Within the life of the Church the role of the Pastoral Visitor is one of the most significant. Its importance has several facets, because the visitor is part of the structure of the Church which enables members and adherents to sense that they belong to a Christian community. Hence, part of the responsibility is to be a channel of communication, linking people together and keeping them in touch with what is happening in the life of the Church.
The Pastoral Visitor is also significant in providing pastoral care to one or more individuals (their pastoral group), by demonstrating an interest in their lives and providing support and encouragement at particular times of need. As a member of a wider team, visitors can offer not just their own time, skills and resources, but those of the Church as a body. The visitor also has a role to play in assisting others to grow in their faith and discipleship, through listening to their experiences, discussing concerns and providing encouragement.
With a Church the size of Stokesley Methodist Church, the pastoral care can only be effective if there is a strong sense of teamwork and appropriate support for the work. To enable this to happen Pastoral Visitors are seen as a team. It is expected that the team will meet together every six months to share experiences and information and to support each other. Our Pastoral Secretary, Ruth Watson, is the first line of support for the Pastoral Visitors, the person from whom they can request assistance and to whom they can report any changes in the circumstances of the members of their pastoral group. However, the Minister, Revd. Lisa, is also available to assist visitors.
The Minister and the Pastoral Secretary together form the Church’s Pastoral Committee, which is responsible to the Church Council for the provision of pastoral care within Stokesley Methodist Church. The committee’s role is to organize the members and adherents into pastoral groups and allocate visitors, provide appropriate support and training for all those involved in pastoral care and develop strategies for the work.
The Role of Pastoral Visitors
- To keep in contact with the members of their pastoral group through home visits and telephone conversations, ensuring that their personal details on the church’s data base are kept up-to-date, and informing the Pastoral Secretary of any changes.
- To distribute the annual Methodist Church Membership Tickets to the members in their pastoral group.
- To ensure all members on their Pastoral List who are unable to attend worship regularly receive Church Newsletters and other information.
- To offer support and encouragement to the members and adherents in their pastoral group, particularly in times of special need.
- To supply news about those in their pastoral group for inclusion in the Church Newsletters.
- To advise their Pastoral Secretary or Minister when additional support might be appropriately provided by the Church or the Minister.
- To pass on requests for flowers for members on their Pastoral List to the Church Flower Secretary.
Pastoral Secretary’s Responsibilities
- To convene meetings of the Pastoral Visitors.
- In partnership with the Minister, to produce agendas and arrange for notes of the meetings to be kept, circulating both as appropriate.
- To report regularly to the Church Council on pastoral issues and changes to the Church’s membership and community rolls.
- To oversee the maintenance of the church’s data base of members and adherents and to arrange for an up-to-date A-Z list of those on the Community Roll to be produced once a year.
- To assist the minister in the completion of the annual Methodist Church membership returns.
- Together with the Minister and Pastoral Visitors, to supply church family news for inclusion in the church newsletters.
- To co-ordinate the arrangements for the distribution of Christmas Cards and Gifts to the housebound as agreed by the Pastoral Committee.
- Together with the Door Stewards, to find suitable ways to record the names and addresses of ‘newcomers’ to Stokesley Methodist Church and to explore ways, with the Church Outreach team, in which such people can be invited to specific events in the life of the church.
- To ensure that Welcome Cards are available to give to visitors to Church and newcomers.
- To make arrangements for the distribution of greetings cards to couples getting married at Stokesley Methodist Church and to the same on their 1st wedding anniversary.
- Together with the Minister, to oversee the keeping of a Book of Remembrance for those whose funerals were held at Stokesley Methodist Church or those associated with Stokesley Methodist Church, whose funerals were held elsewhere.
We currently have 17 visitors plus our Minister, Revd. Lisa, who looks after two new members.
We have 119 members and 59 friends and we are hoping that over the coming months, as the Church opens its doors to the wider community, more families and local residents will join us for fellowship and friendship.
If you would like to be a visitor or be visited by one of our Pastoral Visitors, please contact Ruth Watson at Church or via our website.