Pastoral Care Policy

Pastoral Care is the provision of spiritual and religious support to a member or friend of the congregation who self-identifies their need and makes a request of the ministerial team or staff.  Pastoral care is intended for immediate, emergency, or short-term needs. It is not spiritual direction or psychotherapy, but spiritual support for an acute event or episode in the person’s life. 

Intake Process

  • When requests for pastoral care are received, we speak with the person seeking care to find out what resources they already have, the length of time that they are seeking support for, and if there is financial need, to specify the amount of money requested (if applicable).
  • The Senior Minister may then refer careseekers to other Fourth Universalist ministers.
  • Members and friends of the Society will be prioritized, with referrals made for those who attend infrequently.

Frequency of Support

  • Unless agreed upon during the initial conversation, there will be a maximum of three sessions of pastoral care given per person per acute situation.
  • If the person seeking pastoral care requires ongoing support, either for spiritual direction or psychotherapy, the minister providing care may provide a listing of resources not affiliated with Fourth Universalist which may be accessed by the congregant at their discretion.
  • A committee of congregants, such as a Caring Team, may be referred to by the minister for visitation to the sick, or other needs such as accompaniment to medical appointments, when possible.

Glossary of terms

  • Pastoral Care: provision of spiritual support to persons who self-identify as being in need of care to a member of the ministerial team. 
  • Small Group Ministry: a regularly identified group of persons who gather to promote and direct an interest in and attention to finding support and solutions for a spiritual and/or justice-related concern within the congregation.
  • Spiritual Direction: an ongoing relational process in which a trained (and often paid) spiritual director listens to and companions someone on their spiritual journey.
  • Caring Team (or Lay-Led Pastoral Care Team): a team comprised of Fourth Universalist members who provide care, support, and even pastoral attention to fellow members in need. (e.g., cases of loss, accompaniment to hospitals, etc.). N.B.: This team is currently inactive. 


Share the Plate Policy

Each month, the Fourth Universalist Society Share the Plate program contributes half of the Sunday worship service collection to a designated organization. July and August Sunday collections are combined and shared with one organization.

The purpose of this program is to:

  • Raise awareness within the congregation of social justice concerns in the region, nation and around the world.
  • Give congregants an opportunity to provide direct support to social justice organizations that share Fourth Universalist Society’s values.
We have a new process for selecting the Share the Plate organizations this year. Nominations will be collected from members of Fourth Universalist from April 1st to May 15th for the following church year (Sept – June). At the Annual Congregational Meeting in June, all nominated organizations will be listed. If more than 11 organizations are nominated there will be a vote to determine the top 11 organizations.

Here are the criteria for the organizations:

  • The organization must be a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization.
  • The organization would preferably be a local organization. National organizations will be considered if they are mission aligned. Any UUA organization will also be considered.
  • The request must be for an organization, not an individual.
  • A member of Fourth Universalist must nominate the organization.
  • The organization’s purpose must support Fourth Universalist Society’s social justice values.