Pastoral care

Serving, valuing and loving others in prayer and action

Churches working together to show Jesus' love in our communities

Heart shapes made of thin wood hanging on wires

Pastoral care is about helping others, being a good neighbour and serving others in love

All our care for others is done in the name of Jesus Christ and our motivation is Jesus’ command to become the servant of all and to show, by our love, that we are his disciples. We offer this care to the community through our many services, ministries, activities and through prayer and personal contact. We never underestimate the power of prayer in the situations we come across – our experience tells us that prayer changes things, and God often transforms things to bring good out of bad. We view pastoral care not as the job of the clergy but as the vocation of the whole people of God and our parishes have either informal networks or more formal teams of pastoral visitors who people can contact when in particular pastoral need.

The pastoral care we offer

For those ill or in hospital

Being ill or in pain is often a frightening time and the prayer and support of the church can make a big difference. The Ministry team has good relationships with the chaplains at the Exeter hospitals and the hospice and can visit or arrange for you to be visited by a Chaplain if you become an in-patient.

A priest holding the hand of someone in hospital

Home Communions

As people get less physically mobile or less mentally agile, church worship can become too difficult to access. Being separated from your church family can be a real loss and we are committed as a Mission Community to maintaining the bonds of fellowship with those not able to come to the church building. Home Communion is available to anyone who would like to receive the sacrament at home, and clergy and laity visit on a monthly basis to those in their own homes or in a care home.

A priest offering holy communion of bread and wine

Home visits

Sometimes people need help to talk through an issue such as a strained relationship, a family worry, or they may have an immediate need or be experiencing a prolonged difficulty with their health or circumstances. Pastoral care is not counselling or therapy, and pastoral visitors are there to bring a Christian perspective to a situation. They may offer guidance about resources and encourage people access support and services. Visits may be about enabling people to find healing and wholeness and reconciliation with others and with God.

A priest holding an older person's hand at home

Making friends

Many people can experience loneliness at times in their lives, through a move, changed circumstances or loss. Churches are based on the idea of community and friendship and we have a particular heart for those who feel isolated or marginalised. There are many opportunities for finding friends – take a look at the fellowship page for more information.

Montage of photos of people

Prayer requests

Prayer is one of the key ways in which we offer pastoral care and we carry each other’s burdens when we pray for each other. Prayer can be private and confidential or more public as people are prayed for by name in church. Some of our churches offer healing services or prayer meetings where you can bring specific issues for prayer and the laying on of hands.

Lit candles during prayer

Bereavement support

The Church of England has been helping people mark the end of life for generations.Often people have to plan a funeral with little or no prior experience of death, whilst in the midst of sorrow and loss and the Ministry Team works closely with families when preparing a funeral either in the run up to a death or after a death has occurred. Funerals in church are very special, as the loss of a loved one is placed in the context of the promise of Jesus of eternal life and the hope and comfort that brings.

Our care and support does not end at the funeral: as a Mission Community we offer ongoing support. Most of our churches are open during the day for you to visit for a time of peace and reflection or to light a candle in memory of a loved one. There may be a Book of Remembrance marking the anniversary of someone’s death. We offer special services of remembrance around the Festival of All Souls at the end of October and at Ottery Church there is a special Christmas service aimed at those who find the season painful. There is also an opportunity to attend a bereavement course usually a year after a death.

Bouquet of flowers at funeral

Supporting those in need

As churches we care for those in need. We have a food bank in Ottery St Mary with drop off points in Ottery Church and Sainsbury’s and your local clergy can refer you to the food bank. We also support local warm spaces and the clergy can sometimes help with small grants towards heating.

Group of volunteers organising food donations onto tables at a food bank

Request pastoral care

If you or someone you know would like a pastoral visit, please complete the form below. Alternatively, if you would rather call a ministry team member, the numbers you need are on the Contact page.

Pastoral care form