A Stephen Ministry Experience
We have many memories and overall impressions from our time at the Stephen Ministry Leadership Training Seminar in Pittsburgh in early August. The Training Seminar, which was attended by 350 people, was very well organized and professionally conducted. The lecturers were very knowledgeable and drew on years of experience with the program. They conducted our sessions using a variety of methods, such as small group discussions, role playing and humor. We are now challenged to transfer our learning experience over to our responsibility as Continuing Education Leaders for our Stephen Ministry program at Emmanuel. Because the frame of reference for much of our learning was the specific program at Emmanuel, we were fortunate to share this experience with Bob and Carol Goodin. We are thankful to Emmanuel for providing us with this opportunity. Shirley and Glen Gronlund
STEPHEN MINISTER - CLAYTON BLOMSETH
My journey to Stephen Ministry actually began about 15 years ago while I was living in Dickinson, North Dakota. My church, St. John Lutheran, announced that they were planning to start a Stephen Ministry program. I read through the brochure and thought this was a ministry I may be suited for. My work required that I travel a lot, so decided I couldn't do it at that time.
Almost all of my work life was spent with John Deere Company in sales and marketing. During a nearly 40 year span, I lived in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Fargo, North Dakota; back to Minneapolis; then Billings, Montana; Glendive, Montana; Appleton, Wisconsin; Dickinson, North Dakota; and Pierre, South Dakota.
I retired at the end of December, 2001 and moved to Naples in April of 2002. Shortly after arriving in Naples, I started attending Emmanuel. I joined Emmanuel later that year because I felt very welcome, and that this church had a vibrant feel, and many good programs to help those within the church, as well as, the wider community..
Being newly retired, I had lots of time on my hands and started looking for ways to build a new life. As part of that life I wanted to do something to help others.
In all the places I have lived, I was always fairly active in the local Lutheran church. I have spent many years serving as usher, finance committees, councils, and various committees. Shortly after joining Emmanuel, I served on the audit committee, then began serving on the finance committee. I continue to serve on that committee, as well as, the Strategic Planning Committee, and serve on the roster as Assisting Minister. I also help count the offerings on Monday morning.
Well, back to my journey to Stephen Ministry. Probably six years ago, Pastor Frank had a pilot Small Group Ministry program that I attended with 8 or 10 other Emmanuel members. That lead to a Small Group Ministry Leaders class that I attended for three months the next winter. While I enjoyed the classes and the training very much, in the end I just didn't feel it was the right fit for me.
Next I found out that Pastor Frank and Parish Nurse Carol were planning a Stephen Minister class for the following winter. I signed up for the classes and had a wonderful time going through the training, getting to know and bonding with the other class members, and ultimately becoming a part of the Emmanuel Stephen Ministry group.
For almost three years now I have been calling on my Care Receiver. My care receiver recently told me I have been a tremendous blessing to him, and I certainly feel I have been richly blessed also. As a result of Stephen Ministry, I feel my faith has probably grown more than at any other time in my life.
Stephen Ministers that have been in the program are quick to tell you how richly blessed they feel to be a part of this ministry; and now I can attest to feeling the same way.
I think Christian Care Giving is the Lord's way of Blessing ALL those involved.
Stephen Ministers are members of our congregation who listen, care encourage, and provide emotional and spiritual support to people who are facing a crisis or going through tough times. The care you'll receive is confidential, free and very helpful. If you find that you are in need of a Stephen Minister, contact Carol Hartman, Parish Nurse 261-0894 or firstname.lastname@example.org.