Stephen Ministers today are trained to provide one-on-one care for people who are in pain. The pain can come from almost anything...from the loss of a loved one to coping with a loved one's addiction to dealing with major life changes like empty nest or retirement or divorce. The support Stephen Ministers provide is primarily through listening, encouragement, and prayer.
It is a wonderful ministry, and I'm so privileged to have become a part of it three years ago.
During Advent, our Stephen Ministry group reminds our congregation that not everyone is happy this time of year. For some, the joy of the season feels completely out of tune with their sadness, grief, or fear. We encourage others to pay attention to the needs of those who might be silently suffering, and we hand out ornaments during Advent to promote awareness.
These ornaments include a verse or saying to encourage those who are suffering. Every year, we get requests for additional ornaments for friends or extended family. It's truly a wonderful gift.
This year's ornament is below. We will add a Bible verse on the back later (still deciding that part), but here's the design.
|2 1/8" x 5 1/2"|
Our group will make about 250 of these this year. The logistics for this year's ornaments are pretty simple. A single sheet of card stock cut into half and then quarters yields 8 ornaments, which are flat enough and big enough to also serve as bookmarks. A corner rounder and small circle punch are the only two tools needed. We'll print the verse on avery labels and stick them on the back.
I like the way these ornaments hang, with the peace flowing down to the bottom of the ornament just as peace flows down from heaven in the form of Jesus Christ.
As you begin your preparations for the holidays, I ask you to take a few minutes to think of friends or family who may need a little extra care this season. A number of you have shared with me your losses and grief from this year, the fears you face right now, and challenges that are weighing you down. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to pray for you. But please don't deny that privilege to those closest to you, those who can hug you in real life. Reach out and get help when you need it.
And if you want a Stephen Minister, call your church and ask for a referral. Not all churches have active programs, but most know how to get in touch with one.
Peace to you all this holiday season.
stamps: Papertrey Peaceful Snowflakes, Wreath for all Seasons
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: corner rounder, circle punch, craft floss, avery labels, printer