What is Stephen Ministry?
Stephen Ministry is an ecumenical ministry of lay caregiving. Trained Stephen Ministers from within the congregation work with members and friends of the church on a one-on-one basis to walk beside them during a time of transition (a long-term illness, a death or illness in the family, job change, divorce, new baby, recent move, etc.) or personal struggle.
Typically, Stephen Ministers meet with their care receivers about once a week for an hour. In our busy community, many prefer every other week. This time schedule is left up the the care receiver and their assigned Stephen Minister.
Our Stephen Ministers are trained to offer intentional care and do not attempt to be amateur psychologists or therapists. It is the Stephen Minister's role to listen, to check in on a regular basis, to refer for specialized care or support (when appropriate) and to offer the compassionate presence of Christ to another. All of this is done in the strictest of confidence so that people can share freely what is on their hearts.
What do I Do if I am Interested in Being Assigned a Stephen Minister?
The first step is to contact one of the Pastors by calling 301-652-2990, or Stephen Leader, Sandy Long . She will contact you to explain the ministry and what is involved, what you are committing yourself to and what you can in return expect (and not expect) from a Stephen Minister. Working together with the pastors, you confidentially be assigned one of our Stephen Ministers based upon your needs. Your assigned Stephen Minister will then contact you and you will begin meeting on a mutually agreeable schedule.
How do I Become a Stephen Minister?
Would-be Stephen Ministers go through an interview process with members of our Stephen Leader Team and, if accepted into the program, begin 50 hours of training in basic caregiving skills. We offer training for Stephen Ministers each fall as part of a network of churches with active Stephen Ministry programs. Classes are held from October through March at National Presbyterian Church in Washington D.C. For more information, contact Sandy Long.
Sandy Long - Placement Coordinator
Shirley Derrick - Continuing Education
Rev. Jenny Cannon - Pastor
Shirley Derrick Sandy Long
Our Stephen Ministers
Karen Fratantoni Lisa Greenlees David King Lynn Koenig
Kathy McLaughlin Susie Sabatano Penni Spriggs-McDonald Sue Wells
The Stephen Ministry program at BUMC has grown to become more than we ever imagined! In 2000, we sent 5 people from our congregation, along with Rev. Ron to San Antonio, Texas for an intensive week of Stephen Ministry leadership training. There we learned how to begin, develop, and grow a Stephen Ministry program. They came back from this training and immediately created the necessary groundwork for our first Stephen Ministry class. In March of 2001 we commissioned 11 Stephen Ministers, having completed the required 50-hour training course.
Since our beginning, 18 Stephen Ministers have provided one to one Christian caregiving to individuals within our congregation. In addition, we have had the opportunity to reach out and provide care beyond our walls to people receiving specialized care at NIH or others in our community who have requested this ministry. Our joy is that God is at the center of all we do. God provides the cure - Stephen Ministers provide the care.
Stephen Ministers have made themselves available for prayer in the aftermath of September 11th, during the sniper attacks, at special services of healing and compassion (for example, our "Blue Christmas" service and All Saints Sunday); and they are always present on Communion Sundays. Communion is typically served the first Sunday of the month at our morning services, and each week at our evening service. Our Stephen Ministry team meets each month for peer supervision and continuing education.
We all feel overwhelmed from time to time. Asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness, so please contact us if we can help you through a difficult time.