HP Reformed Church will host program on strategies for expanding care-giving initiatives

The Reformed Church of Highland Park (RCHP) is hosting a half-day workshop on Saturday, February 28, for New Jersey Christian congregations who want to learn about  the Stephen Ministry, a program to enhance/expand care-giving initiatives for people in need. The information session, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the church (19-21 South Second Avenue), will feature presenters from Stephen Ministries, a national program based in St. Louis, Missouri. The workshop will explain and illustrate the Stephen Ministry way of training and organizing laypeople to provide quality one-on-one Christian care to those experiencing life’s difficulties.

RCHP Pastor Stephanie Kaper-Dale said, “We currently have 10 congregational members serving as Stephen Ministers at RCHP. As a pastor, I’m grateful for our congregation’s Stephen Ministers. They offer crucial ongoing care and support to  people in our congregation and throughout our community. We are happy to be selected as a host congregation for this workshop this year. We invite our neighbors to come and see how your congregation can become equipped to offer high-quality care to more people in need.”

Stephen Ministry trainers know that faith leaders want to provide care to everyone who needs it but, increasingly they realize they cannot do it alone. Laypeople carefully trained and supervised by church leadership can care for people who are experiencing life’s problems, such as grief, divorce, financial stress, relocation, job loss, hospitalization, cancer, loneliness, or chronic illness. Laypeople will learn active listening skills and when it may be necessary to make a referral for professional help. Since 1975, the Stephen Ministry program has been equipping laypeople for Christ-centered care in their congregations. The founder and executive director of Stephen Ministries, is Kenneth C. Haugk, a Lutheran pastor and clinical psychologist. More than 12,000 churches from 170 denominations have trained over 600,000 laypeople as Stephen Ministers, according to their materials.

The schedule for the Highland Park based workshop is as follows:

—Registration, refreshments, 8 a.m.

—Education and training sessions, 9 a.m.             Session 1: Ministering to those experiencing grief – a sample of Stephen Ministry training on grief that will teach skills you can use right away

Session 2: An Introduction to Stephen Ministry – discover how to bring Stephen Ministry to your congregation

Session 3: How to care in a distinctively Christian way – learn to integrate faith into everyday caring and relating

Pastors and church staff, lay leaders and decision makers, and caregivers and care-giving teams must pre-register. There is a fee– $15 per person or $50 for a group of four or more from one congregation. To register, visit www.stephenministries.org/workshop. If you have questions or would like to register by phone, call Stephen Ministries at (314) 428-2600 (8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Central Time).

For information locally, contact Rev. Stephanie Kaper-Dale at RCHP, 19-21 South Second Avenue, Highland Park, NJ 08904, church office phone (732) 249-7349 or via email rchpoffice@juno.com.


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