All of us are in need of help at one time or another, and acts of kindness, support and compassion are opportunities for spiritual growth. For these reasons, CVUUS regards maintaining a vibrant lay ministry dedicated to caring for members and friends in need as an important element of congregational life. While the entire congregation is encouraged to participate in acts of caring and support whenever a need is apparent, the active lay ministry in this area rests primarily with the Caring Network and the Pastoral Care Team.
I. The Caring Network
The volunteer leadership of this group meets monthly. It organizes delivery of meals, rides to doctor’s appointments, visits and the performance of simple errands for CVUUS members and active friends who are temporarily in need of such aid. The Network also organizes the mailing of condolence cards and cards of support. Contact information for the Caring Network is published in the monthly newsletter and is also available from the Church Office and the Minister. The group routinely shares information about its ministry with the Minister. The Minister, other staff and members and friends may refer congregants to the Caring Network and suggest the names of congregants who might appreciate support when such situations come to their attention.
The Caring Network generally is not in the position to provide same day (or night) responses to needs though it may, in some instances, be able to help with same day requests. If such needs arise, please contact the Minister and/or the Church Office. Rev. Barnaby’s home phone is 989-7197 and his cell is (973) 919-2448. While members of the Network and the church staff can sometimes anticipate needs and may in those cases offer help before it is requested, it is the responsibility of the person to be served by the Network (or their regular caregiver) to seek help.
II. The Pastoral Care Team
This group does not meet regularly. It consists of a small group of CVUUS members with significant experience in various fields of healthcare and social work. This group provides reliable lay backup for the Minister’s pastoral care work. The Minister shall advise the team of dates when he will be traveling and, in consultation with the team, inform the congregation and the office of which team members will be available if needed in his absence. The Minister, after visiting with a congregant or CVUUS friend, may also refer that person to a pastoral care team member for additional pastoral presence on a temporary basis. Such referrals will not be made without the consent of the person who is to receive this lay assistance. The Pastoral Care Team is not a substitute for private professional counseling support and does not engage in long-term counseling. Unless absolute confidence is requested by a congregant meeting with a Pastoral Care Team member, team members are expected to provide an overview of the results of their CVUUS pastoral work with a congregant to the Minister. The Minister shall treat all such information as confidential.
Congregants and active friends of CVUUS may receive temporary, emergency support from a Pastoral Care Team member at any time that member is on call, as specifically announced in advance in the monthly bulletin or some other church notice. If a congregant is in doubt about who is on call, please attempt to reach the Minister on his cell phone (973 919-2448) or the Congregational Administrator (388-8080).
While these two groups have different missions, their ministry of compassion may overlap in some areas. From time to time, they may see ways to work together on projects serving the congregation and the wider community. Such projects should be developed in consultation with the Minister. For example, CVUUS’s important work in support of ongoing efforts to get all Vermonters to complete an Advance Medical Directive has involved members from both groups.
Both groups shall annually reread the CVUUS Safe Congregations Policy and endeavor to observe its guidelines where the policy is applicable to their tasks.