Pastoral Care Training Pack


0.1       Scripture

0.2       How to Use This Pack

This Pastoral Care Training Pack provides a set of resources for preparing people who offer themselves for pastoral service within a structured setting under the direct supervision of an Ordained or Licensed Minister; usually this will be the Rector or Parish Priest but it might be a Deacon or Reader. The needs of parishes will differ as will the talents of those who offer themselves and the objective, therefore, is to match the training offered with the agreed Ministry Specification; if, for example, the Parish Priest wishes to undertake all visits to bereaved people personally, there is no point including this nit in training although, of course, it should be referred to so that team members are aware of their responsibility to refer.

The pack is divided into ten Units but any of these may be omitted, compressed or expanded according to need.

The ten Units are:

  1. Overview - Beginning The Journey
  2. Listening - The God Who Listens
  3. Suffering - The Suffering Servant
  4. Care - My Brother's Keeper
  5. Grief - Jesus Wept
  6. Relationships - Love One Another
  7. Money - the Lilies of The Field
  8. Worry - Martha & Mary
  9. Prayer & Scripture - Watch and Pray
  10. Reflection - Journey's End and A New Beginning

Each Unit is divided into seven Sections

  1. Scripture & Worship - provides references for one or more passages for study and/or discussion; and provides a worship outline comprising a set of Intercessions and a Collect;
  2. Introduction - Offers a general overview of the topic and some high level outcomes;
  3. Key Concepts - Provides definitions and short discussions on the meaning of terms to provide a common framework for discussion and understanding;
  4. Presentation - Provides a range of choices on how a presenter may go about handling the topic which might be through:
    • A brief theoretical presentation with graphics
    • a discussion of case histories
    • A commentary on the Scripture Readings with contemporary applications
  5. Case Sketches - A variety of typical case studies will be offered for individual or group consideration;
  6. Response - The provision of a series of options for structuring trainee reaction which might include:
    • A plenary response to set questions
    • Working in pairs
    • Writing an individual reflection
    • Role playing.
  7. Resources - Suggestions for further reading or further work.

This pack is an on-going project. Comments and suggestions, particularly in the area of Resources, are most welcome and should be sent to:

The expected outcome at the end of the course is that candidates should feel competent and be judged competent to undertake the Ministry Specification agreed by the Pastoral Care Team Leader.

0.3       Recruitment

Being recruited is not a right and not being recruited is not a sign of failure or rejection. Every candidate should be interviewed sympathetically by the team leader and provided with objective but sensitive feedback; those with other gifts should be constructively channelled into other activities. Minimum requirements for candidates might include:

Further minimum requirements might be developed to match the Ministry Specification (see Section 6. below).

0.4       Key Concepts

Throughout we will refer to the service being offered as a Pastoral Care Service

We will also refer to a team offering care because:

0.5       Rationale

  1. There are many people in every parish with a variety of pastoral gifts which can be offered in service to God and the community. Every church member has a unique set of gifts and to lead full Christian lives we need to be able to express ourselves by using these gifts for the common good. Providing a pastoral care service is one way of meeting the needs of those with certain gifts and those who have a need of them.
  2. Many Ministers are unable to provide the kind of service they would like because of a lack of time and an increasing spread of responsibilities as parishes merge and many ministers also feel that they need help to cover the whole range of pastoral requirements.
  3. Far from being a device for freeing the minister from responsibility, it will transfer the role from one confined entirely to direct service to one of continuing to provide that service within the framework of a facilitated team.
  4. The provision of a Pastoral Care Service is an addition to and not a replacement for pastoral care provided on an informal basis parishioners
  5. We face a particularly challenging set of circumstances to which a structured approach is appropriate:
    • People are living longer and often spend decades living alone in indifferent or poor health;
    • Families face ever more complex challenges in rearing children in a secular society;
    • In an apparent age of affluence people are worried about money, crime, family breakdown and substance abuse.
  6. Although as a Church we are here for everyone, we are particularly conscious that we must nurture every individual and sector in our church community.

0.6       Outline Ministry Specification

We assume that the team will be led by an Ordained Minister (usually the Rector or Parish Priest) but some teams may be led by professional workers. We recognise that some teams may be run collectively but we have not provided for this in guidance on structure. 

As has already been noted, Ministry Specifications will vary but will probably include some of the following; to:

  1. Undertake visits to individuals and families on behalf of the church family as an accredited provider of pastoral care, particularly those who are:
    • Housebound
    • Sick
    • Bereaved
    • Lonely
    • Listen
    • Provide comfort and support
    • Act as a link with other parishioners, parish activities and the wider community
    • Pray.
  2. Administer home Communion (this requires a separate and additional training course).
  3. Report assessment of need to the service team leader.
  4. Attend service team meetings for worship, supervision, feedback and mutual support.
  5. Keep account of expenses.
  6. Conform with all legislation and regulations of the Church and the civil authorities, particularly with respect to contact with children.

0.7       The Christian Ethic

Christians do not possess an ethical monopoly but we have a distinctive approach to caring for people because we are all children of God who disclosed himself in Jesus Christ, our brother, whose teaching we follow; we therefore serve in prayerful obedience to God's will by loving all his children.

0.8       Training Organisation

We are asking people to volunteer for training to provide a credible service and so we must match our ambition in the way the course is organised.

  1. Training materials should be pleasing and clear; should be provided in a timely manner; and additional material should only be provided at the last minute if it is intended to elicit an unprepared reaction.
  2. The training environment should be informal, comfortable, flexible, well ventilated, heated and lit.
  3. Participants should be clearly told what is expected of them, how the training will be provided, how their performance will be assessed and what steps will be taken if they begin to struggle; and no major departures from these statements should be made in the course of the training.
  4. The training style should be informal but business-like, with well prepared presentations clearly delivered; all participants should have an opportunity to participate and no individual, group or opinion should be allowed to dominate.
  5. All reasonable accessibility requirements should be met for participants requiring them.

0.9       Resources