Neighbor Care is Saint Mark’s innovative approach to looking after all its parishioners. Rather than following the conventional model of pastoral care in which a team of trained volunteers is charged with providing front-line care to those parishioners in specific need, every parishioner is encouraged to exercise their baptismal responsibility to look out for the well-being of one another.
Launched in March 2017, Neighbor Care links members of the parish to their immediate neighbors as a way of fulfilling the call to care for each other. The program is administered within clusters of 8-10 parishioners in each zip code. A cluster is formed of an immediate neighborhood and is led by one volunteer who is responsible for coordinating and sustaining the commitment of participants.
The way Neighbor Care works is very simple: each parishioner throughout the parish is asked to take a reciprocal neighborly concern for the well-being of one other person of their choice in their immediate neighborhood. This may be through a regular phone call, over coffee, catching up after the weekly service or in some other meaningful and sustained way - the tempo and nature of this care is entirely individual to suit their circumstances. The key thing is to reach out and sustain neighborly care for another.
This understanding of Christian ministry means:
- Participating in Christ’s ministry to the world on behalf of God the Father. It is incarnational ministry: it never loses sight of its divine origin or of its humane goal of communicating the grace of God to all people
- Reaching out to people in their suffering and distress. Christ mingled with people as one who desired their good by showing his sympathy for them, ministering to their needs, and inviting them to follow him.
- Being concerned with helping restore and reorient the whole person. Reorientation is a lifelong process regarded in Scripture as repentance, with restoration of the whole person as the goal.
- Building on a recognition of our own continuing need for repentance and healing. We need to be receptive to others’ perceptions about their spirituality as shown in their thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Openness to the transforming grace and truth of God as we grow toward wholeness is equally necessary.
For more information about Neighbor Care, please contact Fr. Stephen Moore.