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Rev. Sarah Person

by Rev. Sarah Person

The Rev. Sue Phillips was the first Regional Lead for the UUA’s brand-new New England Region.  An experienced minister and administrator, Phillips offered training in organizing and offering lay pastoral care.  She would open by reminding us that “Caring for one another is a primary expression of Unitarian Universalist theology.  Caring for one another is a foundational ministry of every congregation.”  ‘Community’ means being cared for and caring for others, and that means belonging.  We make meaning in our relationships.  I think caring for one another is the ultimate expression, the core, of what we mean by shared ministry.  There are three parts to caring ministry; the need to receive it, the means to provide it, and the expectations of what caring for one another looks like.

We are lucky to have experienced volunteers helping us offer care.  We have two teams: our lay pastoral ministry team with Sue Curtiss as coordinator, and our parish care team with Mal Marvill as coordinator.  Our lay ministers are Sue St. Germain and Dave Kraemer.  In addition to our lay pastoral ministers, our Music Director, Susan Hotchkiss, and our Director of Religious Exploration, Kelly Lownds, are also available to pass on requests for support.  

Mal helps schedule our parish care volunteers who bring food, give rides, send cards, knit prayer shawls and baby blankets, and organize visiting choirs.  Juli Gould and Valerie Fontaine are longtime care volunteers who generously give their time.  Sue Curtiss, Mal Marvill, Dave Kraemer and Sue St. Germain meet with me weekly to share news of our activities.  We do so while maintaining the privacy, if it is desired, of those we’ve engaged with during the week.

If you are looking for help with doing things – needing home-cooked meals, rides to medical appointments or to church, for example – get in touch with Mal Marvill, and she in turn will contact the volunteers who will recruit cooks and drivers.  If you are looking for someone to sit down with you and listen with empathy and confidentiality to your concerns and struggles, reach out to Sue Curtiss or to me.  Mal Marvill keeps track of our activities and will report the number and types of encounters we have (with no names attached, of course).  We are very conscientious of your privacy; it is the first principle that guides our activities.  We do this out of love and care.

What can you expect from this kind of shared ministry?  That is the third and perhaps most important aspect of this part of our congregational life.  Our care teams intend that, by our efforts, you will find the support you ask for.  We cannot assume and we may not presume to know your needs.  We do know how hard it can be to ask for help, and respect you for finding the courage to share with us in spite of the difficulty.  And, if you think someone you know needs support, encourage them to let us know.  

Our teams represent the foundation of our life as a congregation.  They are your friends, yes, and they have also promised to offer you the best of Unitarian Universalism.  We are very lucky indeed to have their energy and compassion.

Blessings,

      Rev. Sarah