Members of the Stephen Ministry Class of 2012 were commissioned on March 25 at the First Presbyterian Church during the Sunday worship service.

Welcomed into the Stephen Ministry group were Dan Hodges, Amanda Martocchio, Sarah Robinson, Becky Roth, Candace Schafer, Ellen Taylor Sisson, who was absent, Lynne Villarreal and Claudia Wolen.

The Rev. Paul Gilmore anointed the Stephen Ministers to prepare them for their pastoral care work, and they each received the caregiving compass pin to signify their calling to be compassionate, trustworthy, skilled and full of faith in any relationships assigned to them.

The ceremony was the culmination of a Stephen Ministry training program that began in September and continued for six months. Teachers for the class were Stephen Leaders Elaine Foster and Evelyn Bergstrom.

The transdenominational Stephen Ministry program began at the First Presbyterian Church in 1992, and the first class was commissioned in 1993. Since then, more than 100 Stephen Ministers have been trained to accompany people who are experiencing a difficult life transition, such as an illness, grief over the loss of a loved one, divorce or marital estrangement, unemployment or coping with a disability.

Stephen Ministers are committed to supporting others by meeting weekly with them to be a compassionate, listening presence. Their overall task is to promote a climate of loving care within the community. They offer their services to church members and also to others in New Canaan and surrounding towns. If you know a person in need, call the church office at 203-966-0002 to begin the referral process.

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