The BeFriender ministry through Congregational Care began more than a year ago at Westminster with the goal to serve as a living reminder of God’s love by providing care as a listening presence to anyone experiencing a life transition or challenge. Steph Svee answered a few questions about the BeFriender ministry, which she co-chairs along with Laurie Fetterman.
Tell me a little bit about BeFrienders.
BeFriender is a listening ministry, headquartered locally in Bloomington. Our goal is to be a listening presence as you go through your journey of a difficult time. We are a team of nine trained volunteers who meet with others as they are and without telling them how they should be. We are not there to judge or tell you what to do. We care, but we do not cure.
How is BeFriender different from other Congregational Care ministries at Westminster?
BeFriender is a one-on-one relationship and the duration is not defined—it is however long as long as that journey needs to be. After one month of meetings, we do a check to make sure it is still working for everyone involved. We help others during many different situations, but mostly ones that are more temporary journeys, such as loneliness, unemployment, divorce, a move, retirement, having a baby—life changes that you just want a person from church to be a presence with you.
Why do you think BeFriender is important at this particular time?
With COVID there is a lot loneliness and angst, and we can be a support for that by having someone from church reach out on a consistent basis and be a support for you. Also, normally stressful and difficult times may be heightened because of COVID.
Who should someone contact if they want to have a BeFriender?
You can first contact Rev. David Shinn or Rev. Judy Kim. Then they would contact Laurie and me to get you matched with one of our trained volunteers. We have volunteers ready right now so please reach out to David or Judy if this sounds like a ministry you might benefit from.
The BeFriender team at Westminster includes: Kathy Dobosvky, Laurie Fetterman, Anne Flanagan, Aurea Kendig, Pat McManus, Cindy Moss, Elsa Flores-Peet, Chad Quaintance, and Steph Svee. Learn more about Westminster’s BeFriender ministry and about the national BeFriender program as well.