by Karen Tynes
It all started for me back in 2005, in Memphis, TN. One of my church’s clergy, who was also a friend, said, “We need to catch up. Let’s do lunch.”
So there I was having lunch at this Italian place, and Rev Bill Kolb said, “I need you to be the volunteer coordinator for the new Care Team ministry. It is just to get the teams up and going, a temporary job.”
So, a few weeks later after we had more than 70 volunteers, I thought I was done. We had a meeting to lay down a few guidelines for the teams and I thought, “This is my swan song.”
At the end of the meeting, I said my goodbye and Bill looked at me like a crazy lady. “What? You can’t quit now!”
My Memphis church was large, with over eight-hundred members spread out across three states. I saw the Care Team ministry as a way for the disparate congregation to respond as neighbors. So, when I joined St Dunstan’s I thought there would be no need for the Care Team ministry. Yet, one day in 2011, I found myself having coffee with Fr. David, talking about the Care Team ministry. When we had the first organizational meeting, more than 30 volunteers came! I was stunned that such a small congregation had so many ready to serve.
One of the most important Care Team ministries is providing rides to church. I remember a visit from the Bishop back in 2012 (?) and the meeting with the Vestry after church. There was a group of folks with the Bishop from other churches. St. Dunstan’s was not in good standing with the Diocese then. Our financial issues and other woes were much on the Bishop’s mind. There was a sense, for me that we were being taken to the principal’s office for misbehaving.
After some tense discussion, Fr. David brought up our new Care Team ministry and how we were providing rides to almost a dozen folks at the time. One of the visitors was stunned. She said, “When I was in a cast and couldn’t drive, I could not find one person in my church that would give me a ride.”
At that moment, the feeling in that meeting changed. There was a definite shift in the attitude of our visitors. Maybe we were having trouble, but we were moving forward on the right path.
In this last year, prepping the Care List each week has ministered to me when I could no longer get to church. I cherish that task, the email prayer requests, that keep us bound together, praying together. We say we are a church that feeds people, not just with meals but with prayer and loving care. Thanks be to God for the Care Teams!