Five new Stephen Ministers graduated from training and were commissioned by our Palms congregation in February. Their journey took six months and 50 hours of classroom lectures and group experiences. At the end, they were asked about the meaning of being commissioned, what training did for them, and how training changed their relationship with God.
Now able to walk one-to-one with people going through life’s difficulties in this international Christian care ministry, these ministers feel grateful to have been commissioned. Dean DeWall spoke of being “humbled” to be part of this ministry, and having an “opportunity to share the grace of God” in ways he was not able to before. “It is a sacred gift,” says Sally Nielsen.
Skills were discovered or uncovered and honed in training. Sally Trefry stated that despite surviving the trials in her own life, “…training showed me how little I really knew and how much more there was to absorb in order to give the most help to those in need.” Gayle Gallagher wrote “…training gave me a structured, process-driven way to provide uniquely Christian caregiving. It armed me with tools to help my care receiver move beyond her current pain…”
A changed, strengthened relationship with God was additionally noted by all our new ministers. Dean DeWall said “The Stephen Ministry opened an entirely expanded role of God as the ‘curegiver‘ in life. We have a never- ending resource of strength and understanding available to assist us…” Sally Nielsen wrote, “…becoming a Stephen Minister has made and will make my relationship with God…more real, more present and more awesome!” For Karen Bowden, the training “provided opportunities to explore, feel, express and see God’s love and presence at work in myself and others.”
We are grateful for these ministers who were called and changed by this experience and now care for those undergoing their own transforming life difficulties. To learn more about Stephen Ministry, contact Stephen Leader Karen Stepp, or Pastor Laurie Furr-Vancini.