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Holding Hands

Stephen Ministry News

New Stephen Ministers



Deborah Whitaker, Pat Fox, Linda Whitten, and Ira Lydic were our four candidates who started their journeys back in February with the SM training concluding on Saturday, May 18th. Pastor Mike and I are so proud that they committed to 50 hours of spiritual caregiving in unison with others from St. Phillips Episcopal church. Five Stephen Ministry Leaders provided comprehensive classes that focused on best practices for active listening, empathy, grief, boundaries, and other valuable life skills.


Pat remarked… “Stephen Ministry training gave me new insights into the thoughts, feelings, and actions of people who are hurting.”


Ira shared… “Caring is the most precious gift we have, so the aim of the Stephen Ministry is learning how to intentionally strive for the perfection of such a blessing. As a retired pastor the program reminded me that we are all a work in progress.”


Linda expressed…“The classes were both interesting and helpful; enough so that we feel eager to begin working with care receivers."


Deborah verbalized.… “I discovered that the skills I learned in the training didn’t just apply to the Stephen Ministry, but to everyday life. I’m much more aware and trying to be more thoughtful in my daily interactions with my family and with friends and strangers. I’m also grateful that I got to know the amazing group of people who are my fellow Stephen Ministers much better.”




Stephen Ministry - You Are Not Alone

May 18th was a bittersweet day and one I will never forget.


Our dear Ira Lydic passed away unexpectedly on Wednesday, May 15th and only days before our last training class. Even though Ira had a variety of health challenges, he somehow summoned the courage and strength to attend all 25 of our training classes. Since our group had formed such an intimate bond, the news was very shocking, upsetting and disturbing to the other candidates and Stephen Leaders.

On Saturday, May 18th we began our training by honoring Ira and the great man and colleague that he was. And, a SM Leader from St. Phillips said it well, “I think his presence spoke volumes about how he felt about the importance of pastoral care. Obviously, after more than 50 years as a Methodist minister, he certainly didn't need this training, yet wanted to lend his support.”


We feel your support but miss you Ira.  Your presence was a beautiful gift and we learned so much from your humble soul. You will be with us in spirit as Pat Fox, Deborah Whitaker, and Linda Whitten get commissioned at our Sunday service on June 2nd.


If you have any questions about this valuable ministry, please contact Nancy Stevenson @ 520-609-5858.

Pastor Mike and the New Stephen Ministers

From left to right – Pastor Mike, Pat Fox, Deborah Whitaker, Marilyn Lydic (representing her husband Ira who had just finished the training and passed away a few days later), and Linda Whitten.

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