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Caring Ministry: A Contemplative Approach to…

Caring Ministry: A Contemplative Approach to Pastoral Care (edition 1999)

by Sarah A. Butler (Author)

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The Caring Ministry program was developed by the Pastoral Care Team at St. John+�as Episcopal Cathedral in Denver, Colorado, to train lay people in basic pastoral skills. Its premise is that there is no better way to cultivate a receptive posture towrd others than by praticing listening to God. The Caring Ministry Approach thus combines basic pastoral skills and guildelines along with an emphasis on being grounded in prayer. It invites both clergy and lay ministers to deepen the well of relationship with God as a means to developing a caring, listening heart. The text weds experise with reflecti.… (more)
Title:Caring Ministry: A Contemplative Approach to Pastoral Care
Authors:Sarah A. Butler (Author)
Info:Continuum (1999), Edition: 1, 160 pages
Collections:Your library

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Caring Ministry: A Contemplative Approach to Pastoral Care by Sarah A. Butler



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Butler writes about how the care-giver, any care-giver, should be present for spiritual or emotional support of another. They should also be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary since the grief process is not predictable. Abnormal reactions are listed. They may manifest themselves in angry outbursts, substance abuse, paranoia and overworking. The overall theme is that the care giver is part of a larger array of resources. Those resources can be accessed either by the person grieving or by the care-givers themselves. Butler refers to the care-giver as a healing companion. The care-giver is encouraged to provide a context for the loss in question by attempting to connect the grieving person with their spiritual dimension. Grief and loss make life messy but grief ought not to be the final word. The care-giver ought to be comforting about the loss and positive nevertheless about what tomorrow may promise. Butler refers back upon her own religious tradition where the Hebrew people wandered in the desert for forty years before reaching their destination. This example might be useful but if the person does not know scripture well or is not Jewish or Christian this may be too clumsy to attempt. In any case, this moves Butler toward the issue of human value. The most important resolution is that whatever happens during the grieving process or amidst emotional suffering, there is human value to a person's life irrespective of that suffering. Hence, the mere presence of the care-giver who does not revert to fix-it mode in a crisis situation is a true pastoral presence for the care-receiver. I found this book honest and realistic. Butler says in passing that she herself is a recovering alcoholic and so her ministry involves disseminating information about treatment programs. The whole book seems like it may have been part of her personal note-taking as she came to greater realization about herself. I found the book to be refreshingly absent of statistics. Statistics are meant to bolster arguments by giving relevant quantifiable data. Most often, in books written by English speakers they take the place of rational arguments. They end up proving a point that was never made in the first place. This book was written as an aid to person-to-person communication between those suffering and those trying to offer solace at the very same moment. This is very difficult to do and most do not find “enjoyment” as a rule in this type of ministry. This is truly a ministry of caring…for the other, as a person of value. Immediate self-gratification is not one of the main goals hence the welcome lack of statistical focus. Statistics usually show what people like, find enjoyable or dislike and are likely to avoid. Care ministry is a values-based use of time and resources. It affirms that the person who has suffered loss is still of eminent worth, even in their most uncomfortable vulnerability. ( )
  sacredheart25 | Nov 18, 2010 |
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