Nine committed, carefully trained men and women have continued their work as Stephen Ministers in Vernon. The name may be a little confusing, as they are not ministers in the sense of being preachers or pastors of a church, but rather they are volunteers who minister to people who need an empathic ear to listen to them. The name was chosen in honour of St. Stephen, whose mandate it was to look after the needs of individuals of the public in those times.
These modern day “Stephens” offer to meet with you, listen to your story in complete confidentiality and support you through your personal time of transition, whatever it may be. This is not an offer of regular transportation, nursing care, child care or diagnosed psychological care, nor are the Stephen Ministers professional counselors. They are, however, a group of volunteers who have had more than 50 hours of training in empathic listening and encouragement in a variety of situations and have served continuously in the Vernon area for five years.
The service is free. It might last anywhere from a few weeks to a year or more, and may or may not include prayer or Christian care depending on the care receiver’s wish. The Stephen Ministers are based at St. John’s Lutheran Church, but the service is for anyone who wishes it, regardless of whether or not you attend a church.
If you, or a person you know, may wish to meet with a Stephen Minister, you can call St. John’s Lutheran Church office at 250-549-2244 to have your message forwarded. You need only to leave a number at which you can be reached, with no need to leave your name. Or you can go to www.stjohnsvernon.com and follow the links to Stephen Ministry for more information.