When I was growing up, the word congregation didn’t have full meaning for me. Those who were members of the First Baptist Church of Lumberton, those people were “the congregation”, and it included a lot of warbling “old” ladies who referred to me as “the baby” and “old” men who passed the plate; and they all stood fast in their view of proper dress and proper behavior. Thus, a child’s and then a teenager’s view. In much later years, this place made me revisit the word, and I came to understand a greater depth to the word. It is the gathering together, the being in each other’s company to support, protect, grow.
How can we feed this flock with support and protection? How can I contribute to that, as a mere member of this congregation? The basis of the mission of the Lay Pastoral Care Team is to be on the alert and respond by making sure the minister knows about needs, by stepping in to assist the minister providing some of the support, by making sure that each person knows that their presence is valued, that they are part of the web of support. And that is what makes participation on this Ministry Team valuable to me. This is part of what helps knit me ever more warmly into this community. For that I am grateful. It feeds my soul.
On the third Sunday of each month, the Lay Pastoral Care Team provides a bit of time – which we call a Caring Circle – right after the service for those who wish to gather and talk about things that are on their hearts, that perhaps they have not wanted to light a candle in the service for but do wish some support or some time to develop their thoughts. Please join the member who is hosting the Circle in Rev. Michael’s office for some quiet conversation between the end of the service and noon.