In the Ohio River Valley District, All In Community has turned its restorative justice efforts toward healing the most vulnerable justice-involved persons - victims and families. Over the course of several months, lay, clergy, and area Stephen Ministers participated in a series of trainings with All In Community and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections trainers. A Good Samaritan team formed in partnership with the Greater Cincinnati Stephen Ministry Network late last year.
Good Samaritans are specially trained and equipped Stephen Ministers, care ministers, and All In Community laity and clergy who walk with crime victims in the healing journey. Good Samaritans provide emotional and spiritual care, as well, to family members with an incarcerated loved one. Within the Greater Cincinnati Stephen Ministry Network, seven churches are committed to providing care givers for victims and justice-involved family members.
Within the Good Samaritan team, Stephen Ministers are people of faith who walk beside someone who is hurting. Stephen Ministers are NOT counselors or therapists. They are caring Christian friends who listen, care, pray, and support all to encourage healing with their care receiver.
A trained congregation member who is carefully selected to serve because of his/her care giving gifts. Stephen Ministers are NOT experts in navigating the criminal justice system on behalf of victims or families of the incarcerated.
Caring individuals who meet faithfully each week individually with their care receivers of the same gender for as long as there's a need. All meetings are confidential. Stephen Ministers are NOT support group facilitators or family counselors. Nor are they advocates for victims' rights or family rights within the justice system.
To request a Stephen Minister referral for yourself or a congregation member in the Ohio River Valley District, contact ORV District Superintendent Todd Anderson at 513-421-2057.
For more information about starting a Good Samaritan initiative in your church or area, contact Reba Collins at allincommunity [at] wocumc.org.
or 513-262-0184. And remember, it's not too late to attend the free Good Samaritan workshop on February 15th at Maumee UMC. For information and registration, click here.