When seven members of Mountain View Community Church are commissioned as Stephen ministers on Jan. 8, they will join five other Mountain View members trained to provide one-on-one confidential, Christian care and support to people facing illness, sadness, change, loss or difficulties such as fear, pain or loneliness.
“The most significant thing we learn as Stephen ministers is the power of caring and listening,” said Judith Guest, leader of Mountain View’s Stephen Ministry and 50-hour training program. “Our role is not to solve problems for people, but rather to help them — through prayer, trust and support — to find strength and courage.”
Stephen ministers are lay caregivers who help pastors and congregations provide personal caring ministry for as long as people need it.
“The simple act of listening can be very empowering.” said Beverly Clauser, another Mountain View Stephen leader. “When people speak their concerns, they no longer shoulder that burden alone.”
The St. Louis-based Stephen Ministries organization provides the curriculum and training for the ministry, which is in more than 11,000 congregations in all 50 states, Canada and 25 other countries, with 159 denominations represented.
Active Stephen ministers participate in twice-monthly supervision and continuing education sessions.
Stephen ministers are typically assigned one care receiver at a time and meet with that person for about one hour each week, for as long as the need exists. Relationships can last from six weeks to more than a year. The formal relationship ends when the care receiver recognizes he or she has reached a point of strength, confidence, independence and autonomy.
Stephen ministers serve Ramona, Julian, Poway and surrounding communities.
People in need may contact Guest at 760-789-7927 or the church office, 1191 Meadowlark Way. More information is also at www.mvccramona.org.