These guidelines utilize material found in The Spiritual Care Committee, a pamphlet prepared by the School of the Spirit Ministry. The pamphlet identifies the person for whom care is provided as “the Friend,” and that designation is used below. The pamphlet is available online at schoolofthespirit.org/programs/the-spiritual-care-committee.
There are three types of care committees currently used by Friends: clearness committees, pastoral care assistance committees and spiritual care committees. Clearness committees assist those seeking to apply for membership or to be married under the care of the monthly meeting, or those members or attenders seeking clarity about a personal or social concern. Pastoral care assistance committees help those members and attenders who have physical, emotional, financial or spiritual needs. Spiritual care committees (or spiritual nurturers) support those with spiritual gifts or who are pursuing a leading or engaged in the work of ministry.
The members of care committees are usually selected by the pastoral care or worship and ministry committee of the meeting, though the individual being supported may request that certain persons be included. The process of selecting members for a care committee will include consideration of those who can bring a diversity of skills, gifts, experience and personality type to complement the leading, ministry or need of the Friend for whom the committee is being formed. Those selected would be expected to:
- Mirror to the Friend the ways God is acting/shining/serving through them.
- Demonstrate a willingness to accompany the Friend lovingly into difficult spiritual places.
- Be able to challenge the Friend to live more deeply and fully the life of the Spirit, while also accepting the Friend without judgment in the present moment.
- Demonstrate clear willingness to devote the time necessary to prepare for the work of the care committee and to attend the sessions of the committee with the Friend.
It is important to remember that the work of care committees benefits the faith community from which they are formed as well as the individuals who are being nurtured and supported.