Page last updated April 21, 2022.
Whenever we are with others, there is an opportunity to care for one another.
Pastoral care means being there for others – listening to them and accompanying them in their significant life moments; not seeking to fix them, but to provide a safe space in which to uncover the wisdom and strength to carry on. To be ‘pastoral’ means to care for the whole – the whole flock, the whole person, the whole of God’s creation. Pastoral care also makes use of a spiritual ‘toolbox’ – prayer, music, scripture, sacrament, traditions, etc. as appropriate and as requested.
Please inform the ministers or office if you, or someone else from whom you have received permission to share their situation, has experienced an illness or other significant life event and would like someone to reach out. It’s only possible to respond to one another’s needs when we know about them.
Well-being & Friendly-visiting Care
Pastoral care is the umbrella of all the ways that we all care for spiritual health; of individuals, of families, of our community, of the world. At Harcourt, much of our well-being and friendly-visiting care is offered by volunteer community members and small groups. Our network of neighbourhood hosts help to facilitate these connections. These kinds of pastoral care might look like; friendly visits, accompanying someone to a difficult appointment, sending a postcard, facilitating a spiritual book group, helping someone connect with a foodbank or shelter, advocating with politicians for accessible childcare, or leading a workshop on the story of Lazarus’ coming out and Martha’s joy.
In our church community we would like to think that none of us are alone, but we know that there are many people who do not have family close by or who may find it difficult to connect with those outside their homes. Connection is particularly important with those in hospital, seniors’ residences and long-term care facilities.
Harcourt has a team of covenanted Spiritual Companions, trained in spiritual direction and accompaniment. Spirituality is about moving into deeper relationship with the Sacred, as an individual and as a community. At Harcourt Memorial United spiritual companionship is a one-on-one confidential relationship in which a trained person assists another person in the search for a closer connection with the Source of Life and Love, however that is understood. Companionship may be sought on a one-time or a regular basis. It always takes place in a safe, confidential, respectful environment at the Church or a place of mutual convenience.
What issues can you bring to a spiritual companion? Everything and anything that rests on your heart – What is your heart’s deepest desire? How can you find some peace, and love yourself as you are? Where can you find strength in these challenging times? How can you develop a life of calm acceptance and gratitude?
How can you get started with a Covenanted Spiritual Companion? Call the Harcourt Office (519-824-4177) or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pastoral Care with Ministry Staff
In some circumstances, it’s more appropriate for a minister to provide Pastoral Care; especially if there is an immediate health crisis, a death, sudden life change, faith concern, or complicated situation. Do you ever wish you had someone to talk with; about life, about God, decisions, baptism, mental health, parenting, discerning ministry, etc.? Big questions or small steps, big joy or deep aches: we are here for you. We are here to listen, and help you figure out the next steps.
Please contact our office to be connected with a minister.
Seeking further help / Community Resources
Life can be difficult. There are times when we need help from other people or require services that exist in the wider community. It is never a sign of weakness to ask for help. Sometimes we need pastoral care, and sometimes more formal counselling or therapy would be helpful, too.
After listening to you and learning about your situation, Harcourt staff may suggest community support resources to you. Whatever path you take, support and accompaniment will always be present for you at Harcourt. Here is contact information for a few community resources:
- The Volunteer Centre of Guelph/Wellington
- Family and Children’s Services of Guelph and Wellington County
- Family Counselling and Support Services for Guelph Wellington
- Guelph Wellington Women In Crisis
Crisis Line: 519-836-5710 (1-800-265-SAFE)
- Canadian Mental Health Association
Crisis Line: 1-844-HERE-247 (1-844-437-3247)