Pastoral Care

Purpose Statement of Pastoral Care Ministry:

Pastoral care is at the heart of the church's mission. To be fully and intentionally available to one another is the calling of this ministry of caring, in a way that…

 Lifts up the ministries of feeding (i.e. Loaves and Fishes), praying (i.e. Prayer Chain and other prayer groups), visiting (i.e. pastoral visitors), sharing the Eucharist (LEVs), nurturing (i.e. Prayer Shawls, Greeting Cards), welcoming (i.e. Welcome Ministry), supporting and mentoring.

 Walks alongside, listens, and practices presence with one another.

 Acknowledges the rich tapestry of people who are part of the St Paul’s community, and respects the dignity of all persons regardless of where they are in their lives and in their faith.

 Encourages and empowers discipleship through the expression of love for one another.

 Recognizes that pastoral care is not the sole responsibility of clergy, but is a commission to every member of Christ’s body, the church. So that, in living the Gospel Message as followers of Jesus, the ministry of being fully present to one another is part of the fabric of our lives together.

 Contact Rev Marsha Vollkommer to get involved.

Contact Rev Marsha Vollkommer to get involved.

Welcome Ministry

Visitors&Newcomers.jpg

The Welcome Ministry leads in extending the hand and heart of Christian friendship to God’s children at St. Paul’s. Welcome encompasses us all – old and new. There are many avenues open to those who choose Welcome as a ministry. Planning gatherings to meet-and-greet newcomers, helping with planning and maintenance of the Welcome table, and assisting newcomers in their acclimation to our congregation are just a few of the ways we may find to be present to one another.

Contact: The Rev. Marsha Vollkommer, marsha@stpaulsbellingham.org

Loaves and Fishes

 Jess Bandstra

Jess Bandstra

Loaves and Fishes is a group of individuals who make and deliver wholesome meals to those in need within our community. You can be a cook, a deliverer, or both!

A simple online calendar (called MealTrain) is used to organize and deliver meals to the recipients which makes coordinating easy and efficient. Jess Bandstra (pictured below) has been leading this Ministry, currently ten people, for over five years. She says, "I love this ministry because it is a reasonably easy way to provide very practical help for those in need. My family has been a recipient of meals after the births of each of my three children and we have appreciated it profusely!".

One recipient of Loaves and Fishes shared her personal story with us:

"In November, 2016, I had just left St. Joseph's Hospital after a week of treatment for severe pneumonia, anemia and heart valve problems. When I arrived home with my husband, who was also ill, we realized that we needed reinforcement as we struggled to recover health and strength. What better source of help than our own St. Paul's community, and especially Loaves and Fishes, a team of families who volunteer to provide nourishing meals! We called Jess Bandstra and she immediately contacted the network. Each evening for the next week a delicious, nourishing and appetizing meal arrived at our front door. After we had recovered and regained some independence we realized what strong bonds of friendship and support are there, in St. Paul's, in times of need. God is good!"

Perhaps, it is not just solely the food that is being shared but it is in the sharing itself. One member stated, "I am no great cook but when I prepare and share food with someone, I hope they feel like someone cares, that God cares."

We see the goodness in Jesus performing the miracles of feeding the 5,000 and then 4,000, and these miracles continue to be performed today long after the original loaves and fishes were consumed. Helping someone who is going through an illness, or a family with a new baby, or the loss of a loved one, or other life transitions and difficulties are some of the places where the miracles of feeding, and being fed, continue the work of Christ.

Anyone who is interested in joining or in need of or know someone who is in need of nourishing meals while in transition, contact: Jess Bandstra at bandstras@mac.com.

We also welcome one-time contributions of meals to the Great Hall freezer. These should be well-labeled and in a container you do not need returned.


Parish Nurse Program

Parish Nursing/Faith Community Ministry is a program that focuses on promoting health within faith communities. This is done by ministering to the parishioners’ physical, emotional and spiritual needs.

Far more than just “a  nurse in the church,” the parish nurse is an experienced registered nurse with additional training. He/she serves as part of the Ministerial Team to promote wellness and spiritual care within the congregation and the community. The nurses sponsor a blood pressure clinic on the first Sunday of each month.

Contact:  Holly Telfer or Ryan Knight

Prayer Shawl Ministry

It is important to be able to create a time and a space to be with God. A prayer shawl is such an aid. Wrapped around you, or draped over one’s head, it “creates” a sacred space in which to meditate and pray. Shawls can be large enough so an adultcan wrap themselves and their child inside, or as small as scarves that elderly folks can manage. The end result is the same - a comforting space for God and God’s blessings. 

The Prayer Shawl ministry at St. Paul's continues to help people. Shawls have been made and delivered to parishioners, friends and family, and new friends in need. The shawls are sometimes knitted by just one person and others are the work of many hands.

Two prayer shawl bags are in circulation that contain yarn, needles, prayers, a list of knitters, instructions, a gift card to sign and all the information you need to be a part of this ministry.

Once a shawl is completed, it is returned to the church office where it is blessed and then delivered. The shawl makers wrap prayers into each stitch. They promise that these prayers will continue after the shawl has been presented.

Contact Linda Pierce for more information.

The St. Paul’s Prayer Shawl Ministry, which began in the fall of 2004, continues to help those known to us who are in need of comfort and hope. Knitters knit the shawls prayerfully. The finished shawls are then blessed at the altar during one of our services. Volunteers deliver the shawl in a gift bag along with a card from St. Paul’s.

Since 2004, nearly 120 shawls have been made and delivered, providing a comforting blanket of peace. Finished shawls can be turned in to St. Paul’s at any time. We like to keep some stored for emergencies, and often have an assortment of colors.

If you know of someone who would benefit from receiving a prayer shawl, write your name, the recipient’s name, and contact information on a prayer request form found in the pew, contact one of our priests, or contact the church office.

If you would like to be a knitter for this ministry, brochures can be found on the rack in the great hall with a pattern for a prayer shawl.

Need supplies? Contact us.

Are you interested in knitting something smaller, like a hat or scarf? The Alms Ministry would also be happy to receive prayerfully knitted items.

Would you like to help but don’t knit? We gratefully accept donations for yarn, knitting needles and gift bags.

For more information, check out the brochures in the Great Hall or contact Linda Pierce .

Knitting is a meditative exercise as well as a practical one. For those involved in the worldwide shawl ministry, knitting is also spiritual, a tangible way to wrap prayers into each stitch.
— Linda Pearce