The First Presbyterian Church has an outreach program, called Stephen Ministry, which is designed to increase the church’s care of individuals who are facing challenges in their lives.
Stephen Ministry is an international program begun in 1975 by Kenneth Haugk, a pastor and clinical psychologist, in order to multiply the caregiving in his St. Louis, Missouri, congregation. Now, more than 10,000 congregations in more than 150 denominations around the world have adopted the program.
First Presbyterian members are: Virginia Ingersoll, Gay Adams, Brian Connelly and Paul Connelly.
Stephen Ministry is designed to augment pastoral care and the work of the church’s deacons. The pastor will always be the primary caregiver at First Presbyterian, but the Stephen Ministry enables the church’s caring ministry to multiply and strengthen throughout the congregation. The Stephen Ministers provide a weekly, confidential, and personal Christian caring relationship for those who may be experiencing challenges in their lives. This includes those who are hospitalized, facing terminal illness, moving in or out of the community, grieving a death or loss, homebound, in job crisis, facing life transitions, separated or divorced, experiencing birth or adoption, in spiritual crisis, aging and elderly, disabled and their families, as well as those who just need the ongoing support of an objective but caring Christian.
Although Stephen Ministers have studied specific situations, like dealing with grief and divorce, Stephen Ministers are not counselors. Their role is to support, listen, and care, not to give advice or counsel. Stephen Ministers are trained to recognize when a care receiver’s need exceeds what they can provide. When that happens, they work with the care receiver to obtain the kind of help that is needed.
For more information about Stephen Ministry, contact Pastor Paul Spangler, 217-762-7861.