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Pastor Care Leader

As defined by Canons: The pastoral care minister serves the congregation’s caring ministries among members and in the local community. The pastoral care minister shares in identifying needs for pastoral care, responding to grief or crisis and coordinating efforts of the faith community to respond. The pastoral care minister is a confirmed adult communicant in good standing and functions under the direction of the member of the clergy who exercises oversight of the congregation. Note: In Northern California, they have implemented this licensed lay ministry as a Healing Minister.

  • Personal qualities

    Able to work collaboratively with other members of the parish and diocese for the good of the community 

    Has basic knowledge of Holy Scripture 

    Is a good listener 

    Understands necessity of confidentiality 

    Seeks and listens for significant thoughts, ideas, and feelings of the person or group 

    Articulates thoughts and ideas in a manner that is comforting, clear, and concise 

  • Formation considerations prior to licensing

    Contents and background of the Holy Scriptures (knowledge of the general historical outline and content of the Old and New Testaments) 

    The ability, when presented with a case study of a human situation, to bring together the resources of scripture, tradition, and reason in fashioning a Christian, ethical, and pastoral response 

    The ability to respond to case studies in ways that show a clear understanding of the realities of the modern world 

    Understands parameters of pastoral care (as compared to counseling or therapy) 

    Understands boundaries in relation to pastoral care 

  • Elements of training

    Pastoral care minister training includes participation in required, individual tracks:  

    • Holy Scripture – This course will include the general historical outline and content of the Old and New Testaments and Apocrypha with emphasis on how the Bible is relevant to the church today. 
    • BCP, Lesser Feasts & Fasts, Book of Occasional Services – This course will examine the liturgies and special services found in these books as well as how and when it is appropriate to use them. 
    • Pastoral Theology – This course will provide the theological context for the church’s pastoral ministries, including a review of the biblical witness to Jesus’ ministry and a review of Baptismal theology. 
    • Pastoral Practice – This course will provide instruction on the skills necessary for effective pastoral ministry, including listening skills. There will be an opportunity for practice of active listening as one of the critically important areas. 
    • Pastoral Challenges – This course will cover some of the more common pastoral situations, e.g. hospitalization, aging, grief, death and dying. 
    • Pastoral Oversight – This course will include description of the church’s system of oversight of pastoral ministries. Licensing, supervision and ethical standards will be discussed. 
    • Spiritual Care of Self – This course will focus on the individual’s prayer life. It will include introduction to various practices and resources to nourish one’s spiritual life such as the daily office, guided meditation, centering prayer, the labyrinth, etc., that can be used by both the pastoral care provider and receiver. 
    • Listening Skills – The process of listening so others will talk is called “active or empathic listening.” This course will explore the various listening skills techniques.
  • Suggested resources for licensing and renewal


    • The Holy Bible (any canonically approved version) 
    • An Introduction to Pastoral Care. Charles Gerkin, Abingdon Press, 1997 
    • Crisis Counseling. Howard W. Stone, Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 3rd Edition, 2009 
    • All Our Losses, All Our Griefs: Resources for Pastoral Care. Kenneth Mitchell and Herbert Anderson, Westminster John Knox Press, 1983 
    • How Will They Hear Us If We Don’t Listen. Ronald Johnson, Broadman and Holman Publishers, 1994 
    • Creative Ministry. Henri J.M. Nouwen, Doubleday, 1991 
    • Caring for God’s People. Philip Culbertson, Fortress Press, 2000 
    • Teaching …Sermons on Suffering. Barbara Brown Taylor, Abingdon Press, 1989, 2010 
    • The Wounded Healer: Ministry in Contemporary Society. Henri J. M. Nouwen, Image Books; 1st edition 1979 
    • The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. 1973, Amazon Digital Edition 2011 
    • Codependent No More: How To Stop Controlling Others And Start Caring For Yourself. Melody Beattie. Hazelden; 2nd edition 1992 
    • Daring Greatly: Have The Courage To Be Vulnerable, Transform the way we Live, Love, Parent and Lead. Brene Brown. Gotham 2012 

    Web sites 



  • Renewal of license process

    A licensed lay Pastoral Care Leader will be licensed for up to 1 year at a time. Before or 1 year has passed, the licensed lay Pastoral Care Leader should have: had opportunities to practice their ministry; received review of their pastoral boundaries; continued to develop their skill and spirituality; and should receive an assessment of their good standing.  

    At this time, a member of the clergy with oversight and responsibility for this ministry can recommend that their license be renewed or that they pursue other ministries within the church and give room for others to practice this ministry. 

    Each year the diocese will request an updated roster of licensed Pastoral Care Leaders for each parish and worshipping community. 

  • Community

    If you are a licensed lay Pastoral Care Leader or interested in following this group of lay ministers please join us on Facebook.