Often I get the question, “So Deaconess, what do you do at Immanuel?”
I confidently respond, “I direct Care Ministry!”
Then so often I get that blank stare which I take to mean “oh sure,” but in reality it’s more like, “what in the world is that?” This gives me a wonderful opportunity to share what caring is all about at Immanuel. It is a privilege to share why our church cares for its members, AND also those in the Palatine community.
At Immanuel, Care Ministry significantly impacts many people, yet it is really a “silent ministry.” It’s not out in the headlines very often. In fact most of the work, by its very nature, is confidential. However, Care Ministry is vital to the physical and spiritual well-being of the congregation.
Care Ministry involves everything from:
- providing meals to those in need during recovery, or other challenging circumstances
- meeting with families as they plan a baptism
- working with couples as they commit to marriage and plan a wedding
- helping families as they plan a funeral
- visiting individuals and families in hospital, skilled care facilities, and homes
- teaching and working with our Stephen Ministers
- assisting our Good Samaritan Ministry
- handling a myriad of simpler tasks, such as organizing the children’s worship bags in the Narthex.
Plus, Care Ministry is so much more! It’s following up with new moms, and pre-planning end-of-life wishes. It’s equipping volunteers to visit others, and inspiring elders as they begin new duties. It’s a simple prayer or hug as I walk down the hall with someone. It’s assisting with families who would like to know more about Union Cemetery and sometimes even arranging for burials there. It’s being available to educate others in how to listen and reach out to those in need. It’s about worshipping and welcoming others to worship.
Care Ministry is, in many ways, the heart and soul of any congregation. That’s what Immanuel is all about. Reaching out, sharing worship and offering our Lord’s body and blood (and the forgiveness that comes with it) even with those who cannot attend worship services. Inspiring members to reach out and “touch” someone with the good news of the Gospel. Equipping and educating others about the simple needs that Jesus himself did – washing the feet of his disciples, responding to a simple touch, and taking time to pray and share.
That’s Immanuel. That’s Care Ministry.