Care Assistance Team are lay members of UUAA selected for their capacities to listen deeply, non-judgmentally, and empathetically, their healthy interpersonal boundaries, and their ability to be present with those who are experiencing the stress and uncertainty of life transforming events, and loss. Care Assistants are trained to listen, work with people to clarify what assistance they need, and to coordinate practical assistance and social support from church volunteers, friends, and acquaintances. Care Assistants may also provide support and respite for care givers.
Care Assistants staff a Pastoral Care table in the social hall Sunday mornings to receive news of pastoral needs and to support written expressions of sympathy, support and celebration by congregants for others in the congregation on cards. When appropriate, Care Assistants refer people to the pastoral care minister or other ministers for additional help or referral to assistance outside the congregation.
Each Care Assistant works with one to three people from the congregation at a time and, through name tag inserts, make themselves visible and available for conversations when at church on Sunday mornings. Care Assistants attend monthly meetings with the pastoral care minister and Care Assistance Team Leader for information sharing, support, and ongoing training.
Care Assistants are appointed by the pastoral care minister in consultation with other ministers of the church and the Care Assistance Team Leaders for two-years terms. Because this ministry may involve work with vulnerable people, background checks administered by an outside agency are required of those selected to serve in this position. The total time commitment is five to ten hours a month.
Care Assistance Team Leader - Volunteer Role Description
In addition to the characteristics desired in Pastoral Care Advocates, Team Leaders are selected for their connectedness to the congregation, leadership, judgment, reliability, and administrative abilities.
Care Assistant Team Leaders:
- Are members in good standing of the congregation.
- Schedule, convene, and help lead Care Assistant meetings every six to eight weeks.
- Assist with recruiting, selection, training, and support of Care Assistants.
- Assist with coverage of the Pastoral Care intake/emergency phone and email channels.
- Function as a Care Assistant in being present to those in need.
Care Assistant Team Leaders are appointed by the pastoral care minister in consultation with other ministers of the church and other Care Assistance Team Leaders for two-years terms. Because this ministry may involve work with vulnerable people, background checks administered by an outside agency are required of those selected to serve in this position. The total time commitment is ten to 20 hours a month.
Members of this ministry team provide caring, gracious hospitality to grieving families at a critical time. By being present to those celebrating the life of a loved one at its conclusion, members of this team deepen their appreciation of the tenderness of our time here, the meaning of our mortality, and the qualities of living that are of enduring value. Support from this ministry team frees the attention of the presiding minister to focus on the pastoral needs of the family and, with our professional music staff, on leading a memorial service of distinctive quality.
Team members serve as ushers for the memorial service by assisting the family with setup before the service in the lobby and sanctuary, welcoming guests, helping them to their seats as needed, handing out orders of service, opening and closing the sanctuary and social hall doors when appropriate, seating late comers, helping people find restrooms, coat rooms and other forms of hospitality as needed, and being ready to respond to emergencies that might arise with knowledge of first-aid kits, fire extinguishers, fire alarms, exit routes, and other emergency response and disaster plans.
In support of receptions members of this team help by arranging food for presentation on the serving tables, preparing the reception room by putting out table linens, food, drinks and eating utensils, during the reception by restocking serving tables, and after the reception by assisting with general cleanup, disposition of left-overs, and storage or laundering of table linens as needed.
For some receptions the team may procure refreshments on a budget provided by the family. At others the team may work in support of an outside caterer the family has hired, helping with the tasks outlined above as well as orienting the caterer to the specifics of our kitchen.
Memorial services provide first experiences of Unitarian Universalism for many people. Therefore, through this ministry, team members support sharing our UU religion with others. In our memorial services some of our values and distinctive UU approaches to finding and creating meaning in life are particularly visible. Also, income from memorial rental fees from outside families supports our general congregational operating budget which helps us better achieve our mission in the world together. A capable volunteer ministry team supporting memorial services helps make our congregation an attractive option for non-congregant memorial services.
Participation on the Memorial Support Team is open to all who would like to provide caring, gracious hospitality to grieving families. Training for the various roles within the team is provided. Members of the team are expected to assist with three to five or more memorials a year as they are able. Assisting at a given memorial service takes about three hours for most team roles.
The work of the Memorial Support Team is coordinated by the volunteer Memorial Support Team Coordinator, who is supported in turn by the Welcome Ministries Coordinator, Hannah Hotchkiss, and minister responsible for pastoral care, Rev. Mark Evens.
Memorial Support Team Coordinators
[This is an extended vision for this position that goes beyond what has been expected in the past or committed to by the person presently serving. Recruiting of one or more additional coordinators may be necessary to make this enlarged role feasible.]
Memorial Support Team Coordinators work with the Welcome Ministries Coordinator and the minister responsible for pastoral care to recruit and train members of the Memorial Support Team.
On an on-going basis, the coordinators are responsible for:
• Receiving requests for assistance from families working with a UUAA minister on a memorial to be hosted by our congregation.
• Notifying team members of up-coming memorial services
• Coordinating team member participation so that an adequate number of volunteers are present to support each memorial service/reception
• Coordinating team members present at a given memorial to best cover the various roles
• Helping the family plan refreshments, by suggesting types and quantities of foods and beverages, a possible budget; if appropriate helping procure planned refreshments
• During the memorial and reception, being a communication hub for the custodian in charge of furniture set-up, the presiding minister, and family members responsible for the memorial and reception to help address any last minute issues and coordinate volunteer response to needs
Memorial Support Team Coordinators are members in good standing of the congregation, have good interpersonal, organizational, and leadership skills. Use of email is important for sharing and coordinating plans.
Memorial Support Team Coordinators are recruited, trained and supported by the Welcome Ministries coordinator and the minister responsible for pastoral care in collaboration with the other Memorial Support Team Coordinators.