From time to time we all go through difficult times when we could use a little support and help to get through. Having someone to listen with compassion and offer support can be a difference maker. That’s one reason why Stephen Ministry is at Harrisburg UMC.
Stephen Ministry is a system of caring ministry where members of a congregation are specially trained to provide one-to-one care to people who are facing a difficult or challenging time in their lives. Stephen Ministry St Louis, a non-profit ministry organization headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a trans–denominational ministry that maintains a support network to Stephen Ministry congregations in the US, Canada, and 30 other countries around the world. It is a distinctively Christian caring ministry in which pastors and lay people work together to meet the needs of people within the church and community who are experiencing a wide range of life circumstances.
The team of people who direct Stephen Ministry at Harrisburg UMC are called Stephen Leaders and were trained at a 7-day Leader’s Training Course taught by members of the Stephen Ministry Organization. Our current Stephen Leaders are Pastor Toni Ruth Smith, Pastor Richard Smith, Sandra Bilbro and John Lomonaco.
Lay caregivers, called Stephen Ministers, who have spiritual gifts appropriate for caring ministry are trained by our Stephen Leaders. Stephen Ministers receive 50 hours of training, learning principles and skills that equip them to provide high-quality, Christ-centered emotional and spiritual care to others. Through training, they also gain insight into the thoughts, feelings, and actions of people who are hurting. For whom are Stephen Minister’s trained to provide care? Stephen Ministers care for people experiencing grief, separation or divorce, job related stress or loss, chronic or terminal illness, relocation, unplanned pregnancy, infertility, birth of a child, loneliness, military deployment, spiritual struggles and much more.
Our Stephen Ministers provide one-to-one, Confidential, Christ-centered care to help people, called Care Receivers, through many of life’s issues whether in times of transition or major life crises. Stephen Ministers meet with their Care Receiver on a weekly basis in a private, confidential setting to listen, care, encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support.
The joy that motivates our Stephen Ministers to commit to this ministry is based on serving Christ with their best gifts. Our entire Stephen Ministry team is committed to helping individuals experience the support and concern they need for as long as they need it. Through our commitment to care, it is our prayer that the hurting and vulnerable among us will experience the hope and healing that Jesus Christ offers.
Contact Pastor Toni Ruth should you be interested in receiving a Stephen Minister