As the established Church, the Church of England is part of everyday life across the whole of the country, not just for those who choose to attend. Wherever we live in England, each person is a member of an ecclesiastical parish, with all the rights and privileges that this entails.
Each person has the right to be baptised and married in their parish Church, and to be buried in the churchyard or local cemetery, as well as having the services of the clergy at other important times. But care of the local community is not just confined to the “occasional offices.” The clergy in each parish have pastoral care for each resident and are available to all people. Many residents are not aware that prayers in church are offered daily to God on behalf of the community, sharing all the joys and sorrows of those who live in this area and beyond.
Coupled with this is the work carried out by other members of the Church, often done in an informal way. An important part of Christianity is being of service to those around us, and this goes on each and every day of the year. In the Avon River Team we aim to support the local community in prayer and action, giving caring help in all aspects of life, both good and bad.
Sharing in the pastoral care in this parish are several Lay Pastoral Assistants (LPAs) in whom the Church has discerned special gifts. They are people of prayer who reflect on the dilemmas of modern life in the light of the Bible and Christian tradition; and who want to communicate to others the message of Christ through caring action. They are willing to develop creatively their abilities in teamwork, listening and caring, acting as an example and encouraging others to use their gifts.
LPAs have a variety of roles including:
- supporting the sick & bereaved
- assisting with occasional offices
- collaborating with clergy and other ministers
- pastoral visiting & support