Christ Caring for People Through People

Stephen Ministry prepares God’s people for service to bring compassionate care and Christ’s healing love to hurting people.

Front Row L-R:  Mark Hier, Pam Lanier, Lenore Lane, Katherine Dunne, Kate Abate
Back Row L-R:  Brent Butcher, Patty Downing, Loretta Kaes, Nan King, Bob Brown, Barbara Godfrey, Lois Gaydos, Lois Brenner
Missing:  Mel Nobel

Our Stephen Ministry equips lay people to provide one-to-one Christian care to people in our congregation and community who are experiencing difficulties in their lives. Stephen Ministry is a confidential ministry – the identity of those receiving care and everything they discuss with a Stephen Minister remain private.

Since Stephen Ministry was founded in 1975:

  • ​In addition to St. Mary’s, more than 12,000 congregations have become “Stephen Ministry Congregations”
  • More than 70,000 pastors and lay leaders have been trained as Stephen Leaders
  • More than 600,000 laypeople have received training as a Stephen Minister
  • More than 1.5 million Care Receivers have had a Stephen Minister walk with them through a difficult time in their lives

Leaders, Ministers, Receivers

What are Stephen Leaders?

Stephen Leaders have attended a week-long training session which will equip them to establish and direct Stephen Ministries at St. Mary’s.

They are responsible for:

  • Building awareness within our congregation
  • Recruiting and training Stephen Ministers
  • Meeting with potential Care Receivers to assess needs and make referrals to Stephen Ministers
  • Providing Stephen Ministers with ongoing supervision and continuing education

What are Stephen Ministers?

Stephen Ministers are congregation members who are recruited, selected, extensively trained and commissioned to provide one-to-one lay caring ministry to people who are experiencing a difficulty in their life. Some examples of the type of care Stephen Ministers provide include:

  • Listening
  • Praying
  • Sharing Christ’s love
  • Showing compassion

What does it take to be a Stephen Minister?

  • A 24-month commitment of service to this ministry
  • Attendance at and participation in a 50-hour training program
  • Study of training materials
  • Service as a Stephen Minister (usually involving a one-hour weekly one-to-one visit) for about 18 months following training
  • Participation in twice monthly supervision meetings for about 18 months

If you feel you are being called by God to this Ministry, please contact one of the Stephen Leaders or email

What are care receivers?

Care receivers are congregation members and others in the community who are suffering physically, spiritually, emotionally and/or financially and who receive care and support from a Stephen Minister. Care receivers are trying to cope with a difficult time in their life, such as:

  • Loss of a loved one
  • Divorce or separation
  • An illness
  • Aging
  • Unemployment
  • Loneliness or discouragement
  • Spiritual crisis

The relationship between a Stephen Minister and Care Receiver is confidential. Men are matched with men and women with women. And most importantly, when a Care Receiver’s needs exceed what a Stephen Minister can provide, the Stephen Ministry team can help make a referral to an appropriate mental health professional or other community resource.

Although the relationship between a Stephen Minister and a care receiver is confidential, there are care receivers who have voluntarily shared their stories so others may know the benefits of having a Stephen Minister.  To access these testimonials, please click on the following link:

Please contact a Stephen Leader if you are interested in being in partnership with this wonderful ministry.