I remember hearing a story about a young couple that showed up at a church for the first time. They had recently moved to the area and were church shopping. Walking into the church they quickly noticed that nobody, and I mean nobody, was even close to their age. If you took their parents’ age and added it to their age, you would get in the ballpark of the average age of the congregation. But…five years later they were still there. Why?
After they visited the congregation for the first time, one of them was diagnosed with cancer. Even though they had only been to the congregation that one time, a church member followed up with them.
The afternoon after the first chemo treatment, the couple responded to a knock at the door and they were met with the sight of a casserole sitting on their front door, steaming, and the back of a church member hurrying away. And the casseroles kept coming. For months. Why did they stay? Because the congregation cared about them deeply, and they knew they belonged.
I have only been getting to know Foothills for a short time, but in that time I have witnessed a spirit of love rippling outward. People at Foothills actually want to hear the truth when we ask them “How are you doing?” What a healing balm that is, and how critical it is to that hope we all have to feel like we belong.
Within our congregation, we have dedicated teams that actively partner in our shared ministry of care and belonging:
- Our Parish Visitors care and visit with dozens of people within our community each month who need a listening ear.
- Our Meals Team jumps into action to provide meals during times of stress and need.
- Our Cards Crew helps us reach out and share our concern
- Our Caring Team connects people to rides to church and supports hospitality during memorial services
- Our small groups – each led by a trained and supported facilitator – offer a sense of intimacy, connection, and shared spiritual growth
Our professional ministry team, Rev. Haley and myself, extend this care by offering pastoral care and counseling, end of life support, rites of passage, and alleviate financial burdens for members through the Ministerial Discretionary Fund.
In a church our size, it can sometimes be hard to figure out how to access this care, and you can often wonder if they are meant for you. They are. Dropping by or calling the church office, sending an email to email@example.com or connecting directly with Sean (firstname.lastname@example.org) are the easiest ways to start the conversation. If you think you know a member who might need some support, please let us know in these ways, as well.
This month, our theme moves from covenant to healing. It is our ministry of care where these two themes come together. May our walk together be one where we deeply care for each other, healing ourselves, and our world.