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The Congregational Church of West Medford is now doing business as Sanctuary UCC.

CTC circleheartLove Neighbor: “Sacred Circles of Care”
An Organizing Principle for Sanctuary UCC

At the March, 2015 Joint Ministry Team meeting we presented a draft description of the organizational structure of this ministry which we hope will serve as the foundation for our ‘Love Your Neighbor Ministry Circle’ (remember there are five circles to our ministry model—Love God, Love Neighbor, Make Disciples, Baptize Them and Teach Them). If you have not seen the Sanctuary Ministry Model presentation “Sacred Circles of Service and Love” you can find the entire presentation here:

The “Love Neighbor Circle” can be found on page 5 of that presentation. Moved by God’s love for us, we are called to love our neighbor through care, mission and service. Specifically that circle includes pastoral and volunteer care, our mission tithe (giving to the wider church, etc.), our work for justice, and our ministries with Pine Ridge, Outdoor Church, Bright Stars and other volunteer opportunities.

We hope to recruit volunteers to this ministry over the next few months, and begin the first training session in April. Currently the staff is working on recruiting volunteers throughout Medford and organizing opportunities to care and serve. We welcome some of you to help with this organizing work.

The draft document that describes the volunteer opportunities, the commitments, prerequisites and covenant groups for volunteers is available here:

Here are some highlights from the presentation/document:

Ministry of Volunteerism: One-time opportunities (repeatable) curated and organized by Sanctuary UCC. No preparation required, no long term commitment required. Can be a chance to try volunteering with a group. Examples: Mission Trips, Food Pantry, Soup Kitchen, CMS Urban, Outdoor Church, Bright Stars Kids/Medford in the Middle Youth and more…

Ministry of Practical Care: Show love and support to people in the community through the giving of practical care. Sign up to serve and respond to an in-the-moment-call for practical care (yeah or nay) based on availability and the need for which care is being called. Would be called upon by the pastoral staff, Ministry of Presence and Ministry of Spiritual Care teams to add practical care support for individuals. Typically given by persons who are ministry sprinters and not able to make long term commitment – people sign up for the practical care you can share. Examples: Card/Email Ministry, Casserole Ministry, Rides Ministry, Chores Ministry, Holy Handy-person Ministry, Garden/Snow Removal Ministry

Ministry of Presence (aka: Visitation): Able to make a commitment to a Long Term Relationship and recurring and scheduled presence (ie: monthly or 2 times per month) with person needing care. Able to identify status changes, feedback to pastoral staff as needed, looks for opportunities to broaden care through implementation of practical care support or addition of spiritual care giver. Examples: lonely elder, homebound person, family caring for child who is ill.

Ministry of Spiritual Care: Trained to go deeper via Called to Care Ministry, assigned to person in need at life transitions. Able to make a commitment to a relationship and presence for the duration of the person’s or family’s life transition. Able to identify status changes, feedback to pastoral staff as needed, looks for opportunities to broaden care through implementation of practical care support or addition of visitation support. Might also lead covenant group, training of topic sessions, support group for caregivers (ie: grief group, caregivers group for spouse with Alzheimer’s, etc.). Example: Birth, death, addiction, illness, divorce, grief, spiritual crisis.

Circles of Care Implementation Plan

  • Begin by recruiting a cadre of volunteers from within our two faith communities (Sanctuary UCC and NPU) and from neighbors who are outside the churches and seeking opportunities to spread love through volunteerism.
  • Set expectations for volunteers and invite folk to make commitments to those expectations.
  • Strengthening the gifts of those already doing this work and develop the skills of those who sign on anew.
  • While building the team we will begin to find the places in the community where love and care is needed.
  • Commission a spiritual care team to begin the caregiving next fall (and practice along the way).

Are you Called to Care? Please Sign Up for one or several of the following:

  • Join the Ministry Team which will imagine, recruit, lead, manage and implement this ministry;
  • Volunteer as a giver of care in any of these aforementioned roles if you already know you want to serve in this way;
  • Let us know if you already want to sign up for the “Called to Care Training Program/Covenant Group” that will begin in late April. This is a commitment to seven Saturday mornings over the next six months—the first three dates are Saturday, 4/25, 5/9 and 5/30 from 9:00 am to Noon at Sanctuary UCC, including continental breakfast, worship, prayer, and practice.
  • Come to a Circles of Care Informational Session to learn more

Questions, sign up, more:
Talk to any of the staff who will be involved as follows:
Rev. Wendy: Community Organizing, Recruitment, Supervision, Pastoral Care
Rev. Fred: Training and Supervision, Pastoral Care
Rev. Tom: Development and Implementation of Mission Opportunities
Grady Deaton: Administration, Social Media, Community Organizing

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