Stephen Ministry – Care Receiver and Care Giver

As a Care Receive 

My first experience with a Stephen Minister was when attend-ing a Divorce Support Group. The group was facilitated by a caring compassionate leader who uplifted and spiritually nur-tured the members of the group. She understood that divorce not only impacts you emotionally and mentally but can shatter you to the depths of your soul. During the darkest times you question where God is in all the confusion and misery. The group leader, who had been trained as a Stephen Minister, provided patient and loving reassurance that God was with us though all the heartbreak. 

Years later my family suffered the loss of a brother whose death was sudden and unexpected from a heart attack. Within months my moth-er, who had dementia and had been in a nursing home for several years, died. I was the administrator to both estates which became complicated by the lack of wills and a life estate agreement. It wasn’t long before I recognized I needed the support of a Stephen Minister to help me through the firestorm of complicated property rights and bick-ering siblings. For the second time a trained Stephen Minister provid-ed the loving reassurance that God was with me. We prayed for God to give me the wisdom to make the right decisions for my family and prayed that God would give me patience. Most importantly, we prayed that I would know and feel God’s presence. Like the first time a Ste-phen Minister provided that spiritual presence so desperately needed. 

As a Care Giver 

I was so impressed with my experience with Stephen Ministry that I wanted to learn more about the program; what training was involved, did you have to have special skills or gifts? I wanted to know if I had what it took to be a Stephen Minister because I had a strong desire to “pay it forward.” I learned the training was well structured and organized by the Stephen Ministry home offices in St. Louis. As far as hav-ing special talents, God’s presence in the program provided those gifts. What I learned was you get back more than what you put into the Ministry. Confidentiality does not allow me to discuss any care giving relationship; know that these relationships have enriched my life beyond any expectations. Ask any of St. Matthew’s amazing Stephen Ministers and they will tell you their experiences as care givers have blessed there lives more than words can express. 

A class is being planned to train Stephen Ministers. If you are interested, please contact Sue Kuhn. The ministry needs you. 

—Trish Myers