Steven Ministry expands caregiving

SACO — A member of First Parish Congregational Church in Saco was among 320 pastors and congregational leaders at a Stephen Series Leader’s Training Course, LTC, held from Jan. 10-16 in Orlando, Florida. Brenda MacDonald attended the seven-day training event hosted by the St. Louisbased Stephen Ministries organization. Participants came from across the U.S. and Canada to learn how to implement and direct Stephen Ministry, a system of Christian caregiving, in their congregations.

“Stephen Ministry gives First Parish an effective way to train and organize members to provide one-to-one Christian care to individuals struggling with a crisis like grief, divorce, loneliness, relocation, hospitalization, a terminal illness, or unemployment,” said Rev. Dr. Doug Nielsen. “The need for this type of care greatly exceeds what pastors alone can provide. All Christians are called to care for and love one another – it’s not just the pastor’s job. By equipping lay people we can help them fulfill their calling as Christians and also expand the amount of caring ministry available through First Parish.”

Brenda MacDonald was trained as a Stephen Leader at the event. She joins a team of five Stephen Leaders at First Parish, which started its Stephen Ministry in 2013. Since that time, 15 people have been trained as Stephen Ministers and a number of people in crisis have received the formal care of a Stephen Minister.

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