By Kevin Kindelin
Who cares? Have you ever found yourself in a place wondering what the answer to that question was? Sure you have! So have I…many times. When we find ourselves in dark, lonely corners of our lives, we tend to lose hope, the very hope that is God-given, in this life and the next. That’s our sinful nature; we think, feel, and act contrary to His Word. Graciously, He cares. He provides places where we can turn. He provides us with churches such as Immanuel and ministries filled with people filled with His love. Care Ministry is one of those ministries. It might be described as an umbrella ministry in that there are several “sub-ministries” within it.
Meal Ministry provides nutritious meals to individuals and families during difficult, challenging times like grieving or recovery. They’re prepared and delivered by congregation volunteers.
Stephen Ministry provides the individualized spiritual care and support for those who are suffering from grief, loneliness, divorce, hospitalization, disability, job loss, or one of the many other disheartening difficulties we may encounter in life’s journey. Stephen Ministers are specially trained volunteers from our membership equipped to provide one-on-one Christian care to fellow members and the community.
Griefshare is a support group ministry that helps in the healing process from the loss of a loved one. Through study and discussion, participants learn to deal with, and heal from, their pain.
Care Ministry aids families in the planning of funerals. It’s about visiting individuals and families in hospitals, skilled care facilities, and homes, as well as training new elders to do so.
Care Ministry does more than soothe our hurts and provide for the needy. It also supports, uplifts, and helps arrange joyous occasions such as baptisms and weddings. Care Ministry can be as simple as a hug or a prayer from our deaconess in the narthex, no matter what the occasion.
Deaconess Suzanne Fingerle, Immanuel’s Director of Care Ministry, has been in the business of caring since one of her earliest jobs as a nursing assistant when she was only 18. As an elder with Immanuel, I’ve received guidance and instruction from her along the way and long ago recognized that Suzanne has a heart of gold that gives her the capacity to love and care for so many people. She is a literal example of 1 John 4:19…”We love because he first loved us”. She doesn’t like to talk about herself much; have you ever heard the phrase “like pulling teeth?” I was, although, able to get her to give me a glimpse of what inspires her:
“There is no more humbling experience than to enter into the sacred places of those who need care; whether at the hospital, at home, in a nursing facility, my office or wherever they may be. As a deaconess, that is when I am truly standing on holy ground – bringing, what I pray is, hope and comfort to those who may be suffering in any way.” Suzanne also referred to 2 Corinthians 1:3-7. Look it up; there’s not enough space here to quote it entirely.
Like everything else at our church, Care Ministry depends on volunteers. Call Deaconess Suzanne at the church office. I’m sure she’ll find a caring opportunity for you.
Most of you reading this know where to turn when you wonder who cares. Just listen to Him. God tells us to turn to Him. If you’re hurting, grieving, or are in any kind of need, He just might speak to you through Care Ministry, welcoming you into His ever-loving arms. It really is that simple. To quote from John and Paul, “All you need is love.” That’s the Beatles, not the apostles. Sorry.