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Pastoral Associates Group

The Pastoral Associates Group (PAG) is part of a community-wide web of support that cares for people during the joys and challenges of our lives. PAG reaches out to people in need and lends an ear, a shoulder or a hand. This outreach comes in many forms, including listening to someone in crisis, bringing meals to a family with a new baby, driving someone to a doctor’s appointment, arranging emergency childcare, visiting someone who is ill, calling someone who has recently lost a loved one and sending greeting cards of support.

The Pastoral Associates Group (PAG) consists of the Minister and trained lay members of the congregation called “Pastoral Associates.” The team collaborates for the purpose of providing on-going pastoral care to the members and friends of First Parish. We help the congregation support one another in times of need. Showing how much we care for one another, addressing small and not-so-small concerns from parishioners, their friends and family is pastoral care. When we support each other, we show our spiritual strength by caring about one another.

Pastoral Associates may perform the following services:

  • Visit, phone and/or write to member(s) and/or friend(s) of First Parish for the purpose of providing one-time and/or on-going pastoral caring and concern. Pastoral visitors serve both as representatives of the minister and of the congregation as a whole.
  • Provide a pastoral presence within and among our congregation, alerting the minister of pastoral concerns and needs, providing informal pastoral support in public settings such as coffee hour, meetings, events.
  • Be a liaison to the minister-on-call in the absence of the settled Minister. This may include, providing immediate pastoral care, monitoring phones and forwarding pastoral emergencies to the minister-on-call and/or, in the case of urgent First Parish business, to the Trustee on call.
  • Meet monthly for the purpose of identifying pastoral needs, sharing support with one another, receiving ongoing education, and of supporting and ministering to one another and the settled minister.
  • Lead the Milestones segment of Sunday worship; this responsibility rotates.
  • Act as liaison to volunteers who coordinate services such as meals, transportation or emergency childcare, for First Parish individuals and/or families in crisis.

What’s the Caring Call – Helping Hands Program?

When an active First Parish member or friend needs a little extra help after surgery, hospitalization, or an accident, during an illness, when a family member is ill, or during similar situations, we offer to institute our “Caring Call Program.” This is an extension of the pastoral care provided by the Pastoral Associates Group.

We have developed a database of people willing to be called when help is requested. And we have volunteers willing to coordinate the initiative. When a request comes in, the minister or a Pastoral Associate identify a coordinator to work with the person requesting services and those willing to offer them.

The coordinator sets up a calendar indicating who will be the caring callers, the frequency of calls and other details; then the designated volunteer phones on a given day at a predetermined time and asks the person how s/he is and what (if anything) s/he might need that day (often the call is enough). To the extent possible, the caller does what s/he can to fill the person’s request.

Occasionally, someone’s needs exceed our ability and we make referrals to organizations like Sudbury Angels or F.I.S.H. for additional help.

Meetings: Monthly. Presently, the Pastoral Associates meet on a Tuesday night, usually at First Parish.

Participation in PAG: Pastoral Associates serve at the invitation of the minister.

Roles: convener, pastoral associates, call-a-day coordinators, helpers

For more information contact the minister.