Salisbury Methodist Church
Pastoral Care at Salisbury Methodist Church
Within the life of the Church the role of the Pastoral Visitor is one of the most significant. Its importance has several facets, because the visitor is part of the structure of the Church which enables members and adherents to sense that they belong to a Christian community. Hence, part of the responsibility is to be a channel of communication, linking people together and keeping them in touch with what is happening in the life of the Church. The visitor is also significant in providing pastoral care to one or more individuals (their pastoral group), by demonstrating an interest in their lives and providing support and encouragement at particular times of need. As a member of a wider team, visitors can offer not just their own time, skills and resources, but those of the Church as a body. The visitor also has a role to play in assisting others to grow in their faith and discipleship, through listening to their experience, discussing concerns and providing encouragement.
With a Church the size of SMc, the pastoral care can only be effective if there is a strong sense of teamwork and appropriate support for the work. To enable this to happen Pastoral Visitors are grouped together in teams, each with a Group Leader. It is expected that each team will meet together every six months to share experiences and information and to support each other. The Group Leader is the first line of support for the visitors, the one from whom they should request assistance and to whom they should report any changes in the circumstances of the members of their pastoral group. However, the Back-Up Team, Pastoral Secretary and Minister are also available to assist visitors.
The Pastoral Group Leaders, Pastoral Secretary and the Minister together form the Church's Pastoral Committee, which is responsible to the Church Council for the provision of pastoral care within SMc. The committee's role is to organize the members and adherents into pastoral groups and allocate visitors, provide appropriate support and training for all those involved in pastoral care and develop strategies for the work. All the Pastoral Visitors and Group Leaders should meet together with the Minister and Pastoral Secretary twice a year.
The Role of Pastoral Visitors
- To keep in contact with the members of their pastoral group through home visits and telephone conversations, ensuring that their personal details on the church's data base are kept up-to-date, and informing the Pastoral Group Leader or Pastoral Secretary of any changes.
- To distribute the annual Methodist Church Membership Tickets to the members in their pastoral group.
- To distribute Church Newsletters, Pastoral Letters (Harvest, Christmas and Easter), Christmas gifts and other information to those in their group unable to attend worship regularly.
- To offer support and encouragement to the members and adherents in their pastoral group, particularly in times of special need.
- To supply their Pastoral Group Leader with news about those in their pastoral group for inclusion in the Church Newsletters.
- To advise their Pastoral Group Leader, Pastoral Secretary or Minister when additional support might be appropriately provided by the Back-Up Team or the Minister.
Pastoral Group Leaders' Responsibilities
- To oversee the pastoral care of a specified group of members and adherents through a team of Pastoral Visitors, co-ordinating and supporting the team through six monthly meetings.
- To act as the Pastoral Visitor for the visitors in their team.
- To be a member of the Pastoral Committee and assist the Minister and Pastoral Secretary in co-ordinating and developing the Church's Pastoral Care programme.
- To act as a channel for communication from the members and adherents, through the Pastoral Visitors, to the Minister and Pastoral Secretary and visa versa. In particular to keep the Minister and Pastoral Secretary informed of any crisis as it occurs.
- To encourage the distribution of the monthly church newsletters, Pastoral Letters (Harvest, Christmas and Easter), Christmas gifts and other information to housebound members and infrequent attenders through the Pastoral Visitors.
- To supervise the distribution of the annual church membership tickets through the team of Pastoral Visitors.
- To report to the Pastoral Secretary any changes in personal circumstances of the members and adherents in the Pastoral Group by the 15th of each month so that 'family news' may be included in the monthly church newsletter and the database kept up-to-date.
Back Up Team Responsibilities
- To provide additional help to the Minister and Pastoral Visitors in times of crisis i.e. short-term support.
- To provide additional help to the Minister and Pastoral Visitors when long-term support is needed i.e. to people in residential homes and those suffering long-term illness and loss of mobility.
Pastoral Secretary's Responsibilities
- To convene meetings of the Pastoral Committee and the Pastoral Visitors.
- In partnership with the Minister, to produce agendas and arrange for notes of the meetings to be kept, circulating both as appropriate.
- To assist the Minister with the co-ordination of the Back-up Team.
- To report regularly to the Church Council on pastoral issues and changes to the church's membership and community rolls, encouraging the council to develop good pastoral care programmes for the life of the church.
- To oversee the maintenance of the church's data base of members and adherents and to arrange for an up-to-date A-Z list of those on the Community Roll to be produced once a year.
- To assist the minister in the completion of the annual Methodist Church membership returns.
- To liaise with the Mini Bus Co-ordinator on requests for transport to Sunday services.
- Together with the Minister, Pastoral Visitors and Group Leaders, to supply church family news for inclusion in the monthly church newsletters.
- To oversee the production and distribution of the Harvest, Christmas and Easter pastoral letters for those unable to get to church so as to enable them to know what is happening and to feel part of the Church family.
- To co-ordinate the arrangements for the distribution of Christmas Cards and Gifts to the housebound as agreed by the Pastoral Committee.
- Together with the Door Stewards, to find suitable ways to record the names and addresses of 'newcomers' to SMc and to explore with the Church Life Forum ways in which such people can be invited to specific events in the life of the church.
- To supply the 'Welcomers' on a Sunday morning with appropriate self-adhesive badges that can be offered to those visiting SMc.
- To make arrangements for the distribution of greetings cards to:
• those who are unwell, have suffered a bereavement, or are going through a difficult time.
• those who have had a baby (the Baptismal Roll Secretary sends birthday cards).
• couples getting married at SMc and to the same on their 1st wedding anniversary.
- To assist the minister in the organisation of an annual Service of Remembrance for the families of those who have died during the previous year.
- To oversee the arrangements for the distribution of recordings of the Sunday morning services for members who are housebound.