Pastoral Care Team
The Congregational Care Committee has three main areas of responsibility: to support and assist the minister with the pastoral care of the congregation; to oversee the maintenance and accuracy of St. Peter’s records regarding members, adherents, weddings, baptisms and funerals; and to assist with policies related to congregational care. We meet these responsibilities through six subcommittees - Visitation; Loaves and Fishes; Transportation; Accessibility; Affirm United; Rolls and Records –and, through the part time work of the Congregational Care Coordinator, Charles Bolduc.
A part time Congregational Care Coordinator - Charles Bolduc - was appointed at St. Peter’s in September of 2014. His position includes supporting our minister to provide pastoral care and support to the congregation; taking an active leadership role with sub committees; representing the minister where appropriate, and implementing special projects, such as the Connect Program and the development of Community Information Kits (including information for seniors for community transportation and meal services).
The Connect Program
A major undertaking was launched in 2015 to research, develop and implement a new model of care to the congregation through the Connect Program.
The program’s goal is to help all of our members keep connected to St. Peter’s and, in some instances, to reconnect with those who have taken a sabbatical. It involves clustering our congregants into small groups of no more than ten households and assigning them to a “cluster leader.” The intent is that the “cluster leader” will keep in contact with their cluster and notify the minister or congregational care coordinator of any special needs which may occur, e.g., pastoral care during illness, bereavement, or to celebrate new births and other happy occasions experienced in the family. There are currently 18 “cluster leaders” and 95 households participating in the program. The Steering Committee is recruiting more cluster leaders and encourages all congregants to participate.
The Visitation Subcommittee works closely with the minister and congregational care coordinator to keep in touch with the shut-ins of our congregation. We visit each shut-in at least twice a year and we keep in touch by telephone as much as possible. There are presently thirty-one shut-ins which includes 6 couples; one in a Nursing Home, seven in Retirement Homes and twenty-three at home. We also keep a list of the bereaved and carry out some hospital visiting. This past year we sent twenty-seven birthday cards to our over 85 folks; thirteen of those are over the age of 90.
The visitation subcommittee is especially focussed on ensuring that those who are shut-in have regular contact with St. Peter’s. In 2015, there were 194 contacts of shut-ins made by members of the subcommittee. This included face-to-face visits at homes, long-term care facilities, the hospital, rehabilitation centres, as well as emails and telephone calls. In December several visits include bringing Christmas Communion to those who are unable to get to church.
Our committee and the UCW also work together to prepare and deliver Christmas baskets. Our shut-ins are delighted to be remembered and to have such wonderful treats from their friends at St. Peter's.
Visits and telephone calls help to make everyone feel connected to the congregation and all that is happening at St. Peter's. For those visiting, it is a very rewarding commitment. To complement visitation, we also make sure that cards of congratulations, condolence, and concern are sent. A card can brighten up someone's day and we are always glad to know about a person for whom a card arriving in the mail box may be appreciated.
Loaves and Fishes Club Program
The Loaves & Fishes Program took a new direction to ensure food items are available as needed. Congregants have been invited to prepare food items (at their convenience) and bring them in to the office. Each item is labelled (indicating all ingredients), dated and kept in the kitchen freezer. In this way, we are able to quickly respond to an emerging need despite everyone’s busy schedules. We have a well-stocked freezer with soups, chili, loaves, pies, cookies and individual portions of quiche. In 2015, 22 recorded deliveries were made.
Transportation is provided to people who are not able to get to church services and special church events on their own. St Peter’s tries to link driver to rider but we are always looking for volunteer drivers. There are others in the congregation who make their own arrangements with St. Peter’s friends and neighbours and we are grateful for these informal expressions of neighbourly care. The congregational care coordinator looks after transportation on an as needed basis and is always looking for volunteers.
The next AODA standard, Integrated Accessibility Standard Regulation (includes information, communication, and employment) is in development. An Accessibility Brochure prepared by the subcommittee using materials from Maple Grove United Church in Oakville is included in the Accessibility section of the website.
Affirm United Subcommittee
This committee reports to our church council through the congregational care committee. Its activities are outlined in the Affirming Ministry section.