Elders, District Visitors and Volunteers are making phone calls to congregation members and hope to be in touch with every household. If you have a need email Dolly Forcade or Call the Office. Phone and emails are being covered by the staff.
Pastoral Care At St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church: Extraordinary Times, Extraordinary Responses
Providing Pastoral Care to Our Church Community Now
Although the church building is closed, our active ministry continues. Currently, we are reaching out to our members by phone and email. In this section of the website, we would like you to know about some of the specific steps we have taken to stay connected with our members and friends—as well as seeking inspiration and strength from the many wonderful examples of folks extending kind and thoughtful acts to one another. We are trying to phone everybody on our lists, asking them how they’re doing and how they are finding grace during these days. We also want to know how we can offer assistance. If you know of someone who needs a call, please contact the office at 403-255-0001 or [email protected].
We are now offering Sunday worship online at 10:00, as well as daily (Video) devotionals. Click on the St. Andrew’s YouTube channel (we encourage you to subscribe) or on Facebook.
Our Evolving Pastoral Care Programs
- Due to self-distancing, and the concern for our congregation, meals will not be delivered during this time of “sheltering in place.”
- Most grocery stores will deliver to your home.
- With proper precautions, volunteers will deliver groceries to your home.
- Even though our District Visitors are unable to make personal visits at this time, we are contacting everyone by phone calls or, if necessary, via emails.
- Please let your District Visitor know if you have a pastoral need that we can help with, keeping in mind the self-distancing that is imposed on all of us.
- Our visitors cannot visit in person but they will stay in touch with phone calls.
- Alberta Health Services has banned all hospital visits. In the meantime, if you are aware of someone in the hospital, please let the office know. If a cell phone number is given, someone will be in touch with them.
Life after Loss
- Dr. Wolfelt’s presentation scheduled for April has been postponed. It is hoped to be rescheduled for November 2020.
Nursing Health Ministry
- “Immunization. You call the shots!” has been postponed until Monday, October 5, 2020.
- The team will continue with the Health Matters articles in our newsletter, ConnXions.
- Our Prayer ministry will continue uninterrupted via emails and telephone.
- Unfortunately, prayer shawls will not be given out during this time.
Side by Side
- Our Stephen Ministers will continue to be in touch with their care receivers during this time by telephone, not personal visits.
- To offer support to each other, our Stephen Ministers are meeting on-line.
Need Official Information?
It’s important to turn to reliable websites. We recommend official sites, such as the Chief Medical Officer of Alberta’s daily updates.
Mental Health and Well-Being
Take care of our own well-being and mental health. For some good suggestions, see Covid-19 and Your Mental Health
Finding Comfort and Inspiration
- Facebook groups in Alberta offering support: groups reaching out to one another. Lots of great stories!
- Prayer and Devotional Sites: Of the many sites out there, we are finding Pray as You Go, put out by the British Jesuits, to be particularly helpful because it offers not only day-by-day prayers but also thematic prayers. They have also just updated it with the complementary section they call Pray as you Stay. Available both as a website and an app.
Music for the Soul
Funerals and Memorial Services
- We are currently unable to host funerals, given that Alberta Health does not allow large groups to meet. It might be necessary for us to delay a memorial service until a later date, or to develop alternative ways of commemorating your loss. We are consulting with other churches and are in the process of developing procedures for this extraordinary time. We will update this website as more information is available. If you have experienced a loss in your family please give us a call and we can talk about options for your specific situation.
- Weddings and baptisms are not being celebrated at present.
Questions? Comments? Inspiring Stories to Share?
Please feel free to contact us with any questions about pastoral care. Contact our Interim Pastoral Care Leader, Geoffrey Simmins, at [email protected] or [email protected]
And although we are all probably being given too many lists of things to do and to avoid these days, here’s one we hope you will find helpful and comforting. It comes from the Methodist Church of Aotearoa New Zealand.
Some helpful tips during COVID-19 (for on-line church and staying in community)
1. Start simple. We don’t have the time to do it right, we are responding to an emergency we haven’t planned for.
2. Prioritise connection over production or liturgical beauty. The best think you can do for your community is connect with them. Consider also writing a separate text message to each person in your church, asking how they are.
3. Reduce screen time. We are all being asked to spend more time in zoom meetings or reading emails on top of being glued to news feeds, tv news. Send people something they can print or a playlist they can listen to.
4. Move away from scheduled activities. While people need to maintain routines while in isolation, we are being asked to attend more meetings and this can cause anxiety. Find ways people can connect in flexibility.
5. Focus on spiritual practice over liturgy and preaching. What we need most assistance in is letting go of stress and regaining connection with God and with others.
6. Lower expectations. We all need a little grace. This applies also to Government departments and essential services.
7. Invite, don’t ask or tell. Make everything you do optional. Listen to your congregations needs and let them reflect.
8. Keep reassessing. None of us know what’s going to work.
9. Thank you. Remember everyone is trying to do things differently. For every person who is caring for others. For every person who is feeling exhausted. THANK YOU.
10. Forgive the mistakes. If your church isn’t getting it right or doing it the way you would like, be patient. None of us trained for this, we’re all learning.