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Stephen Ministry: Danger? Opportunity?

Stephen Ministry at UPC

Did you realize an average crisis lasts about six weeks? By the end of this time, people usually come to a solution. Sometimes the solution is good, but sometimes it just causes more painful problems. Stephen Ministers can be there while you sort through your feelings about finding a positive resolution. To discuss being matched with a Stephen Minister, please contact Elizabeth Michael, Interim Associate Pastor, at or (919) 929-2102

Our Stephen Ministers are trained caregivers, ready to listen, care for, and encourage you; pray with and for you; and provide one-to-one Christian care to help you through whatever it is that you are facing. Men are matched with male Stephen Ministers, and women are matched with female Stephen Ministers. It’s free. It’s confidential. And it will make a difference in your life!

Continuing Education: Please Join Us

The Stephen Ministry Program is opening their upcoming continuing education to the congregation. Please plan to join us on the following dates.

Monday, November 6: Reflective and Mindful Writing, 7:00 p.m., Fellowship Hall

According to The New York Times, the scientific research on the benefits of expressive and reflective writing is surprisingly vast. Studies have shown that writing about oneself and personal experiences can improve mood disorders and immunity, lower pulse and blood pressure, help reduce symptoms, boost memory, and offer healing shifts in perspective. Writing can make peo-ple happier. In this session, we will experience this for ourselves under the guidance of Heidi Gessner, MDiv, BCC, as we take time to reflect and write. No writing experience necessary! Heidi is an Ordained United Church of Christ Minister who serves as the Bereavement Coordinator and Palliative Care Chaplain at UNC Hospitals. She felt deeply called to end of life and grief work after her own father’s journey and death. She developed and created UNC Hospital Bereavement Support Services with goal of attending to the emotional pain that is the result of loss and death. Heidi provides emotional and spiritual care, as well as grief counseling to patients, families, and staff. She collaborates with the palliative care team and refers chaplains to patients and families as needed. Heidi co-facilitates a weekly writing group at UNC Hospitals, Writing for Resilience, with writer and editor Carol Henderson. For more information please email Heidi at

Monday, December 4: Stress, Life’s Challenges, and Mindful Awareness, 7:00 p.m., Fellowship Hall

More and more people are experiencing what has become so widespread in our day and age: stress! It could be the diagnosis of a serious illness, the death of a spouse or partner, a difficult work environment, or the strain of caring for a loved one. We are constantly being blindsided by events that catch us unaware and disrupt our lives, so that nothing is as it was before. We might be uncertain about what to do or how to respond, but one thing is clear: life can’t continue the way it is. In this mindful mini-workshop, we will explore with The Rev. Tim Auman how stress shapes our brains, get in touch with what really matters in our lives, and reclaim our wholeness. Rev. Auman is chaplain at Wake Forest University. Originally from La Mesa, California, he is an ordained elder in the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church. He has degrees in religious stud-ies from Wofford College, an M.Div from Duke Divinity School, and a doctoral degree from Mahidol University. Prior to be-coming chaplain, Rev. Auman served as the United Methodist Campus Minister at WFU and UNC-Charlotte, has served two congregations, and has served as a Hospice chaplain. Rev. Auman has training in spiritual direction and mindfulness-based coaching, and has a background in Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR). He also directs the MindfulWake initiative at Wake Forest which helps students, faculty, and staff develop mindfulness practices that deepen self-awareness and increase a sense of well-being.