These past three weeks at Manchester have been so wonderful. We’ve been thinking about who we are as a congregation, what we do and why we do it, and how our mission is being lived out in our actions and our words. Together we have celebrated our ministries of Faith Formation, Missions and Justice, and Generosity.
And now, as we approach the fourth week of the “We Are Manchester” worship series, we will focus on the ministry of Congregational Care.
One of the most meaningful aspects of being members of the Body of Christ is the encouragement and support we can offer one another. Every one of us goes through times of transition. Birth, illness, injury, and death are the most obvious, but there are others. A job loss, a move, graduation, a wedding … life transitions are numerous, and can be difficult to navigate.
So we show up for one another. We care for one another. And Manchester UMC has a number of ways to facilitate this kind of care. At Manchester, the people of the congregation care for one another in remarkable ways – Stephen Ministry, Hospital Visitation Team, Prayer Shawl Ministry, Greeting Card Ministry, Hospitality Team – the people involved with these ministries are the heart and soul of our Congregational Care at Manchester UMC.
These teams are guided by the gentle, compassionate leadership of Rev. Dr. Mary Beth Hartenstein. Pastor Mary Beth works with dozens of Manchester members to equip them to provide care with grace and empathy. Our congregational care volunteers come alongside people during those times of transition, not trying to “fix the problem,” but simply being a calm, caring presence in the midst of it.
Ultimately, God is the One who provides for our needs. As the familiar Psalm says, “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. God makes me lie down in green pastures, and leads me beside still waters” (Psalm 23). The people who give of themselves as a part of our Congregational Care ministry are truly allowing God to work through them.
I hope you will all be in worship this Sunday as we celebrate this powerful ministry. See y’all in church!