History of Pastoral Care

August 12th, 2008

In one of my lectures the other day we looked at the history of Pastoral Care. The lecturer used Clebsch’s and Jaeckle’s book “Pastoral Care in Historical Perspective”. I thought it was interesting that they noted eight “epochs” of time in pastoral care since the early church began.

In these eight epochs they noted that there were themes that seemed to be the focus of pastoral care during these time periods. In these periods four words kept on coming to the surface. They were sustaining, reconciling, guiding and healing.

When we look at these words and their general meanings it gives us a good place to start when looking at how we should approach pastoral care today.

1. Sustaining – support, uphold, nourish, maintain, comfort, ecourage.

2. Reconciling – restore, re-unite, patch up, make friends again, conciliate.

3. Guiding – counsel, advise, help, direct the course, point the way, inform.

4. Healing – cure, make well, make whole, sooth, restore good relationships, mend, alleviate.

I found this a useful lecture as I believe is important to learn from history and apply any lessons to the current situation we may face.

I also think it is useful to have four words to reflect upon when approaching the important task of pastoral care and caring for those around us.