Reflecting on my pastoral care studies

August 5th, 2011

The last few days I have been reflecting on my pastoral care units I did back in 2008. I have been thinking about what pastoral care is and how it changes over time and depending on the situation you find yourself in.

One of of the best definitions we learned is “Pastoral Care is the cure and care of souls”. I think it says a lot. It is about caring for people when things are going well and helping them get back to being well when they are not.

I have also been reflecting on how over time pastoral care subtly changes. History showed that it fell in to one of four main categories – sustaining, reconciling, guiding and healing.

Depending on if the nation was going through wartime, peace, a health crisis or time of heresy the focus changed.

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.

Looking back the pastoral care units I did were very helpful. I am really glad I took good notes and blogged about some of the main ideas. It means I can go back and read them today!

God Bless,

Dave