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We are ALL the pastoral care committee

In most churches, you have a pastoral care committee, and Live Oak is no different. And though we have a formal team, we remind all of our members that they are on the team, too. It takes all of us to help all of us.

And now, the needs have increased exponentially, but so has the committee. There is an entire world needing pastoral care. Luckily for us, there is also an entire world ready to provide it.

We care for each other now not with casseroles and home visits, but by sharing the gifts that are unique to each of us. I know of one family, where their son is creating works of art, and sending them to those who need a pick me up. Every weekday morning, I have been receiving care from UU musician Sarah Dan Jones, who lights a chalice and plays beautiful UU music. Live Oak members are spontaneously, or planned in advance, hosting online coffee breaks and happy hours, where they ask people to check in with how they're doing. Members are calling and checking on each other.

One of the best gifts we can give each other is to ask good questions, and listen deeply. To bear witness of what each of us is going through. A great question to ask, shared with me by mentor Ken Shuman, is "Tell me about the impact on your life" this is having.

"Tell me about the impact on your life." 

The impact is different on each of us. Some are bored, isolated, climbing the walls. Some are overwhelmed trying to balance work and family, now happening simultaneously. Some are worried about finances, health. And most of the problems that we struggled with before covid-19 have not disappeared. Many have been magnified.

Listen, and listen deeply. Resist the urge to problem-solve, to "provide perspective," to cheer someone up. Listen. Honor the other person's feelings.

And then when it's your turn, share the impact this is having on you. Our honesty and vulnerability are gifts that we share with others, which gives them permission to do the same.


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