St. Matt's Community   -  

Serving in the pastoral care ministry has been a privilege, a joy, and a blessing. During 27 years of pastoral care I have gained at least as much as I have given. Is it a challenge? Yes, of course. But it is also so very rewarding. It has given me a purpose and an identity within the church, and in helping others with their faith, it has strengthened my own.

Pastoral care is about maintaining connections for those who are no longer able to attend church. It is very often a strong and personal relationship. We listen to what they have to share, and where they are in their faith. Our commitment to those we visit and the importance of this relationship is reflected in our language. We are FRIENDS, Friends Relate In Every Need as Disciples for the Saviour.


One of my most treasured and unique relationships was with a parishioner with Alzheimer’s. Keeping faith alive for someone with Alzheimer’s is challenging, but we found our connection through music. We couldn’t have a conversation, but we could sing hymns together. I soon learned her favourites – the ones she would join with me in singing – and I felt such privilege in bringing the church closer to her in this way. Shortly before she passed, as she lost more memories, she knew only what she likely learned as a young child “Jesus Loves Me.” And so that’s what we sang.


Not all churches have a pastoral care team, but I believe it is an important tool for the church. At St. Matthew’s, we can also receive special training to be able to offer communion. This allows us to offer communion to more people than if it could only be administered by clergy. As such an important part of the Anglican church, communion is deeply appreciated by many of those we visit, including in their home, as shown in the photo above.


St. Matthew’s pastoral care team has declined in numbers over the years, but the need for visitors remains strong. Visits and phone calls don’t have to take long, but they make all the difference to those we serve. It truly is about parishioners caring for each other, keeping everyone in our St. Matthew’s family included and connected, and making sure that people know they have a parish home.


For those who may be searching for a way to make a difference, please consider pastoral care. It is uplifting, deeply rewarding, and faith-building to journey along this path.


By Ann Sim