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A Ministry of Presence

A Ministry of Presence

Organizing, Training, and Supervising Lay Pastoral Care Providers in Liberal Religious Faith Communities

Author: Denis Meacham

Price: $16.00

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This book is a guide for selecting, training, and supervising lay pastoral care providers in churches and other faith communities. It was written primarily for liberal religious faith communities.
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p>Rev. Dr. Denis Meacham wrote this book because he realized an important aspect of congregational life could not be adequately met by a lone parish minister. He says "a well-organized, trained and supervised cadre of lay ministers can ensure that no member of a congregation of any size ever falls through the cracks." This book lays out the motivation and characteristics of such a program in a very well-reasoned and thorough way. It covers the important characteristics to look for when choosing lay ministers for this assignment: the competencies of active listening, awareness of the presence of the sacred, and assessment. The overall management of the program within a congregation and how the lay care givers are trained and supervised presents a very rigorous and theologically sound model. The supervision model he espouses is similar to that received by ministers-in-training in clinical pastoral education programs, and might be a stretch to implement in some congregations. He continually circles back to a simple truth that is one of the book's main premises: the most fundamental gift of lay ministry is presence - compassionate, nonjudgmental presence. It is as important to the lay minister as it is to the person being cared for. If congregations were to implement such a program, I believe it would be much less likely that anyone in the congregation would "fall through the cracks." We are much indebted to the author for producing this program and documenting it so well in this book. —Rev. Barabara F.Meyers, a Unitarian Universalist Community Minister affliliated with Mission Peak Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Fremont, Californis. Her ministry is focues on mental health issues in the community, and she has developed lay Pastoral Associates Programs used in many Unitarian Universalist churches
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