Gratitude for My Stephen Minister!

One way to fully understand what it is like to be in a caring Stephen Ministry relationship is to read the following letter. It is written by one of our parishioners describing the many ways that one of our own Stephen Ministers offered caring support and Christian listening. The names and some details have been revised to ensure confidentiality.

"I always knew my friend would be a wonderful Stephen Minister. The graced surprise that God offered us both was the generous gift of her ministry to me! While for many years I was an advocate of Stephen Ministry in a number of settings, I had never sat in the place of a "care receiver" until I was struggling with the pain, limitations and discouragement following surgery. Family, friends, and pastors were so very helpful and attentive, but I realized that for the work of waiting through the long weeks of recovery, some special, ongoing spiritual companionship would be a great support.

My Stephen Minister's willingness to meet, her caring, kindness, and prayers have made a huge difference in this chapter of my life. She was present to listen to my sense of vulnerability and distress without trying to "fix" anything, but simply to "show up" faithfully, both as her wise, loving self, and as a trained and commissioned Stephen Minister.

Whatever the politicians, media, and time will make of the recent video of our special Forces arriving to take custody of a soldier who had been held in Afghanistan for five years, I realized as I watched the other day as he was shown, frail, tearing up and blinking as one unaccustomed to the light, that perhaps many of us may find ourselves in a place when we need someone to come for us...Someone, our faith assures us, has indeed already come for us, remains with us, showing up even when we find ourselves in a dim place of confinement...And Christ's care, offered through one who comes for us as a Stephen Minister, is truly a holy and healing gift.
As my health and strength have at last begun to improve, my Stephen Minister and I agreed that the time has come to bring to a close our formal relationship. We will be celebrating the work we have done together and shift our pattern back to one of easy, comfortable friendship. I am so deeply grateful for her ministry and to the Church for making it possible for us both to grow through our time together."

In times of trouble, we look to caring Christian friends to listen to us while we work through our feelings. A Stephen Minister can be that person, either to you or to someone you know. For more information, contact Jean Britt (847-256-2372), Anne O'Connor (847-920-9755), or one of the clergy (847-251-6120).