Stephen Ministry is a confidential, one-on-one, listening ministry that is designed to help people through the ups and downs of life: grief, life changes, loss, and physical and spiritual setbacks. Stephen Ministers are available for times of loss or life transition. Stephen Ministers are not clergy, but have had 50 hours of training in Christian caregiving.
Our congregation works with other congregations in Stillwater to train new Stephen Ministers. These ecumenical trainings are a bridge among our different faith communities, strengthening our common witness to the healing and reconciling love of Jesus Christ. Training for new Stephen Ministers begins October 3, 2022. Participating churches include First Presbyterian Church, First United Methodist Church, St. Francis Catholic Parishes, Sunnybrook Christian Church, Zion Lutheran Church and Lost Creek Methodist Church.
By Denise Rex, Stephen Minister
You may wonder, “What happens during that hour?” There is listening. And sharing thoughts, feelings, and worries, all in a confidential setting. When I first became a Stephen Minister, I thought, “How can talking help so much? How do time and listening make such a change?” My Care Receiver was equally astonished and is so grateful that the process does work, that she has given her permission for us to share her thoughts with you:
“I was so hurt by my loss, so full of grief, that I knew I needed help or I might not make it. So, I asked for a Stephen Minister. I remember walking into the church, seeing her sitting there and thinking, “What are we going to talk about for an hour?” But I did talk: we introduced ourselves and then I talked about myself, my spirituality, and my grief. She asked if she could pray and what I needed that prayer to sound like, to be about. Then we did the same thing the next week and the next. Sometimes, when we meet, I just talk about anything. Then after a while, I get around to painful feelings. Sometimes, as I talk, I find out what’s really hurting me. And I found out from my Stephen Minister that I am not alone—others have felt like I do and made it. It is frustrating, though, because you can’t manipulate time, you just have to live through it. But I had someone to go through it with me who never judged my emotions and never talked about them with anyone else. That was important to me. Grief used to be the first thought of my day. Now I can remember my loved one without also feeling deep loss. I tell everyone, if you are hurting, just talk! You don’t have to be eloquent or even use full sentences. Just say, “I feel this.””