Charles St Newark
Pastoral Care at Charles Street, Newark
Know and Grow Questionnaire
Questionnaires were sent out to all those connected with the church.
One section asked about perceptions of pastoral care.
At this time the church was running the traditional system with names carers responsible for a 'list' of an average of 8 people.
Soon after the questionnaire results were known the existing pastoral carers were invited to the annual pastoral meeting.
At this we discussed the main strengths and weaknesses of the current system.
The conclusions at this stage were that we needed:
- More carers
- Better matching of carers/'carees'
- More contact between carers/'carees'
- More opportunity for more people getting to know others better.
New Pastoral Scheme
Pastoral Secretaries now devised a system based on existing groups within the church and presented their findings to the Leadership Team. Everyone in the church had been arranged in 'circles' representing groups within the church. Some people were included in two or more circles. The circle format was chosen to emphasise the importance of mutual care within the group.
These groups were as follows:
- House groups
- Wives and Friends
- Friendship/common interest
There seemed to be many advantages to this system. It would
- Formalise what already happened
- Provide mutual caring
- Encourage everyone to be involved
- Spread the load
- Give potential choice
- Produce greater contact
- Avoid gap left by carer 'standing down'
- Allow us to change unsatisfactory links
- Provide automatic 'backup' for carers when need arose
- Strengthen existing bonds and build new ones
- Groups could and would overlap
Some possible difficulties were foreseen:
- If system mainly house group based some might feel left out
- Old system provided opportunity for an 'extra layer' of caring
Once anxieties had been aired we felt able to present our plan to the Church Council and it was agreed that we form a working party to look at the scheme in greater detail.
The working party looked at these groupings in some detail and we were able to report to the Church AGM (a year after the process first began) that we were ready to go ahead. The 'circles' were then shown to the existing carers who were very supportive.
Pastoral leaflet prepared. Each leaflet :
- Listed relevant church personnel
- Gave suggestions for ways of caring
- Listed members of one pastoral group
- Sunday morning service:
- Sermon on pastoral care/outline of system
- Individually addressed letters/leaflets given out.
Pastoral Link People
Each group was asked to nominate a least two people. These would ensure that care was effective in their group and provide a point of contact for the Pastoral Secretaries/Minister/Lay Worker. They were not to feel solely responsible for the care as this would negate the whole purpose of the system.
This would ensure that newcomers to the church were welcomed appropriately and integrated into the 'circles' at a suitable time. An enquiry leaflet and welcome pack were available.
The scheme is now running well. There was some initial confusion when people received more than one leaflet but this has been ironed out.
These are the answers to questions asked at the latest meeting of the Link People:
1. What is your group doing to foster pastoral care?
- Group prayer chain
- Group meeitng itself
- Teas, meals, etc.
- Social evening
- Outings e.g. ten-pin bowling
- Phone calls, cards, etc.
2. What have you thought of doing in the future?
- Plan for term/year
- Send out letter listing these
- Social events (ideal for inviting newcomers)
- Joint groups' evening
- Going on Church Away Weekend
3. If a member of your group became less involved, what steps might you take?
- Visit, phone, send email/card
- Invite for coffee
- Invite to group/church event
- Take church newsletter/tape of service
- If appropriate suggest try other groups - circumstances/groups change
- Be sensitive - tell them we're here, then leave.
4. How could your group help to welcome/include a newcomer to the church?
- Someone could come to church via the group
- Be aware of newcomers/get to know their needs/preferences
- Introduce them to others who might share their interests.
Enquiries to: Carole Tweedale, 5 Goodwin Close, Newark, Notts