Years ago, I was taking part in a communion service with other Covenant pastors. A good friend of mine was there, sitting next to me. After our superintendent prayed over the elements, the bread and the cup were passed around the circle as we served one another. I will never forget what my friend said to me as he handed me the bread. With some emotion in his voice, he said, “Thank you for being Jesus to me.”
Friends, all I did was listen to him. And I can speak from experience on these things from the other side, too. I have had other people be Jesus to me, as well—people who cared for me and still do. This is what we are called to do with one another and with our neighbors.
In our mission statement, we announce to others and to one another that we strive to be a community of people who know God, follow Jesus, and pursue God’s purposes in the world. Furthermore, when we consider our ECC Touchstone of Presence, we are reminded that in and through us, God is present to others. This is true of our neighbors outside of our walls as well as our sisters and brothers within our walls. To say that we are present to one another is to say, not only that we are sent into the world, but that we are given to one another, as well. We are called to care for one another, to bear one another’s burdens, and to walk with one another through life’s challenges and heartache.
For many years, we’ve had the blessing of Stephen Ministers to walk with us in our pain, grief, and loss. In November, however, we sensed God leading us to lay that ministry down. This was a decision that was prayerfully reached by Stephen Ministry leaders and pastors. However, even in the loss of Stephen Ministry, we sensed God moving in a fresh way for a new type of ministry aimed at continuing to provide congregational care in partnership with our staff and pastors.
Several of us have been praying and having conversations about the possibilities of birthing just such a ministry of congregational care in the not-too-distant-future. And now, we’d like for you to have a place to offer input and to hear of some ideas we are considering. Our hope is to create a team of people who are gifted and called to join us as we seek to live out the kingdom of God at ECC by practicing presence with one another through collaborative care. This initial conversation will take place on Wednesday, February 23, from 7:00-8:30pm, at ECC.
Whether you are a trained Stephen Minister, a former deacon, or simply someone who is passionate about caring for others in spiritual and practical ways, we hope you’ll plan to join us for the conversation on February 23. Please mark your calendar and be in prayer. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me, Pastor Kurt, or Pastor Kristin.