With the ever mounting stresses of our daily lives and pressures of the world we live in, we need to monitor our spiritual wellness now more than ever. The Congregational Care ministry at Myers Park Presbyterian offers care for the soul through hospitality, nurturing, and encouraging community. “The scope of our work changes yearly; however, Deacons make hundreds of visits to our homebound and ill members during the year,” says Deborah Conner, Associate Pastor for Congregational Care. “We have 15 active Stephen Ministers serving right now, but we have trained nearly 200 since 1991”. Now with the addition of Marina Luckhoo as Faith Community Nurse, the Congregational Care Ministry will be able to help over 700 people a year navigate through a variety of needs and connect them to resources like housing, meals and medical care in the community.
Neal Deaton knows the value of the Congregational Care Ministry very well. A few years ago, Neal faced an obstacle he never thought he would have to: the passing of his wife Carey after her life-long battle with cystic fibrosis. Upon Carey’s passing, Neal found himself the sole caregiver of their young son Parker, and with no family in the city, he was in need of the love and support that only his church family could provide. He was assigned a Care Team and Stephen Minister who stepped in to help wherever needed. “I would be remiss not to mention the steadfast support I received from my Stephen Minister during this time – he was always there to listen and pray with me and for me,” Neal says. He also gives thanks for the church’s meal ministry, as well as the Weekday School and its role in caring for Parker and molding his early faith formation.
Today, Neal and Parker are both thriving thanks to the support of the congregation. Parker is a vibrant six-year-old, and Neal leads his Cub Scout Den in Troop 55. Neal serves on the Weekday School Board and participates in two Bible study groups, the “Weekday School Dads” and “Men of Purpose” which have been vital to his continued spiritual wellness. Neal’s story is a perfect example of the gift of stewardship at work, and how sharing our resources directly impacts the lives of those we come in contact with every day. “By sharing your financial resources as our family will continue to do, you are directly participating in the life and ministry of Myers Park Presbyterian,” Neal says. “We all need support at critical points in our lives and are called by God to love and care for one another.”