First Parish in Bedford strives to be a loving community that provides support and care for each of us through both the best and the most difficult of times. Based on the first UU principle, to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person, the Lay Pastoral Care Team works with our ministers to provide a listening presence to parishioners in need. Supervised by the ministers and with guidance from lay leaders with professional expertise, these lay members connect with those who—at times of joy, sorrow, or crisis—may wish a supportive visit, advice about resources, or a friendly phone call. Parishioners may initiate contact themselves or be referred to a pastoral care team member by a minister or fellow parishioner.
Although the Lay Pastoral Care Team members do not provide therapy or mental health services, we are mindful of privacy and confidentiality. We are committed to holding information shared with us in the strictest confidence. We ask permission before sharing information with other members of the LPC team and/or with the ministers. Our intention is to provide the best support possible. In any situation where there is an immediate concern about someone’s personal safety, we will talk with them about our need to involve the professional ministerial staff.
Challenges come our way in life. Some are pretty manageable. Others leave us feeling very alone and overwhelmed, or requiring great contemplation. Circumstances that may prompt you to contact the Lay Pastoral team for support include times of: grief, illness, injury, disability, marital changes, relocation, unemployment, caregiving, isolation, job loss, inability to attend church or other difficult life situations. Likewise, times of celebration in our lives, such as a marriage, anniversary, the birth or adoption of a child/grandchild and a new opportunity, may bring stress and the need for acknowledgment and extra support.
Working in partnership with the ministerial staff, our covenant to the congregation is to:
- Be a caring presence for those experiencing times of transition, challenge, or celebration.
- Visit, call or write to people in need of support at home or in the hospital.
- Maintain contact with those unable to attend church.
- Provide a pastoral presence at the candle stand during and after the Sunday service.
- Note other needs in the community during informal conversations at coffee hour or other parish gatherings.
- Develop support groups, education forums, and discussion groups based on the needs of the community.
- Facilitate connections between ministers and parishioners as requested or needed.
- Provide support to the monthly Caring Coordinator as needed.
If you or someone you care about is in need of support, contact any of the Lay Pastoral Care Committee members or call the church office at 781-275-7994 to get in touch.
Current members of the Lay Pastoral Care Team
Sandy Boczenowski and Liz Connors, co-chairs (2023-24); Bob Batt, Nancy Daugherty, Maria Green, Laurie Groves, Marge Heckman, Rich Suval, Lisa Tohline