Thursday, April 30, 2009

Congregational Care Circles

Congregational Care Circles

The first thing to remember about the Congregational Care Circles is that if you are not in a Congregational Care Circle with a long-time friend this does not preclude you from retaining regular contact with that friend. The purpose of the Congregational Care Circles is to deepen and extend the relationships of the members of Ojai UMC within the church community, and out into the larger community. Please continue to call on your friends as regularly as you had before. We are counting on that aspect to remain active so that we might have stronger and more meaningful relationships in this community of faith.

Each member of the Congregational Care Circles are responsible for calling on each other at least once every two weeks. The group leader is only part of this, and ALL persons are to be calling ALL OTHER persons in the circles. Congregational Care Circles may do so by phone, snail mail, email, telegram, telegraph, semaphore, braille, personal visit, or group gathering, or any other means the group can imagine for staying in touch with one another.

The leaders of the Congregational Care Circle are responsible to pass any current prayers to the pastor. This may include joys of anniversary, birthday, new birth, promotions, and any other exciting event in the life of the Congregational Care Circle. Concerns are also requested to be passed along the pastor, including, but not limited to, hospitalization, prolonged illness, non-attendance at church, change in location, or family concerns. When passing information to the pastor it is requested that permission from the originator be gained to share or withhold information from the congregation at large. Individuals within a cell are able to pass along information to the pastor directly, and will be asked who else they would like to inform of this prayer request.

If the congregation at large is to be informed of the prayer request (joys or concerns), please let the pastor know so that this may be included in the pastor's personal prayer list, any church listings of prayer requests in the bulletin, and distributed to the congregation by email/phone tree.

Regarding the phone tree/email notification. Lists are to be kept updated in the church office for the current persons with email in the congregation, and those who would prefer to have calls made by phone. [Insert local prayer chain coordinator] is the current start point for the phone prayer list, and [Insert local email coordinators] are the current heads of the email notification list. Please remove any persons from the calling list who are on the email list (unless otherwise notified by the individual directly) and from the email list anyone who is on the calling list, so that we can refrain from duplication. This will therefore, decrease the number of persons who are not notified, and helps maintain an order to the prayer lists.

Additional persons may be added to individuals within a Congregational Care Circle, for their personal calling lists, so as to create a larger network of persons in the community we need to be praying with and for. If you know of someone who is not currently attending church, whether they are unable, or unwilling to attend a congregation at this time, but are interested in being shepherded by Ojai UMC we are requesting those names to be submitted to the Office. The pastor, or the Congregational Care Circle coordinators (It is suggested that members of the congregation fill this role, as well as the Pastor) will be responsible for assigning them a shepherd. Do not expect that if you bring someone forward for this shepherding that you will be their shepherd. We are confident that you are already being a shepherd to that individual, and we are trying to create a network of at least three persons in each shepherding instance, so that we know that this individual will have additional care and support from the membership of Ojai UMC, for the purposes of "Making Disciples of Jesus Christ in faith, tolerance, fellowship and spiritual growth"

This is all in an effort to revitalize the relationships of Ojai UMC that we might faithfully participate in the Vision of Ojai UMC "to be showing God's love to the community of the Ojai Valley by the 4 Rs: Reconciliation, Revitalization, Renewal and Restoration". The hope is that old friendships will be restored; constant renewal of friendships might be achieved; the revitalization of Ojai UMC in the community will be realized; and that the restoration of the Body of Christ would become lived.



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