Why Stephen Ministry at First United Methodist Church Winter Park?
Stephen Ministry is not new to our congregation and the community of Winter Park. Stephen Ministry was launched at FUMCWP on October 7, 1991 almost 30 years ago. We have had 8 trained Stephen Ministry Leaders come through this church. Robbi Walker was the first Stephens Leader in 1992, followed by: Patsy Hamlett, Vance Rains, Gail Houk, Penny Barcus, Katherine Marshall, John Armstrong and Lou Williams. This year in 2021, we will add Dr. Thomas Cullens. God is faithful to FUMCWP and is restarting Stephen Ministry after being inactive for many years. Stephen Ministry Leaders will train church members as Stephen Ministers to become lay caregivers who can step in and help pastors minister to those in need of care.
Our pastors will always be on the front lines of care, providing for the needs of the congregation. However, we all know there are more needs for care than the pastors and church staff can meet on their own.
Stephen Ministry is an extension of pastoral care by helping more people receive care, on a regular basis, for a much longer period of time, than pastors could provide alone. Stephen Ministers care for those suffering through grief, divorce, hospitalization, job loss, terminal illness, loneliness and other difficulties. Stephen Ministry gives lay people an opportunity to assist pastors in a meaningful way by carrying some of the caregiving load.
In short, Stephen Ministry helps carry out the mission of the church.