Pastoral Care

“Who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
2 Corinthians 1:4 ESV

As I thought about this article and what I would write, I also thought about the busyness of life. Over the time of my ordination, I have done pastoral care as needed.

We think about our churches declining and yet if we think about it, there are a lot of people who helped keep our churches viable who are now shut-ins, for a variety of reasons. They are no longer attending services. For me, this makes Pastoral Care one of our most important ministries.

It is so easy to forget about someone who has not been present for a while.

It is not just about taking communion to them although that is important. It is about spending time, listening to the story of their lives as it is for them now. Repeatedly I am told that after we have spent time together, people feel different, they have a new lease on life. Someone has made them feel important.

We all need Pastoral Care at some point in our lives. For the one who is visiting people, it is important that they also are cared for. One of the ways that we can do that is to work with a Spiritual Director on a regular basis. In the same way that it is important to spend time with people who are shut-in and to hear their stories, it is important for the one visiting to have the same opportunity to unburden themselves with the challenges that we are sometimes given.

Their story is heard in a non-judgemental and confidential conversation. This gives us the fuel we need to continue our ministries whatever they may be.

Sometimes it is about being present to the stranger and hearing their story. One Sunday, as we moved to the back of the church, I noticed a fellow sitting by himself and having a conversation with himself. I went and sat beside him introducing myself. He started telling the story again which didn’t make sense to me, but I just listened. When he was finished, he thanked me and left. I never saw him again.

This too is a form of Pastoral Care. It is being present to the other. On another occasion there was a fellow obviously off the street. Introducing myself to him he shared how long it had been since he had been in church and how he was impacted by the service. I have not seen him since. It doesn’t matter, he was recognized as important.

In Matthew 25:35-40, it says:
‘For I was hungry, and you gave me food, I was thirsty, and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked, and you clothed me, I was sick, and you visited me, I was in prison, and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?
The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’


  • Patricia Simons

    The Rev Patricia Simons is a deacon serving the people of St. Saviour’s Penticton.

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