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Training of the Pastoral Care Team

Each Team has approximately twenty hours of before starting to work. Our timeline at River Road Unitarian Church has been to select a new Team in the Fall, start training the first of the year and start work after dedication the first of May.

Karen Lindley did the initial training from First Unitarian Church of Wilmington Delaware where Karen is the director of Ministry Development. The goal of this four and a half hour work shop is to help new Pastoral Care Team members own their passion and commitment to helping others and actualizing this energy into a Pastoral Care ministry. Our Mission Statement has evolved out of the work done in this initial training.

Next we had a one-day training by Rev. Flo Gelo, a Unitarian minister with particular expertise in Pastoral Care. Flo discusses listening skills, visiting people in the hospital, issues related to death and bereavement, the religious component of Pastoral Care, the importance of confidentiality, and knowing your limits.

Finally we had another one day of training by Kathie Dietsch, a trainer for Hospice Caring. She conducted exercises on communication and listening for half a day and spent the other half discussing Hospice. In between the formal training sessions we had meetings to discuss procedures and the process of evaluating the people we were seeing to decide on how we might be helpful to them. We have also compiled a notebook of community resources.

Once the Team is activated we have on-going continuing education in the form of speakers or videotapes Our first Pastoral Care Team spent the past seven months compiling information and answers to questions that arise at the time of a death. Out of this in formation we have developed a protocol based on how to be most helpful to members of our congregation should a death occur. The protocol is in this folder. We find that ongoing education is most useful when it relates to the kinds of problems the team is facing. Death was the area about which we felt we bad the least knowledge; therefore, we spent much time researching and compiling useful information. Other areas in which we intend to get more training include: dementia, living wills, advanced medical directives, CPR, options for retirement living, bereavement, and depression.