As we seek to embody Christ’s love in Guildwood, our church aspires to be a place of caring. While it is true that everyone connected with GCPC is responsible for fostering a caring spirit, the Session bears a special responsibility for ensuring that the people in our congregation receive ongoing pastoral care.
In the traditional Presbyterian model of care, each of the Elders was assigned a district. Originally, a district referred to a geographical area. Eventually, it came to refer to a group of people for whom that Elder was personally responsible. Elders were expected to keep connected with the individuals in their districts through personal visits.
As Bob Dylan expresses, “the times, they are a changin’.” Many Presbyterian Churches have found that this traditional model of pastoral care is no longer working. Some Elders do not possess gifts for visitation; some people do not wish to have an Elder visit them in their home.
The Session at GCPC struggled to meet these changes by developing a new pastoral care model which preserves pastoral care as a church priority. Instead of assigning each Elder a pastoral district, a Care Team was established (in 2009). This team is made up of Elders who have a special interest in the ministry of pastoral care, and others from the wider church who feel called to participate in this ministry.
Session continues to work as a team in offering care to the whole congregation: any person connected with GCPC can approach any Elder for any reason (e.g. the need for pastoral care, or to have their voice heard at a Session meeting). The Session celebrates the strong, caring relationships that presently exist between individual Elders and members, and the adoption of an alternate structure will not affect this. However, Session will use the Care Team to fulfill its mandate to be proactive in offering pastoral care to the whole congregation.
You can connect with the care team by contacting the church for phone information, or by sending an email to careteam AT guildwoodchurch.ca.
Revised April, 2011