidays as they continue their journey of grief. It is a quiet service of music, Scripture, candle light, and liturgy. Please join us as we remember our loved ones who have gone before us.

Stephen Ministers care for people inside and outside the congregation, including those experiencing grief, divorce, job loss, terminal illness, loneliness, spiritual crisis, hospitalization, relocation, and other life difficulties.  Men are matched with men, women with women.  Caring relationships last for as long as the person needs this level of care.

In the process, Stephen Ministers participate with their Stephen Leaders in twice-monthly supervision where they receive the guidance and support they need to provide high-quality care.  They also participate regularly in continuing education to enhance their skills and help them keep growing as caregivers.

Do you think that you may benefit from a Stephen Ministry relationship, or would you like to know more about becoming a Stephen Minister?  Contact Ruby Clark or Kyle Hite.  You can also visit www.stephenministries.org for general information.