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Pastoral Care

"The Bible does not explicitly define the role of a Pastor, but does associate ‘pastoring’ with teaching and involves shepherding/caring for the flock [. . . ] Shepherding involves protection, tending to or caring for needs, strengthening the weak, encouragement, feeding the flock, making provision, shielding, refreshing, restoring, leading by example to move people on in their pursuit of holiness, comforting, guiding" (1).

Clergy are available to provide pastoral care in crises and in chronic situations of sorrow, loss, grief, loneliness, spiritual struggle, or other situations in which guidance and counsel are sought. Most serious matters can be addressed immediately, in some form; however, it is best to make an appointment to discuss less urgent situations, so that both you and your priest may prepare prayerfully. 

Appointments may be requested by calling the church office. Pastoral care may be requested in the office, or in the home, should you or your family member be unable to come to the church. A request can be made for visitation in a health care facility. Due to health care privacy regulations prohibiting inquiries, you must provide complete information concerning you or your family member's name, and name, phone number, and location of the facility. 

If after hours, in an emergency, it is requested that a message be left on the Pastoral Care Line, 832-314-4381. This number is consistently monitored. 

Of course, not only clergy may offer pastoral care. The Book of Common Prayer states that the ministers of the church are all the members. However, clergy have been charged with this responsibility and have been trained for a specialized ministry of care. Clergy are not usually licensed therapists or social workers, but are also trained to recognize when a referral for other services may be required. Pastoral concerns that cannot be addressed in one to three visits may result in referral to a professional [pastoral] counselor.

Some spiritual questions and struggles may indicate a call to more consistent pastoral companionship. In these instances, a short term relationship (2-6 months) of spiritual direction may be discerned as recommendable. Such direction is available. Referrals for longer term direction are also available. 

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ" (2 Cor 1:3-5). 

(1) of Pastoral Care