(440) 653-3476 krolenz@uuma.org

Pastoral Care

We Will Care For You, and You in Turn, Will be Asked to Care for Others

Pastoral Care IS Congregational Care

 What a privilege it is to enter into a congregation’s life and to celebrate their milestones, mourn the passing of beloveds and care deeply for all that happens in between.  It is one of the reasons I became a minister; because I have experienced and witnessed the power of community to care for one another during good times and through the hard times.

Sometimes I’m asked “is pastoral care different as an interim minister?”  Yes and no.  When I served as Senior Co-Minister at West Shore UU Church in Rocky River, OH for sixteen years, I was able to witness the arc of members lives.  I was able to experience children being born or adopted, dedicating them, running through the halls of the church as children, and in some cases, watching them go through OWL and Coming of Age.  Now, they are young adults, some with children of their own!  I was able to speak personally at a members memorial service, having known them and worked and worshipped with them.  So, there is a sweetness to a long-time ministry that can’t be replicated.

And yet, having served five congregations as their interim, I am reminded of the truth of the saying “Love is love is love.”  I have met extraordinary members of all these congregations.  I have fallen in love with all of them – with their kids, their families and their passions.  I have buried some of them and had to say goodbye to all of them.  And even now, I am smiling as I recall the faces and commitments of our dear congregations.  I expect I will feel the same about yours!

My role as your interim is different in that my primary focus is often not on pastoral care (unless of course that is what the Interim Search Committee and Congregational Record specifically asks for.) Instead, my work is to help YOU strengthen your commitment to caring for each other.  I will always be available for rites of passage.  Honoring those who have died through our Celebrations of Life is an important role for the minister.  As your minister, I can provide insight, wisdom, resources and pastoral skill, but the important work of building community through caring is also the work of the entire congregation. 

How might I do this?  There’s a number of ways:

–Provide training for lay volunteers

–Offer regular on-going classes and conversations about congregational care

–Preaching about the ways we build community through care

–Tap into the community resources for education, training and support

Strengthening the bonds between members IS an important pastoral and interim task.  I look forward to hearing more about what YOUR congregation needs during this time of transition.