Monday, December 10, 2007

Extended Family and Pastoral Care

I had a parishioner come up to me this past Sunday, in the receiving line after church, and tell me that he was hurt no one talked to them after his daughter's knee replacement. This gentleman is an older member of the congregation. His daughter is a member of another church. I did drop the ball and didn't call to check on them after the surgery. Actually I completely forgot that their daughter was having sugergy due to two of our members being in the hospital.

I have though about this for a while and I still do not know where my pastoral care should lie. I have gone to be with a family as their mother (who is a non-member but the kids are members) was in surgery. I have even tried to meet up with a member while is non-member mother was in the hospital. Where do our pastoral care extended family lines fall?

Do you offer PC for immediate family (the chidlren or parents of members) or even more extended (grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins)? Much of this is situational but is there a rule of thumb out there people follow?


Kurt M. Boemler said...

I had a similar deal occur with a parishioner's son going in to the hospital. He lives about an hour away, but he visits his mom and comes to church with her about once a month. When he went into the hospital, she emailed me and let me know. I asked if he had a pastor who was ministering to him where he was, and she said yes. Then I told her that if she needed anything let me know, and to keep me updated.

Here's my rule of thumb, however, it's constantly under revision:

I tend to do PC to extended family if I know that they're unchurched. Otherwise, I let their pastor care for them, unless asked directly. In cases where death or serious injury of extended family members occur, then I offer PC.

But I'm a student pastor and I spend the majority of the week away from my charge (1.5 hour drive) and in class. I'm more likely to give more PC during winter and summer breaks because I'm more available.

Unknown said...

Thanks for the rule of thumb. The Unchurched part is also one of my rules as well. Thanks for the insight.