Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
For the last seven years, St. James has had a designated line for emergency pastoral care. This innovation made getting a hold of a pastor easier - all you needed to do was call one number, and a pastor would pick up on the other end. The 24/7 coverage was provided by multiple St. James pastoral staff members (pastors, pastoral assistants, interns, pastoral care team) as they passed the on-call phone back and forth among themselves.ll
To continue to provide the same availability with a single pastor serving the St. James community, we have begun a working relationship with MAS Communications. This is a Minnesota company, based in Mankato, that provides live after-hours answering service for Prince of Peace Lutheran in town. Pastors at POP recommended them based on their own positive experience.
Going forward, MAS Communications will initially answer calls made to the Pastoral Care Line. They will be better able to provide referrals for those who are seeking financial assistance (which make up a significant number of the calls that come in on the emergency line). When people are in need of financial help, the operator will be able to give them the direct phone number of our partner organizations (such as 360 Communities or CAP) - something I was never able to do because I didn't have a directory with me at all times.
To make the switch, we had to change our phone number (something technical related to the area code). Please replace the former St. James emergency number on all your devices with the FOLLOWING NUMBER:
(952) 890-4410. Pastoral Care Line
The old number is no longer in service. A message to that effect will remain on the line for the next month but we will not answer any calls or messages from it.
As we make this change, we are also changing the name of this service. Instead of "Emergency Pastoral Care Hotline," we will be using - "Pastoral Care Line." What's with this name change? We discovered that the word 'emergency' was getting in the way of people calling to say that someone was in the hospital and wanted a visit, or someone wanted to meet with the pastor for prayer. People did not consider their needs an "emergency"; even though, they were hospitalized for a week and would have liked a visit. Pastoral Care line - invites ALL requests for pastoral care contact including conversation, visits, hospital stays, as well as emergency calls (unexpected surgery or hospice). If you would like to add someone to the PRAYER list or have a message for the Pastoral Care Team, you can also call this number.
I am aware of the inconvenience that this phone number change presents. Thank you for your patience and for erasing the old number.
I am also excited about this new resource as I am convinced that it will provide better care and will allow a sustainable on-call coverage. Not having to field a variety of non-urgent calls at various times of the day and day will allow me to be more present in my pastoral role for when it is needed the most.
As always, I look forward to seeing you in worship,