Congregational Care Resources, Printed and Living!

Have you ever been shaken to learn that someone who appeared engaged normally in daily activities was, in fact, bearing a unique sorrow-the loss of a child, a parent's dementia, addiction's grasp, un- or underemployment, a history of abuse? Pastor Matt Wooster led me to British author Rachel Joyce's The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, where the protagonist experienced a sudden such revelation:

He was a chap like himself, with a unique pain; and yet there would be no way of knowing that if you passed him on the street... It must be the same all over England. People were buying milk, or filling their cars with petrol, or even posting letters. And what no one else knew was the appalling weight of the thing they were carrying inside.

The church, at its best, encourages both honesty and compassion, and it can help us learn to support each other through the trials of life, whether our "unique pain" is acutely fresh or throbbing faintly from our past. Here at FCCR, in addition to prayer and caring ministries, we maintain a binder full of area resources (updated every few years by our Stephen Ministry) to help ministers, members, and friends find appropriate referrals for themselves or others-regarding everything from lower income assistance, to myriad support groups, to various forms of counseling.

But, even more important, church folks seek to follow Jesus by learning to become living resources of care and instruments of God's love: acknowledging one another's pain, offering support, and seeking to walk together in love. As I mourn my best friend's sudden death, I am yet grateful for the tender support so many of you, my living resources of care, have extended. God bless you!

No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love has been brought to full expression through us. [1 John 4:12 (NLT)]

Deeny Bennett,M
Congregational Care Minister