Pastoral care at Saint Peter’s takes many forms. We offer support when parishioners are ill and when families experience births, illness, and death. Lay people and clergy reach out with visits, prayer shawls, casseroles, cards, Holy Eucharist, and prayer. These are some ways we share God’s love with each other. The chronic illness and caregiver support group meets monthly, and no one explains what they do better than group member Jim Bartos.
“How are you?” is not a polite throwaway greeting at the first Friday gathering of St. Peter’s chronic care group (we’re searching for an appropriate name. How does Lazarus Guild sound?). The question is asked because we indeed care. Chronic is what we each live every day, whether the care-giver or the care-receiver. We’re both part of this monthly meeting of grown-ups who are in need of support from caring people and know we need that support. And under the wise guidance of Fr. Keith Lane and Dan Busch, support is what we get. From 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., in the lounge at St. Peter’s we share the worries and hurts that burden us and the weight is lifted a bit. Often that’s enough. Shared also are the victories, some quite small…often that’s enough. The dozen of us there (sometimes more, sometimes fewer), as any other random dozen might be, bring unique hurts, joys, sources of strength, roots of pain, disappointments and triumphs, our tears and our laughter, and we find support, needed support. There’s more than a whiff of Jesus’ command to love one another in that room. It’s sweeter than the aroma of baking bread or the perfume of incense at the Easter vigil. What is chronic does not magically go away. It is surrounded by care and prayer. And that’s better than magic. So, how are YOU?
Elizabeth Richardson, Pastoral Care