Pastoral Care and Stephen Ministries

Clergy Visitation

Our parish priests are available for prayer and pastoral care for all sorts of situations. People who are experiencing a crisis, have been admitted to the hospital, or just need some Christian council and direction, are always welcome to call or email and make arrangements to visit with a priest.

What Is Stephen Ministry and How it Works

Stephen Ministry is the one-to-one lay caring ministry that takes place in congregations that use the Stephen Series system. Stephen Ministry congregations equip and empower lay caregivers—called Stephen Ministers—to provide high-quality, confidential, Christ-centered care to people who are hurting.

The best way to understand how Stephen Ministry works is to learn about three groups of people involved in this ministry: Stephen Leaders, Stephen Ministers, and care receivers.

Stephen Leaders

Stephen Leaders establish and direct Stephen Ministry in a congregation. They—build awareness of Stephen Ministry within the congregation and community recruit and train Stephen Ministers meet with potential care receivers to assess their needs match care receivers with Stephen Ministers provide Stephen Ministers with ongoing supervision and continuing education

People learn to serve as Stephen Leaders by attending a Leader’s Training Course—a one-week conference that introduces the resources used to lead Stephen Ministry, develops key skills, and gets people excited about this caring ministry. Most congregations begin with two to four Stephen Leaders, typically including a pastor, possibly another church staff person, and one or more lay leaders.

St. Michael’s Stephen Leaders are The Reverend Judi Sato, Ms. MaryDee Weigel, and Ms Lee Rasi.

Stephen Ministers

Stephen Ministers are congregation members trained by Stephen Leaders to offer high-quality, one-to-one Christian care to people going through tough times. A Stephen Minister usually provides care to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour. Twice a month, Stephen Ministers gather with their Stephen Leaders for supervision and continuing education.

Care Receivers

Care receivers are people—congregation members and others in the community—who receive care from a Stephen Minister. These are people struggling through a difficult time in life—experiencing grief, divorce, job loss, chronic or terminal illness, or some other life crisis.

Some important guidelines for this caring relationship protect both the care receiver and the Stephen Minister:

  1. The relationship between a care receiver and a Stephen Minister is confidential.

  2. Men are matched with men; women with women.

When a care receiver’s needs exceed what a Stephen Minister can provide, the Stephen Ministry team makes a referral to an appropriate mental health professional or other community resource.

Blessings of the Stephen Ministry

Stephen Ministry multiplies blessings throughout the church and community. Congregations receive a practical and powerful way to respond to Christ’s commandment: “Love one another as I have loved you” (John 15:12 RSV).

Pastors have a team of gifted, trained, and committed lay caregivers ready to minister to hurting people. Laypeople nurture and use their gifts in meaningful ministry, growing spiritually as they serve others. People who are hurting have a compassionate companion—a caring Christian friend who provides emotional and spiritual support.