Pastoral care - what is it?


On re-reading my blog of July this year I realised that I may have made an unfortunate mistake in assuming that everyone would know what Pastoral Care was. Let me put that right: Alastair V Campbell, author of several books on Pastoral Care, says “Pastoral care is, in essence, surprisingly simple. It has one fundamental aim: to help people know love, both as something to be received and as something to give.”



It is a wonderfully broad definition, because it is totally inclusive; Pastoral Care is not the preserve of a particular group of people or organisation. Indeed it is something that everyone does without realising. Anyone who listens to a friend or neighbour airing a problem or responds to someone in trouble is exercising pastoral care.


Of course Christians would argue that they are responding through pastoral care because of the example of Jesus Christ. Others will argue that pastoral care is something that would seem to be a part of our human nature. However we understand stand and practice pastoral care it is clear that it is an essential way of building relationships, it is the very fabric of society.


When we came to review our Pastoral care at Holy Trinity we found a myriad of informal relationships; the congregation were already supporting those who were unwell or had particular problems. We have built on firm foundations; we have learnt that the love expressed through pastoral care is to be received and given freely. 


Paul Duckers