Sometimes difficult life situations that come our way such as loss of a job, a serious illness, divorce, loss of a loved one, and more. When they do, the care of a trained Stephen Minister may be just the emotional and spiritual support you need.
Stephen Ministers are not pastors, professional counselors, therapists, or physicians. Stephen Ministers are trained and supervised lay volunteers who care.
Helpful Resources during the Holidays
As the calendar approaches Advent and the days leading up to Christmas, many in the Manchester UMC congregation may be dealing with feelings of loss of a friend or family member and/or stress associated with upcoming Christmas holiday.
The Stephen Ministry team would like to provide a few resources of comfort to those people going through difficult times during the holiday season. Click on the following links below to different articles in dealing with holiday stress:
- Stress, depression and the holidays: Tips for coping – by Mayo Clinic Staff
Stress and depression can ruin your holidays and hurt your health. Being realistic, planning ahead and seeking support can help ward off stress and depression.
- 6 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress – from healthline.com
Before the stress of the holidays sneaks up on you, read on to learn how to enjoy your most stress-free holiday season yet.
- How to Cope with Holiday Stress – Columbia University Irving Medical Center insights from Dr. Zachary Blumkin, PsyD, assistant professor of medical psychology at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons
Seasonal fatigue, stress, and anxiety may test our emotions and drain the holidays of festivity. Even our own expectations can sabotage our joy. Nearly 40% of Americans report that they become more stressed out during this time of year, according to the American Psychological Association.
- Dealing With Stress Over the Holidays – by Marianne Sicilia, MA, LMHCA
This holiday season can be different from years past. If you spend a little extra time planning ahead, you may find that you have plenty of time to decorate, shop, attend events, and relax during the holidays. Here are eight tips for dealing with stress.
- Guide to Managing Mental Health Around the Holidays from McLean Hospital, Harvard Medical School Affiliate
There are a variety of reasons why your days may not be merry and bright around the holiday season. It can be the jam-packed social calendar, deadlines at work, the loss of a loved one, sunless winter days, or all of the above.
- Holiday Depression and Stress – WebMD
The holiday season for most people is a fun time of the year filled with parties, celebrations, and social gatherings with family and friends. For many people, it is a time filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness, and anxiety.
To learn more about the Stephen Ministry or to request a Stephen Minister, please see below:
What does a Stephen Minister do?
A Stephen Minister provides one-to-one, lay (non-pastoral) Christian care.
A Stephen Minister of the same gender will meet with you privately.
Stephen Ministers are not pastors, professional counselors, therapists, or physicians. They are not authorized to give legal, medical, financial, or any advice other than Bible-based encouragement. But, Stephen Ministers are trained and supervised lay volunteers who care.
Stephen Ministers are Christians who care in the name of Christ. They are willing to talk about spiritual issues but won’t force them.
Stephen Ministers care by listening, supporting, encouraging, praying, being dependable and trustworthy, and maintaining confidentiality.
When is a Stephen Minister needed?
Stephen Ministers can help in five general types of care giving situations:
- Crisis Care
When people who have just experienced a death in the family, an emergency, the arrest of a loved one, or some other extraordinary event.
- Follow-up Care
When the crisis is over and everyone else has gone home, Stephen Ministers keep showing up. This often is the most difficult time of adjustment for an individual and the time when having someone compassionate to talk to can make a tremendous difference in moving on with life.
- Chronic Care
Stephen Ministers are effective at listening to individuals with health conditions that are never likely to improve or that are only likely to deteriorate. Often times these people are slowly forgotten by friends and family and need supplemental care.
- Preventive Care
Before things become so bad that a crisis develops, Stephen Ministers may be able to help. By serving as a good listener and allowing someone to let off steam, they can help prevent a real explosion at a later time.
- Supportive Care
Stephen Ministers can support family or loved ones of those who are going through a crisis. Supportive care often greatly facilitates improvement in the person experiencing the crisis.
How does Stephen Ministry work?
Typically, Stephen Ministers meet with individuals for an hour once a week. The relationship lasts for as long as necessary. The decision about how long is made jointly.
If you are interested in talking with a Stephen Minister, or if you believe a Stephen Minister might be able to help a family member or loved one, please fill in the form below or call the church office at 636.200.4706.
Stephen Ministers keep personal information confidential. You can feel free to share with your Stephen Minister without worry. However, there are rare occasions such as suicide, homicide, or abuse when a Stephen Minister must share confidential information in order to save a life.
Want to become a Stephen Minister?
The process to becoming a Stephen Minister begins with the completion of an online application form followed by a face-to-face interview with the Director of Congregational Care accompanied by a Stephen Leader.
Once accepted into the Stephen Minister training program candidates will complete an 18 week training program that consists of 18, 2.5 hr sessions to be held at Manchester UMC on Tuesday evenings beginning on January 3, 2023.
Beyond the initial training, Stephen Ministers agree to serve as a Stephen Minister for a minimum of 2 years and attend Supervision Sessions that are held twice a month on the 2nd and 4th Tues of the month at 6:30 pm at Manchester UMC.
How do I request a Stephen Minister?
Please complete the form below. Someone from the Stephen Ministry will be in contact with you.
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