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Life-changing experience for members of the Muslim community in pastoral care education

15 December 2015 | General Interest

‘An Introductory Program in Pastoral Care’ was recently taken by 13 members of the Muslim Association in Riverwood.

Those who attended were 10 women and 3 men who wished to receive training in pastoral care so that they could become pastoral visitors to their communities in hospitals and aged care facilities.

Accredited by BBI, the program delivered under the auspices of the Urban Ministry Movement - Sydney and was conducted by Pastoral Educator Rev Mary Pearson. This program was devised in conjunction with Sr Eveline Crotty, Coordinator of the Urban Ministry Movement - Sydney, following a special request from the Civil Chaplains Association.

In a reflection written by Rev Mary Pearson following the program she said that the course helped to challenge her assumptions, break down cultural and religious barriers and to “discover a great deal of commonality” between the faiths and cultures.

She said, “It was a joy to teach and to share a journey of mutual learning with these students. There is much need for Muslim pastoral care volunteers. They have an immensely strong feeling of sisterhood and brotherhood. They go out of their way to offer care and support to friends, neighbours and strangers in ways that are very different from our Christian or secular society. Many said the experience was life changing. Tears were shed and shared along the way. There was much laughter and teasing by everyone. The whole experience emphasised the importance of building trusting and respectful relations, not making assumptions and being prepared to be flexible.”

Sr Eveline said “It was wonderful to have the opportunity to work with Rev Mary Pearson to support this program and give  members of the  Muslim community an avenue to educate  members of their community in the important area pastoral ministry.” Today, all pastoral visitors need to complete a 40 hour program in pastoral care to receive accreditation to visit in hospitals and aged care facilities.

Sr Eveline has an ongoing relationship with BBI and was instrumental in establishing BBI’s partnership with the Urban Ministry Movement - Sydney. Together, Sr Eveline and BBI have enjoyed a wonderful 10 year partnership in the delivery of tertiary accredited pastoral care courses.

Accredited by BBI, this program was delivered under the auspices of the Urban Ministry Movement - Sydney

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