Union Church has recently enrolled in the Stephen Series and Stephen Ministry training program (www.stephenministries.org). In the book of Acts, Stephen was chosen to provide caring ministry to those in need. Since the time of the Apostles, caring ministry has been considered a hallmark of the Christian faith community.
The Stephen Series system trains and organizes laypeople to do this kind of caring ministry. Rev. Kent and 3 congregation members will be attending an intensive seven-day Leader’s Training Course in St. Louis in April 23-29, and will then return to train some of our members to be Stephen Ministers. Those training for Stephen Ministry will learn skills and develop their talents for bringing Christ’s healing love to people who are grieving, hurting, or experiencing other stresses in life.
The Nurture and Care Board is currently looking for 3 members interested in this Leadership Training and who will serve as our Stephen Leadership Team with the pastors. Full funding for the training in St. Louis has been provided by a loving gift from the Les Pross Memorial Fund, and from the Lay Leadership Fund that was made possible by the legacy gift of Dean Warren Lambert. Their loving gifts are making it possible to train our leadership team and we are grateful to God for those bequests.
Stephen Leaders need to have a heart for teaching and loving administration so we can create a program of caring for all our members. Their responsibilities include helping recruit members of the congregation interested in being trained as a lay visitor, helping connect those volunteers to those in need of spiritual care and companionship, and nurturing the community of care-givers (our “Stephen Ministers”) with periodic support, materials, and skill building. Because of the intensive training, we are hoping for a team that can commit to a 2-3 year term as we launch this new ministry.
More than 12,000 congregations have an active Stephen Ministry, some for more than 30 years. We are prayerful that it will benefit our members with deeper connections to service and community.
If you are interested in being one of the three Stephen Leaders please contact Rev. Kent with your interest and questions (firstname.lastname@example.org, or 859-986-3725). Mary Lou Wiese from the Nurture and Care Board can also assist those who may wish to know more.