Someone to Show up Regularly and Listen!
By Susan Curra
When we consider end of life issues, there are bound to be things we’d like to talk about with someone. Topics such as our fears, doubts, and spiritual issues can be difficult to discuss even with our closest friends or family. So, often we just don’t do it. In the final lecture, August 17, of our six-week series dealing with end of life issues and preparedness, the focus is on who to turn to for counseling and follow-up support.
“End of Life Series”
Mon, Aug 17, 4-6pm
St. Paul’s Church
I am with Community Church in SMA and will talk about a very important “Listening Ministry” called Stephen Ministers. Dorie Beach, MSW, will talk about bereavement counseling and follow-up support. In our final column next week, Dorie will delve more deeply into the subject of dying and how to support both the patient and his/her caregivers on this journey.
For many of us, we may seek out a clergy person to listen, and that would be a great choice. However, clergy members are busy ministering to many congregants and usually cannot meet with people on a regular basic. Rev. Stephen Hauck, a minister and clinical psychologist, recognized this problem and realized that ministers and congregants could be well served by caring, qualified lay people who were trained to “listen,” and had the time to do so. In 1975, he started a program called Stephen Ministry. There are now more than 12,000 congregations (of all denominations) enrolled in the Stephen Ministry program, with 69,000 trained Stephen Leaders who have trained more than 600,000 congregation members to become Stephen Ministers.
At the Community Church of SMA, we have a Stephen Leader and seven Stephen Ministers who have completed 50 hours of training. Our mission is to visit whomever wants to receive a Stephen Minister. We show up on a regular basis and listen to whatever the person receiving care wants to talk about. We are not counselors or psychologists, we are not ministers, and we are not just friends. We don’t judge, suggest, lead, preach, or comment! We are caring people who show up on a regular basis to listen, and may pray with someone if that’s what they want. All conversations are held in the strictest confidence. We visit people who may be experiencing a life trauma, a serious illness, or loneliness, or are going through a grieving process, as well as people who are doing well but just want someone to visit regularly and listen.
The EOLP series is open to the public; a recommended donation of 50 pesos per person per lecture is appreciated. These funds will be used to serve this population through a discretionary fund managed by Bishop William Gregg, Rector of St. Paul’s. For more information, call St. Paul’s at 415 152 0387. For more information on Stephen Ministry, call Susan at 415 185 2007.