Sunday, February 19, 2017

Pastoral Visitation

When one speaks of pastoral visitation, people often think of a minister doing the rounds drinking cups of tea. The reality may be quite different, at least in urban ministry. Most of my own visitation has been to people in crisis, and that is visitation that a minister will often do quietly and "invisibly". People won't know about it. Also, a single crisis may involve many visits. There is, too, a kind of pastoral visitation, where the minister pays visits for the purpose of being a help: chasing up authorities, for instance, seeing a landlord, or accompanying someone to the morgue. OBSERVATION: To keep the routine "cups of tea" visitation going, I have had the simple rule: one routine visit each week to a member who didn't need it or expect it. This might seem little, but the rest of the visitation is major, and it is tough. (In Congregationalism, I should perhaps note, there is little formal separation between minister, Church officers, and members. Ideally, pastoral visitation is shared by all).

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