Since we said farewell to Peter & Alison Wintgens in the summer, I and Colin Wimsett (our Southwark Pastoral Minister) have been giving some thought to the way we continue to show care for members of our church and community. And there are encouraging signs.
Before the summer, at least thirty church members gathered to hear more about the importance of continuing to offer a range of pastoral care to people in the parish and the congregation. Nearly twenty of those offered their services to develop and maintain that work. Fortunately, Peter and Alison did a great job of handing over some key roles to others before they left.
We’ve now begun to meet and prepare some of those volunteers to assist. Six people gathered in October for some pastoral care induction and we hope to have another such event to help other volunteers understand what it is we mean when we talk about pastoral care. We are now meeting with those six to find roles for them to play and are in the process of obtaining the necessary safeguarding clearances for them to participate independently. Happily, they and others are bringing their ideas to the table as well, so we are very hopeful that our pastoral care won’t be just about filling gaps left by departing ministers, but also creating new opportunities. For example, the opening of the new Battersea Place in Albert Bridge Road, offers us a chance to offer support to those on the nursing side of that mixed-role residential complex.
It’s going to take some time to get this all established, but Colin and I are also aware that among those who have already volunteered, there are already those who are in roles where they can (and often do) offer care and support to people. So we would like to ask for your patience while we get this all going and for your active looking out for opportunities to care for others and to support people in particular need or going through a difficult time.
And we would of course welcome more people speaking to us and offering your help. We have lost two wonderful ministers in Peter and Alison. But we are excited that this sad departure is also proving a catalyst for others to begin to feel that they can offer something to show the love of Jesus Christ to their neighbour.
Watch this space…