St. Mary's Datchet aims  to provide pastoral care to those who may be in need at any time, and who either seek our help, or whose needs come to our attention. It is important however, to understand the limitations to the Pastoral Care scheme that we as a church can provide, as we are not using any of our volunteers as trained experts, and we are not competent to provide expert advice or counselling.

We are mindful of Safeguarding and Lone working and our visitors receive training and checks 

The areas in which the Pastoral Group might be expected to operate could be:

  • Spiritual direction
  • Bereavement visiting
  • Marriage problems - visiting
  • Problems with children – visiting 
  • Major illness – visiting (home or hospital
  • Housebound – visiting
  • Home communions

Of the above, needs for spiritual direction and home communions would be directed to the clergy. In other cases of need the pastoral leader should be able to signpost members of their group with particular problems to the appropriate professional assistance, for example, Relate for marital problems.

In many cases a visit for a cup of tea, the ability to listen sympathetically, and to empathise is probably all that will be required.

In order to achieve this aim the congregation has been split up into ten groups with about fifteen people in each, with a group being the responsibility of a Pastoral Care Leader. The intention is that each leader will keep a look out for all the members of his or her group; be sensitive to any possible issues that arise and offer support from the church if appropriate.

To do this the leaders should be reasonably regular church attenders, and take the initiative in contacting members of their group that they haven't seen for some time, to check that everything is alright with them, without being intrusive. Members of each group should be aware that their group leader is there to offer help in time of need.

The key role for the Pastoral Group Leader is to get to know the people in their group. If they have made the effort to develop a friendly relationship with them they will be in a strong position to offer support if required. Relationships can be built in a variety of ways including chatting over coffee after a church service; how the leader gets to know the people in their group is entirely up to them. It is likely that some of the people in the group may already be well known to them anyway. It is the leader's responsibility to remind the group now and then about the scheme so that if there is a need they will know who to call upon.

The pastoral care leaders meet once every three months in order to update lists, receive training and generally ensure that the scheme is running successfully.