Over the course of our lives, we all experience the pain of suffering & sorrow and the blessings of joy & celebration. Being connected to a faith community sustains us in our day-to-day lives, but also helps us endure the hard times and celebrate the good times.
At First Parish, the majority of our pastoral care is offered by our parish minister, the Rev. Jeff Barz-Snell (contact info). If you are uncertain whether you should contact the minister for pastoral care, the answer is usually YES, absolutely. If you’re looking for more guidance, you can always check the list at the bottom of this page (which is usually posted in the upstairs hallway at First Parish).
Although Jeff takes the primary responsibility for pastoral support at First Parish, we are a community that cares for one another. On this page, you can find out more about how we give and receive pastoral, spiritual, and emotional care.
We have a small team of Pastoral Callers who work with Jeff to reach out to congregants in need. This group offers support by stopping by for visits to people in hospitals and homes, delivering meals to sick members and friends, providing rides to doctors’ appointments, or delivering shawls from the Knitters and Stitchers group. Whether it’s a comforting card, a home-cooked meal, or a listening ear, we share love and support among our community.
If you would like to consider being part of the Pastoral Callers Caring Network of folks willing to lend a hand to other parishioners during challenging times, click here to see the types of assistance sometimes needed (e.g., meals, transportation, delivering flowers, shopping/errands, small “fix-it” jobs). If you would like to volunteer to help, you can print and return the card, fill out one of the cards in the Sanctuary pew racks and place it in the collection plate, or contact the Church Office directly.
Bereavement Support Group
First Tuesday of the Month at 4:00 PM
This new group is open to anyone who has experienced the death of a loved one and would find it helpful to share their experience with others. It does not have to be a recent loss— grief takes time to process and no two people go through it in the exact same way or on the same timeline. Contact Jeff Barz-Snell or the church office for details about the next gathering.
Requests for Prayers & Support
If you or a loved one are going through a hard time and would like to be held in prayer, contact Rev. Jeff or fill out our confidential prayer request form at the link below.
Since the onset of the pandemic, it has been difficult to check in the way we normally do, and we hope this online form encourages folks to let us know when something is going on in their lives. Although we are physically distanced, we are not spiritually distanced from one another or from God.
When Should You Call the Minister?
- When you haven’t met them yet, but would like to.
- When you have problems to discuss—about anything.
- When a sympathetic ear might help.
- When you’re going into the hospital or know someone else who is.
- When someone close to you dies or is critically ill.
- When you’re planning to be married or considering divorce.
- When you have a child to be baptized or dedicated.
- When you’re pregnant but wish you weren’t.
- When you’ve been arrested, or ought to be.
- When you are amidst a career or job change.
- When you want to learn more about Unitarian Universalism.
- When you’re scared or when there’s a crisis.
- When someone you know is troubled and you wonder if the church could help.
- When you’re considering joining the congregation.
- When a friend of yours wants to know more about our community and church.
- When you have suggestions about church programs.
- When you have ideas for a sermon or about the worship services (pulpit-friendly jokes, poems, or stories are especially welcome).
- When you’ve won the lottery, or would like to make even a modest bequest to the church.
- When you’d like to help with committee work or congregational activities.
- When you want to discuss community issues or would like his involvement.
- When you’re mad at them.
- When you’d like to talk religion, the Bible, or spirituality with someone knowledgeable.
- When there’s just something you wish this community knew about you, your life, or your struggles.
- When you want to tell us something you think we should know about.
- When you have an idea for something you’d like to make happen at First Parish but aren’t sure how to go about it.