Something remarkable has happened at church in the past few months. It’s not our Centennial Celebration, though that has been remarkable, indeed.
It’s been quieter than that, a little bit behind the scenes.
We haven’t made a big deal about it, but here it is: People have been taking care of each other.
See, what happened was this: We used to have a group called Caring Friends, which for many years took on the task of staying in touch with church members who weren’t able to come to church anymore. They visited, they called, they took gift baskets at Christmas, they sent cards. But over the years, that group got worn out. Some of them aren’t able to come to church now, and find themselves on the receiving end of those visits and calls. So Caring Friends stopped meeting. We hadn’t forgotten about those homebound church members, but we knew we needed to find a new way of staying connected.
At the same time, we started realizing that there are lots of other times when people need care — not just when they’re homebound or ill. Could the church find ways to care for one another in good times and bad? Across generations? Through the whole live of the congregation?
So awhile back, we dreamed up a new Care Team. We brainstormed with a few people who said: I like to cook; I’d be glad to take a meal to someone if I know they need it. Or, I love to make handmade cards; I could send a card every week to someone. Or, I can manage an email list; I could send out the requests.
And sort of quietly, without much fanfare, our new Care Team was created.
Now, every week, I send a list of requests to Faith, our Care Team coordinator. She sends out the requests to the volunteers, based on what they’ve offered to do — requests for meals go to the people who’ve offered to cook; requests for visits go to the people who have the time and interest in going to see someone, and so on.
It’s working. Really well:
When a family moved to a new home, Care Team members helped pack boxes and provided meals.
When there was an unexpected death in a family, Care Team members called and sent cards.
When Care Team members discovered that a homebound member had been taken to the hospital, they shared the news with the church so we could pray for him.
When a new member needed rides to church, Care Team members picked her up.
When one of our youngest members moved far from home into a residential care facility, Care Team members sent care packages full of stuff he loves.
It’s no surprise that this is working, to be honest. This congregation has always cared for each other well. But it’s a delight to see new structures helping us improve on what we’ve always done. I’m grateful to be part of a community that takes this call to love one another so seriously.
If you’d like to get involved with the Care Team – and there are big and small tasks that need doing – email me and I’ll get you connected.