1. The Pastoral Friends are bound by the rules of confidentiality at all times. Confidentiality is very important. Information shared between the pastoral friend and a person in their pastoral group will not be shared with others without the individual’s permission. Gossip is never acceptable. It damages trust and destroys relationships.


2. There are two exception to the sharing of information:

a) If the information shared is thought to be actually or potentially in breach of the law, the pastoral worker reserves the right to share this with the Minister and ask advice. There may be other occasions when the Pastoral Friend would ask permission from the person sharing complex issues to contact the Minister for further advice and support. With whom they all meet regularly.


b) Some limited information may be shared within the Pastoral Friends, for example if more than one person is involved in an issue or situation, but this will be confined to a ‘need to know’ basis in order for effective support to be offered.


3. Pastoral care is not counselling and most pastoral workers have not been trained to do counselling. However they are experienced and chosen by the Minister and his Wardens.  Pastoral Friends will recognise their own limitations and seek to signpost the individual to professional sources of help and support when necessary.


4. It is recognised that all of us get on better with some people than with others. This is often due to feeling that we have something in common or that a particular person understands our situation better.

    There is always flexibility in whom a person sees.


  The important principle is that everyone should have someone they feel they can trust and with whom they can be      open and honest in a mutually enriching relationship. People who are Pastoral Friends recognise this reality and will    not be personally offended if you make such a request.


5. In our relationships with each other we will seek to be

a) Non-judgemental  

b) Positive and affirming, recognising the unique worth of each individual.

c) Willing to engage in the ‘give and take’ that builds real friendship.



Why organise Pastoral Care?


Some people might argue that there is no need to organise pastoral care because love and support should be spontaneous. The early church discovered that this led to problems: read Acts 6 vv 1-6. They devised a system of deacons to ensure that support was fair and that everybody received what they needed. For us we have Pastoral Friends


We are frail human beings and, unintentionally, people can feel left out or actually be left out if we are not proactive in organising a system that covers everybody. However, it is not an either/or situation.  


Pastoral care at St Mary’s is flexible and people can be spontaneous and respond to others as they feel the Spirit directing them, even if, in some instances, this may be outside the ‘system’. The organisation is simply to ensure that no one is overlooked or forgotten and that everybody has a point of contact with someone who cares for him or her.


Principles of Pastoral Care