Beginning June 15th, 2016, the Pastoral Care Department at the Masonic Village at Elizabethtown will become the Spiritual Care Department.

The change is due to the growing population of our campus and the changing roles of those involved in the department. The word Pastor in Latin means “shepherd.” The pastor or shepherd is then to “tend to his flock.” To a great many people that means to preach and teach and to administer the sacraments, most especially in a church setting. Thus, the term, Pastoral Care can be limiting in its inclusiveness for all involved. Our Minister of Worship and Music, Mr. Jonathan Noel is not a Pastor but touches many lives through his gifts. Our Administrative Assistant, Mallory Brinser, also not a pastoral shepherd, is truly involved in the Spiritual Care of the Masonic Village. We also have many volunteers who reach out on our behalf in teaching, visitation and prayer who play a part in providing spiritual services.

Pastors are often thought of as pertaining to a particular church and although we all serve at Sell Chapel we want those outside the Christian faith to know that we are here to provide spiritual care for them. As our campus grows and becomes more diverse we will be surrounded by those outside the Christian faith who will have spiritual needs and we are hoping that our name change will be able to be more inclusive to all people relating to those needs.

Spiritual needs and concerns usually relate to what we call the “big” questions of life. These questions can include:

  • Why is this happening to me?
  • What does it all mean?
  • How do I make sense of everything?
  • What gives me comfort and hope?
  • What do I call “good” in my life? What do I call “bad”?
  • What am I grateful for?
  • Whom do I trust?
  • Who loves me and is loved by me, no matter what?
  • Who is important in my life?

All of these questions relate to spiritual needs, concerns and resources. All people ask these questions during their lives, especially when they or someone they love are sick or in crisis.

Some people find meaning, comfort, hope, goodness and community through their religious practice, beliefs and/or community of faith. Some people do not. Regardless of whether religious faith is a part of a person’s life; spiritual concerns, resources and needs can still be very important. This is the reason for the change as we want all residents and staff to know that we are here for them.