Friends General Conference

Together we nurture the spiritual vitality of Friends

Pastoral Care

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What do we mean by pastoral care?

We seek to be present for our members and their families in whatever ways we can in times of both joy and trouble. If you feel you want some support in your spiritual life or in your life situation, we will try to help. This might include (but isn’t restricted to):

  • help making an important decision or getting clear about some situation in your life;
  • a change in your spiritual life arising from a mystical experience or inward prompt to undertake something, or confusion or doubt regarding your faith or spiritual practice;
  • a problem with a relationship, especially your relationship with another member or with the meeting;
  • a decision to get married;
  • help preparing your final affairs; or
  • just a need for an ear to listen about whatever.

How do we do pastoral care?

We don’t have a professional and formally trained priest or minister responsible for such care—we do what we can for each other and we coordinate this care through the Membership Care Committee.

About Membership Care Committee and more about pastoral care in our meeting.

Some members of the committee may, in fact, have had formal training in social work or some other form of counseling, but all the members of the committee serve because they feel called to the work and we feel they have some spiritual gifts for the service. When a person’s needs or situation require more professional attention than we feel we can provide, we help the member find the professional care they need.

How do you get pastoral care?

The committee assigns a member of the committee to be a pastoral care contact person for every member in the meeting. These committee members try to check in on their assigned members occasionally and they are available at any time to talk. If you do not know who your membership care contact is, please call or email the meeting office at 215-241-7260 or office[at]cpmm[dot]org. It’s not a perfect system, but we do really want to be there for you.

Clearness committees

Quakers have developed an amazingly effective tool for peer-to-peer pastoral care called a clearness committee. Clearness committees take several different forms depending on the need, but the basic idea is to combine waiting worship with spirit-led questions, deep listening to the answers, and loving reflection about what we've heard. Feel free to ask someone about clearness committees if you want to know more. Or you can visit some Quaker websites with resources on clearness committees: