Promoting Pastoral Care

by MARY MCKENNA Convener of Council

Caring for each other is a key aspect of our beloved community and this is especially important during this time when we are without a minister. It may be unclear who to speak to, in the absence of a minister, if you wish to have a quiet chat about something personal, have a concern about someone housebound, or wonder who to contact if you wish to arrange a wedding or a funeral service.

We now have formed a network of people, eight of us in all, who will be attentive to the pastoral care needs of our community. Knowing that different people need different things at different times, we understand the need to have a range of ways of reaching out, supporting people and keeping them in touch with St Mark’s.

One of the most successful initiatives currently running is the Bereavement Support Group. This group meets monthly, and offers a safe space for those experiencing grief and loss to come together and share their experiences and gain support and comfort from each other. This is an open group. Please contact Jane Aaronson if you wish to find out more about the Bereavement Support Group ja@ednet.co.uk

We hope this initiative and others will continue following the appointment of a minister. While any new minister will have an important contribution to pastoral care, we hope this network will complement the role of a minister and enhance the ways we can support each other.
We are able to respond to requests for services as Joan Cook is our Lay Celebrant & Lay Preacher, and is trained and licensed to conduct marriages, funerals and naming ceremonies. Joan can be contacted at her e-mail address below. Joan is also able to contact ministers, if she is unable to fulfil requests to undertake services herself. Joan currently responds to any requests from our website when people contact the Minister. Anyone seeking advice about a service or spiritual guidance can contact Joan via minister@edinburgh-unitarians.org.uk

In addition we will prepare slips for the pews to enable anyone attending a service at St Mark’s to make a request for pastoral care, or let us know about anyone who they think may appreciate some support. These can be posted anonymously in a box in the vestry or handed to Joan, Jane or myself.

We appreciate the importance of confidentiality in our duty of pastoral care and we are therefore not publishing the details of this network, rather we have identified three members who are willing to be the initial contact point for pastoral care and will co-ordinate our response to any requests. Contact details for any pastoral care requests or concerns will be included on in all future copies of Waymark on page 2. Joan, Jane and I can be contacted as outlined below:

Joan Cook
joancook@hotmail.co.uk and minister@edinburgh-unitarians.org.uk
Jane Aaronson
ja@ednet.co.uk
Mary McKenna
mckscotland@gmail.com