OVER 40 pastoral ministers, from across the diocese, met at All Saints Highertown for a day of workshops and seminars to explore how pastoral ministry could be developed in order to meet the needs of the wider community, writes Sarah Welply.

The day started with a meditative reflection, using Picasso’s La Soupe, on the nature of pastoral visiting – both in offering and receiving  – led by Revd Bridget Macaulay from Epiphany House.

There then followed a series of workshops covering subjects including: Safeguarding Vulnerable Adults, Memory Cafés, Caring for Carers, When does Pastoral Care end and Counselling Begin? Fuel Poverty, Marriage Preparation, Parenting courses and Good Childhood Conversations.

In addition, the workshop leaders manned a stand in an exhibition area so that over coffee and lunch there was an opportunity for participants to find out more; or perhaps to begin to explore an area of interest for which they had been unable to attend a workshop.

The sun shone over lunch – seemingly for the first time this summer – enabling participants to sit outside and share experiences and ideas with others. The conversation didn’t seem to stop and it was almost a shame to have to bring people back for the final workshop session!

The day concluded with a talk from Terry Stanton of Volunteer Cornwall, who identified areas where pastoral teams could link in with other voluntary organisations to better support individuals within communities. Finally, Revd Canon Rob Dickenson sent the teams back to their parishes with a blessing to continue their ministries.

Initial feedback shows that the day had been both informative and helpful, as well as leaving participants with a desire to find out more and share what they had learnt with the rest of their teams. There was even a request to make the day longer to allow more time for the workshops!

In 2013, we hope to repeat our TOASTs – training visits to pastoral teams in the deaneries – and will look to run another training day in 2014. For more information, e-mail deanery development facilitator, Sarah Welply, or call 01872 247211.