What's an LPA?
A Lay Pastoral Assistant, or LPA as they are also know, is trained and commissioned by the Diocese of Salisbury to carry out pastoral ministry on behalf of the local church. At St Michael’s we work as part of the ministry team with an agreed role in line with our gifts and skills. Our prime purpose is to offer spiritual support to those who are vulnerable, whether through illness, bereavement, loneliness or difficulty on life’s journey. We remember the words of Dietrich Bonhoeffer that the first service we owe to others in fellowship is to listen to them.
Our activities include :
o Visiting people at home, in hospital, or in residential care
o Taking Holy Communion to people in their homes
o Attending funerals held in church and supporting the recently bereaved
o Attending baptisms
o Facilitating dementia friendly church services
o Being alert to people who may be vulnerable and taking appropriate action to support them
o Keeping an overview of the congregation and watching out for those who aren’t present in church
o Holding in prayer those in need in our church community
We cannot become involved in areas that would be the responsibility of the family or carer, for example personal care or financial matters. Where appropriate we will pass on concerns to family members so that they can take responsibility.
At St Michael’s we have a team of five LPAs : John Alexander, Rod Chapman, Daphne Jones, Barbara King, Liz White and Lindsay Wood. We meet regularly with clergy to exchange information. The Diocese offers an on-going programme of training and ministerial development. We also meet as a group of LPAs across the Deanery for updates and talks on particular topics of relevance to our work.
Our ministry is inspired by the words of St Teresa of Avila:
Lord Jesus, teach us
That you have no body now on earth but ours;
No hands but ours;
No feet but ours;
Ours are the eyes through which your compassion must look out upon the world;
Ours are the feet with which you must go about doing good;
Ours are the hands with which you must bless men and women now;
For your name’s sake. Amen