Stephen Ministry at WVUC

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Dear West Vancouver United Church Friends:

Our congregation is now in the midst of exciting developments in the area of caring ministry. Three dedicated persons from our congregation — Ally Murray, Bob Pearmain and Gwen Carpenter — along with our Lead Minister, Rev. Philip Newman, attended a week-long training course in Anaheim, CA where we learned how to implement Stephen Ministry, a program of lay caring ministry for our congregation. Our instruction taught us to become Stephen Leaders who equip, encourage and supervise lay people in caring ministry. Stephen Ministry will be built upon the foundational commitment to caring ministry that has been a hallmark of West Vancouver United Church. It will exist alongside all of the current forms of caring ministry.

Ten members of our congregation have answered the call to serve as Stephen Ministers by being part of WVUC’s first training course this Fall. This training will be led by your Stephen Leaders and will include a variety of topics such as active listening, grief, and maintaining boundaries in caregiving. The training is distinctively Christian and focuses on God as the one who cures as we care.

When the Stephen Ministers have completed their training, they will be commissioned and ready to begin their ministry. Working under supervision, these Stephen Ministers will be available to accompany people at times when life is fragile or hurting, times such as these:

• Bereavement • Terminal illness • Long-term hospitalization • Job loss • Natural disasters • Loneliness • Single parenting … and many more.

Stephen Ministers commit to two years for training, service, and ongoing supervision. Many Stephen Ministers enjoy their ministry so much that they choose to serve well beyond the initial two years. While being a Stephen Minister requires commitment of time and effort, It may be one of the most rewarding challenges you will ever embrace.

We all have times in our lives when what we need the most is a caring person who we trust, who will show up regularly to listen, and who will not judge us. Receiving care from a Stephen Minister can be that person, one of the greatest gifts God has in mind for you or for the people around you. If you are aware of someone who you think could benefit from having a Stephen Minister, please contact our Lead Minister, Philip, who will confidentially talk with you. No one else will need to know.

We are excited to see what God is going to do in the lives of those who will undertake this ministry and in the lives of those who will receive care from our Stephen Ministers. If you have any questions or are interested in future Stephen Ministry training classes, please feel free to contact me or any of our Stephen Leaders at stephenministry@wvuc.bc.ca.

Grace and peace,

Lead Minister & Stephen Leaders:
Rev. Philip Newman, Ally Murray, Gwen Carpenter, Bob Pearmain

Qualities of a Stephen Minister

The church is not looking for perfect Stephen Ministers. They do not exist outside of Jesus himself! Effective Stephen Ministers will not all be alike and that’s good. Care receivers will be different, so It helps to have a variety of Stephen Ministers who can serve them.

Core Qualities of a Stephen Minister

  • The person is a Christian.
  • The person has the ability to keep confidences.
  • The person is able to relate to others nonjudgmentally.
  • The person is committed to giving the time necessary for training and service.
  • The person is willing and able to participate faithfully in supervision.
When an applicant has the core characteristics and some not all of the desirable characteristics in the four areas described below, he or she should make a good Stephen Minister trainee.

Desirable Qualities of a Stephen Minister

  • Shows humility.
  • Is aware of personal boundaries and able to say no when necessary
  • Is tolerant, nonjudgmental, accepting, forgiving
  • Shows a positive regard for people
  • Desires to grow and is eager to learn
  • Is reliable, dependable, trustworthy
  • Makes decisions and follows through with tasks and responsibilities
  • Shows emotional stability
  • Is willing to try new behaviours, experiment with different approaches, explore possibilities
  • Possesses genuine self-esteem and is content to serve quietly and without fanfare
  • Is teachable, trainable, accepting of supervision
  • Shows an ability to relate to and work with diverse types of people
  • Is comfortable meeting people and helping them feel comfortable
  • Is welcoming and hospitable
  • Is open to differences of opinion
  • Is clear, direct, and to the point in communicating with others
  • Expresses feelings in an honest and caring way
  • Has the capacity to be vulnerable, to laugh and cry with people
  • Cares for others in an assertive but not aggressive way
  • Deals appropriately with confidential information
  • Is accepting of self and others because God has graciously accepted him or her
  • Understands faith as a relationship with God and a way of life
  • Is not currently experiencing a major spiritual crisis
  • Has a growing relationship with God indicated by regular worship, Bible use and personal prayer
  • Has a heart and vision for servant ministry
  • Has an authentic desire to serve Christ and the church
  • Has the ability to articulate his or her faith in a natural and comfortable way
  • Shows a willingness to work hard and has an attitude that says, “I’m willing to do whatever it takes”
  • Views Stephen Ministry as a significant aspect of the congregation’s total mission and ministry
  • Is greatly excited about and keenly interested in Stephen ministry
  • Grasps the commitment level that is required for this ministry
  • Has the willingness (and capacity) to commit significant time and energy to learning and practicing the role of Stephen Minister
  • Has a deep desire to serve others through Stephen Ministry
  • Shows a willingness to take responsibility for his or her own actions.
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Stephen Leaders (left to right): Rev. Philip Newman, Ally Murray, Gwen Carpenter, Bob Pearmain.

For more information or inquiries about Stephen Ministry at WVUC, please use the form below.

“My Stephen Minister Is Truly a Gift”
“Getting Me Plugged into My Church”
“Refusing to Give Up on Me”
“I Can Tell Him Anything”
“Connected with God in a Way I Never Felt Before”

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