Yes! We want to be a caring church community

Yes! We want to be a Caring Church Community

By Kim Sanderson, Coordinator of Congregational Life

You know how Pastor Ruttan is always saying that “God is love” (1 John 4:8) and calls us to love each other?  As usual, it is rooted in the bible. John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

So, how do we demonstrate this as a church community? Recently I was reading a resource from The Presbyterian Church in Canada and following are some suggestions. By acting on these we will demonstrate to those entering our church that God is in fact love.

It is easy to provide help and support to people who are easy to get along with, visible and perhaps even signalling they need help. That is good, but we need to watch for those on the fringes that may not meet these criteria; we need to offer care to all. We can do this by making this an everyday practice by looking for opportunities to show interest and perform simple acts of kindness. A phone call, a card or some encouraging words can make the difference.

Don’t be afraid to be the one reaching out. Sometimes we assume others have done so or that we might be a bother. Just leaving a message or sending an email opens the door.  You may not hear back but that isn’t the point: you just want to have offered support.

Are you encouraged to act? If so, endeavour to use that old idiom that you have two ears and one mouth – listen more than speak. And try not to rush to judgement and try to fix people’s situations (I am totally guilty of that; I am task oriented and move to solve quickly!)  Listen, ask questions, and just be present.

One of the ways of connecting with people started just this week: Vine Groups. This is our small groups program. It’s a great opportunity to get to know each other, have fellowship, and grow your faith all at the same time. Informal groups (think the walking group that started last year) also offer opportunities for connecting and getting to know people’s needs.

I don’t know about you, but I find I often have a person just pop into my head. My belief is that is a signal from the Holy Spirit that I am supposed to do something! Usually I will send a quick email just to say I am thinking about them or call if I don’t have an email.  Sometimes after a big event (like an illness, personal challenge or death) the cards and calls stop.  An email on just a regular day can be a big boost.

Westminster’s mission statement is “Loving God, Loving our Neighbours.” That includes supporting and encouraging the leaders in our church: Pastor Ruttan, our Music Director Jenn, Youth Coordinator Julie, our Elders, and now me! Pray for us. And in turn, it is their (our) role to show a genuine interest in our church community.

Lastly, just a quick reminder about all of this is informal, person to person stuff.  Should you learn of a specific situation that is urgent or requires a higher level of expertise, the more formal process in our church is to let Cathy Clark know about it. She is the coordinator of our Pastoral Care Team and can facilitate some extra help.

CARE. LOVE. We are called to do it!

By Kim Sanderson


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