Stephen Ministry

stephen ministry

Chestnut Memorial UMC is a Stephen Ministry church. A Stephen Minister is a member of our congregation who is trained to listen, care, encourage, pray, and walk alongside you during difficult times. It's confidential, free and very helpful.

We all face challenges in our lives. Some we cope with more easily than others. Are you facing one of life's difficult challenges? A death in the family, divorce or separation, loss of a job, a difficult pregnancy, chronic illness, terminal illness, hospitalization, loneliness, aging, relocation or some other life crisis? If you think you would benefit from having someone visit you once a week, listen to you, encourage you, and pray for you, then request a Stephen Minister. You can ask for one by telling our spiritual leader or any Stephen Minister or Stephen Leader at Chestnut. Once you have made your request, one of the Stephen Leaders -- who are Cathy Southwell, Sharon Petitt and Michele Grossenbaugh -- will contact you and give you more information and assign you a Stephen Minister. Everything you say to a Stephen Minister is strictly confidential; no one else will know your "business." Having a Stephen Minister means you won't have to bear your burden alone.


By Sharon Petitt

The following is excerpted from “God’s Little Devotional Bible,” Honor Book Inc., 1997, page 1361.

“In both spring and fall, geese can often be seen migrating, flying in a beautiful V-shaped formation. Such a pattern may appear to us to be a thing of beauty. In fact, it is aerodynamically brilliant.

“At certain intervals, relative to the strength of the head wind they are encountering, the lead goose – who does the most work by breaking the force of the wind – drops back and flies at the end of the formation. A goose next in the V takes its place. Scientists who have studied the V-formation have calculated that it takes up to 60 percent less energy for the geese to fly this way. The flapping of the wings creates an uplift of air, an effect that is greater at the rear of the formation. In essence, the geese take turns “uplifting” one another. After a turn at the point of the V, the lead goose is allowed to rest and be “carried” by the others, until it has had an opportunity to regain its strength and move forward in the formation to eventually take its place in the lead role again.”

In our lives we can experience being lifted up by others when life knocks us down. Circles of friends and family often do this for each other. But this “uplifting” can also occur in groups of people joined together by a common goal. The Stephen Ministry is like that. We are united together in mission to reach out to folks who are hurting with unconditional love and compassionate care. When we gather at our monthly meetings we “carry” each other by sharing each others’ joys and sorrows. We act as Stephen Ministers to one another doing the same as we would do in our individual caregiving assignments.

When a Stephen Minister comes to your house, he or she does not expect or want you to serve refreshments and you don’t have to clean up your house before we come. A Stephen Minister comes to be with YOU because YOU are what we care about. Your Stephen Minister will accept you just the way you are, not judging you or giving unending, unwanted advice. They will come with a humble attitude, offering compassion, understanding and a willingness to listen to your story as many times as you need to tell it. They will be there for you, lifting you up in prayer and encouragement as you work through a difficult time in your life. They will keep everything you discuss completely confidential including your identity. They will share your burden of worry and sorrow with you and celebrate with you your joys and successes. And they will be there for you for as long as you need them.

To get a Stephen Minister for yourself or for a loved one all you have to do is let one of the Stephen Leaders know your wishes. The Stephen Leaders are Michele Grossenbaugh, Cathy Southwell and Sharon Petitt. Our phone numbers are on the Stephen Ministry pew card in the pew racks which are on the back of every pew in the Sanctuary. If you prefer, you may talk to Pastor Chappy and he will pass on your request to us. You can also talk to any Stephen Minister you might see at church and ask them to let us know. We are here to serve you.

Next two Stephen Minister meetings will be Apr. 29 and May 20 at 7 p.m. in the church library.