For information about Deacons Ministries of Care, please click here.
I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. John 10:10
The Pastoral Care Committee works within the framework of the ministry of Jesus Christ to provide confidential care to those facing life's spiritual, emotional, and physical challenges.
Using church and community resources,
the committee responds to real-life needs through
lay-led care teams supported by pastoral and professional staff.
Care Team Ministry
Contacting a Pastor
Privacy laws make it more difficult for congregations to inquire of some hospitals regarding members who are patients. Fourth Church pastors want to be available to members and their loved ones at such times.
To notify the church of hospitalizations, please contact Judy Watt, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care at 312.573.3360.
If there is an emergency need of a pastor during the night that cannot wait until 8:00 a.m. the next morning, please call 312.450.4045.
Care Team Ministry
The Care Team Ministry at Fourth Church is a lay ministry that provides practical, emotional, and spiritual support to persons and/or families with healthcare concerns or other life-challenging situations. Care teams are composed of members of the congregation and community at large who volunteer to provide help to a person or family in crisis at the request of that person. Acting as a team, care team participants contribute their time and talent in a coordinated effort to meet the needs of the care receiver or ‘friend’. The care friend determines the kinds of help they believe they need and are willing to accept. The duration of a care team depends on the need or needs of the care friend and may be of a short, intermittent, or long term nature. There are opportunities for care team participation that require minimal work and commitment as well as opportunities that require a more involved and long term commitment. Regardless of the level of participation, this is a ministry that enriches everyone involved and deepens our understanding of the gospel’s message of love and caring for each other.
What Is a Care Team?
A care team is a group of volunteer lay ministers who provide help to a person or family in crisis at the request of that person. Acting as a team, care team participants contribute their time and talent in a coordinated effort to meet the needs of the care receiver or ‘friend.’
A care team may be composed solely of Fourth Church members or may also include persons from the community at large.
What Does a Care Team Do?
Care teams minister in many different ways to either individuals or families. Care team members cook and deliver meals to the sick and to needy families. They visit and provide companionship to those who were ill and help them with needed tasks. They provide transportation for persons entering or returning from a hospital stay or doctor’s visit, ferry children to appointments and babysit for families in crisis.
The duties of a care team are determined by and limited to the kinds of help the care receiver (known as a ‘care friend’) needs and is willing to accept as well as what tasks individual care team members are comfortable with and volunteer to do.
A care team member may not provide:
Financial assistance -
Team members are prohibited from providing financial assistance to their care team friend.
Pastoral or Spiritual counseling -
The need for spiritual counseling should be referred to a minister.
Assistance with medications -
Members may not assist the care team friend with medications.
Types of Care Teams
There are three basic care team models. A team can be a combination of these types.
Focuses on one person or family and addresses a variety of needs. For example, a person with a long term illness needs assistance with meal preparation, transportation to the doctor and would welcome social visits.
Focuses on the common need of several persons. For example, a mission care team is composed of persons who provide transportation to elderly members of the congregation.
Focuses on one place and addresses a variety of needs. For example, a care team adopts a room in a local hospital and provides assistance to the current occupant of the room.
Duration of a Care Team
The duration of a care team depends on the need or needs of the care team friend and may be of a short term or intermittent nature (for example, a casserole care team) or long term (for example, a terminally ill person). There are opportunities for care team participation that require minimal work and commitment as well as those that require a more involved and long term commitment.
Basic Requirements for Each Team Include:
Participation in an initial orientation and training event.
Monthly team meetings, during which assignments are made for the following month and there is discussion of the team’s work during the past month.
Appointing a team leader who will coordinate the team’s activities. The team has the option of appointing a new leader monthly, less often, or having a permanent leader.
Attending any educational offerings recommended by the lay leadership team.
Reporting to the team coach on their progress and any issues that arise.
Team members are expected to perform agreed-upon tasks and report to the team leader.
Benefits of a Care Team
In a care team, the work of the team is organized and shared, and when work is shared, good things can happen. Some beneficial outcomes of care team participation include the following:
The needs of the care team friend are met with minimal work by any one member of the team.
People offer only what assistance they can physically and emotionally afford.
The team has the option of sharing leadership among the members from month to month and leadership skills may be developed.
Care team members and the care team friend get to know each other on a deeper level. Friendships are made within the group.
If a member needs to drop out of the team, he or she leaves knowing there are others who will take over the tasks.
An overwhelming response by people who have participated in a care team is one of gratitude for having been able to practice their faith
on such a basic level, having personally been able to help another soul in need.
Supporting the Team
Each team will be assigned a coach to act as an intermediary between the lay leadership team and the individual care teams. The coach assists the teams in obtaining additional training when the need arises, obtains necessary resource information, and will help resolve issues that arise.
Contacting a Pastor
Theologian Penelope Washbourn sets the scene for exactly those times when pastors like to hear from members.
“My conviction is that religious questions and reflections about the meaning of what is holy or ultimate arise at times of crisis in the life of the individual and of the community. These crises may be historical or personal events, but because of them we are forced to respond to a new situation. The question of the meaning of our identity and our attitude toward life is challenged. A crisis is a time of change, anxiety and possibility. Something new happens, and we summon resources from the past, as well as discover new strengths, to deal with the implications of our changed situation.”
Ministers are committed and trained to being with persons in times of challenge. The clergy staff at Fourth Church would like to hear from members when life changes occur and to help in bringing the faith of the community of the church to bear on making sense of these changes and finding a way forward. Members are welcome to let us know of both joys and concerns. This is part of knitting ourselves together as the household of God and offering Christian care.
If you are in need of or are interested in learning more about Pastoral Care at Fourth Presbyterian Church, please contact Judy Watt, Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care at 312.573.3360.