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From Kevin Lee, Family Pastoral Counselor
I have been privileged to serve as a JYM staff person at Sessions continuously since 1982. I have had many wonderful opportunities to minister and attend to our precious young people during those years. As many of you know, I also lead our Yearly Meeting's JYM Elementary Retreat program for children in grades two through six, which for many young people and their parents, helps to sustain a wider sense of spiritual community between our annual Sessions. In 1999 after much soul searching and guidance by Friends I became clear to surrender into a new work at Sessions to attend to and be available for the pastoral care needs of young people and their families at Sessions. Thus my writing to you now as the Pastoral Counselor at Sessions.
Principally, my function as Pastoral Counselor is less about "program" and more about attending to the individual pastoral care needs of persons as way opens during our annual Sessions. Last year found me supporting children, parents and staff in each of our three youth programs in the following ways: First and foremost, being available to worship with and/or listen among individuals or small groups of Sessions attenders as requested at their moment of need. Responding to areas related to conflict, behavior issues, group dynamics, loss and transition and requests for spiritual guidance were typical areas needing my attention. In each instance attention to prayer and respect for confidentiality were carefully observed.
I am grateful to those Friends who continue to nurture and guide me in this work at Sessions. I pray for the continued guidance and strength that comes by the Grace of the Holy Spirit. May the Light of Christ as I know it, nourish and equip me in this work. I ask for your prayers and support, which are always important and appreciated.
Contacting me during Yearly Meeting Sessions:
Friends can contact me as needed in any of the following ways:
- Via the Information Desk at Sessions
- Call my cell at 508-287-9056. Text me using this number is especially efficient.
- Ask any of the Youth Program Coordinators to contact me during program hours.
- Leave me a note on the message board.
- Reach me during each morning's opening worship within the JYM program.
- Catch me walking about!
Contacting before or after Sessions:
I can be reached at home at 508-287-9056. My work number is confidential and good for voice mail at any hour at 508-910-1855. Or you can click here to send me an email.
Below, please see a synopsis of the role of the Pastoral Counselor. I am pleased to say that I will continue to be available for spontaneous interaction within any of the existing youth programs and for leading Capture the Flag on Sunday afternoon! Praise be!
In Spirit and Peace,
A Synopsis of the Role of Pastoral Counselor
. . .Friends seek to identify and to encourage in individual members the gift to minister or to counsel or to coordinate or to advance a discussion in the spirit of God. Thus leadership in the meeting is widely shared, and the full body profits from that which each member can contribute. —NEYM Faith & Practice, 1985, p. 110
- In the manner of Friends and as the Spirit may lead, to attend to the spiritual, emotional and pastoral care needs of young people and/or their parents, or other persons seeking guidance or support during Sessions. To remain open and prayerfully responsive to a "ministry of presence" during Sessions.
- To be available during program hours, or during non-program hours in case of crisis or emergency.
- To be available for meetings as requested by staff. Attend as requested age group clusters, or larger settings for program delivery, worship and/or worship sharing.
- The Pastoral Counselor will be available to confer with the Sessions Clerk, Ministry and Counsel Clerk, Sessions Coordinator and Youth Programs Coordinators at Sessions.
- To be a resource person for youth related activities, games and discussions related to the theme.
Adapted from Purposes and Procedures for Pastoral Counselor. Complete copy available upon request.
And just what is the definition of "pastoral counselor?" you ask:
Many models exist for this form of ministry and no singular definition fits every setting. While I personally believe that the best interpretation arises from the wordless leading of the Holy Spirit, the following explanation may be useful to some.
Pastoral Counseling is the ministry, art and discipline of communicating the inner meaning of the Spirit's presence to persons at the point of their needs. It is the manifestation in the relationship between ministering counselor and persons, either individually or among groups, of the quality of love, which points to and gives a basis in experience for, the realization of the love of God at work in our lives. —By Carol Wise (adapted by K. Lee)