Guest Column by Shane Bell
I want to be known. I want someone to care about my innermost, deepest self. I want someone to listen to my experiences abroad, to know my mother’s personality, to imagine my father as the attorney and advocate he was. I want someone to touch my pain and feel my joy. I want friendship, I want love; I want someone to love me like a friend.
In today’s society, I imagine I am not the only one who feels this way, who feels like there is so much talking and so little listening.
This June, Westminster UCC is hosting a training workshop from June 19-22 which sole purpose is to train individuals how to provide a ‘listening ministry of pastoral care.’ Taught by a certified trainer from BeFriender Ministry, this four-day intensive training from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m will equip leaders with keen listening, counsel, and ministry skills.
“This is less about me,” said Jennifer Marquis, who plans on attending the workshop. “This is about holding their story, about being there for each other. We want to listen without fixing, to be a prayerful presence when people are having difficult times in life,” said Marquis.
Difficult times, according to Marquis, include major job transitions, illness and injury, and death.
“We are in a non-stop communicating world. As I am listening to you, I am looking for ways to how I will respond to you. I am not really looking for ways to answer deeper,” said Marquis. “How does this affect you? How often do you have a conversation and not feel heard?”
Marquis, like so many- if not all- of us, has been impacted by such hollow conversation.
“I am thirsty for conversation that connects us. It’s what I have longed for in myself. I think we are really passionate for what we most deeply long for. It’s that little mystery that I am still teasing apart,” said Marquis.
Three lay leaders at Westminster will be attending the workshop.
“We are looking for serious people to be a part of this workshop, and if they can’t do the workshop, to be a part of a program based on this idea, to serve the community at Westminster,” stated Marquis.
This BeFriender Ministry-inspired program will meet regularly, partake in further training and continuing education, and vitally support each other as emissaries to those who feel surrounded by darkness.
As the host church, Westminster members are eligible for a discount towards registration fees. UCC church members from the Pacific Northwest Conference will receive a discount also. Scholarships are available to those who are genuinely interested in participating in the training but do not have all of, or part of, the financial means to do so. Please submit any requests for scholarships to Pastor Andy CastroLang, whose email firstname.lastname@example.org
To register for the ‘Foundations Workshop’ at Westminster this June or for more information, visitwww.befrienderministry.org or call the national Office at (952)-767-0244 or (866)-468-8708.
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