Pauline started her Recognised Parish Assistant training in 2014 after being asked by her incumbent if it was something she had considered. Pauline is a registered nurse and she felt that ‘the pastoral training was something I felt called to’.
Sadly, between part one and part two of the training her mum passed away and whilst this was a difficult time she felt ‘that God was calling me to continue and perhaps more so as we looked at bereavement in the course’. Pauline felt supported during her own bereavement but also encouraged that she might walk beside those whom she would come across in her ministry that have also suffered a loss.
After completing the course, Pauline along with a fellow RPA and her incumbent set up a pastoral team within their parish. She comments:
“Our ministry has led us to develop and lead the pastoral team which now consists of 8 people. It has been well received and valued very much by the many parishioners that we visit, especially those who are housebound. It is very much a Christ centred ministry giving support to church and non-church members but we also keep an eye on members whom we notice are not at Church, in case support is required.”
I remember that I felt very humbled to be asked to train and administer home communion prior to being asked to visit some of our housebound church members. I visited an older gentleman whose wife’s funeral had been conducted in my church and although he had not been a member of our church we welcomed him as part of our flock, showing him love and listening to him when we administered home communion.”
Pauline has subsequently started her Reader training at York School of Ministry which in part was the way that the RPA training encouraged her to look at her own gifting and discipleship. She says, ‘I believe this allowed me to feel more confident about sharing the Good News to others and enabled me to show God’s love and care to those I meet’.
Pauline sees a definite partnership between the RPAs and Readers in her own church, St Mark’s in Newby, Scarborough where ‘they work together for the common good as well as working together collaboratively’.
To those thinking about offering themselves for RPA ministry Pauline said, ‘I would encourage anyone who feels called, to do the training. We all have gifts, whether it is for God’s mission, worship or pastoral care.’
- If you are interested in finding out more please speak to your incumbent or visit ysom.org.uk/rpas for more information.