Most people do not go through life without experiencing difficult times or crises. Stephen Ministry helps people in need to experience Christ’s healing love and compassion and to grow spiritually through Christ-centered care. Stephen Ministers, lay caregivers, who act as extensions of Transfiguration’s Clergy, offer one-on-one quality care as long as necessary to the bereaved, hospitalized, terminally ill, separated, divorced, unemployed, relocated and to other persons facing life crises or challenges.
Stephen Ministers are trained and supervised by Stephen Ministry Leaders so that they may provide care through listening, praying, supporting and encouraging. Before undertaking care giving Stephen Ministers must receive at least 50 hours of training. After becoming Stephen Ministers they continue to receive training and supervision through regular meetings.
Stephen Ministers must be dependable and trustworthy and further, they must pledge to provide confidential care. The name of the parishioner, Care Receiver, is only known to the Clergy, Stephen Minister and Stephen Leader. All discussions and information shared with the Stephen Minister is kept confidential. Care is offered to adult parishioners and further, a Stephen Minister and Care Receiver are matched by gender and compatibility by the priest.
A Stephen Minister walks beside an individual and allows himself or herself to be a conduit for Christ in healing the hurting person. He or she is not a counselor, therapist or problem-solver. Instead, the Stephen Minister helps the individual to work through his or her crisis or situation by offering objective, active listening. Typically, the Stephen Minister meets with the Care Receiver weekly for one hour. Meetings generally continue until there is a mutual agreement that the crisis or need has ended.
Stephen Ministry has existed in Transfiguration for over 20 years. The ministry was originally founded in 1975 by Stephen Ministries St. Louis which is a not-for-profit organization headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri. Stephen Ministry is now a worldwide ministry that is offered by approximately 9,000 congregations representing approximately 100 denominations. Stephen Ministry takes its name from St. Stephen who was one of seven people commissioned by the apostles to provide caring ministry. The apostles commissioned these individuals to help provide care in the church and community to assure that all persons in need received care since they could not meet all the needs by themselves.