Lean on me when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long ’til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on.

– from Hymn 1021: “Lean on Me”, in Singing the Journey


Because all of us need a helping hand from time to time, providing assistance to one another in times of need is an important activity in our community. At UU San Mateo, the Pastoral Care Committee is tasked with fulfilling that sacred trust.

Pastoral Care Associates are called upon in a variety of ways. Some offer helping hands in practical form, such as providing rides to worship services or medical appointments, meals for those who temporarily cannot cook for themselves, or cards to lift one’s spirits or celebrate a rite of passage.

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Dedicated fabric artists design and create Love Wraps, so that folks who are hurting will be enfolded in warm embrace of our community. Members of this team also joyfully provide a meal ministry if it’s needed; delicious food, prepared with loving hands, makes life easier and better when someone is ill or recovering, or perhaps bringing home a new baby.

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Some Pastoral Care Associates serve as lay chaplains. This aspect of the program offers a way for members to provide assistance and comfort to one another in times of illness, family crisis, or celebration, so that no one feels alone. Lay chaplains receive training in preparation for this form of ministry. They offer careful and confidential listening, emotional support, and practical information about community services that may be appropriate for special needs. They may also bring a spiritual gift in the form of a chalice, handmade by UUSM member Tom McCune, as well as resources for inspiration, healing, and prayer.

Steve Latner chairs UUSM’s Pastoral Care team.

The Pastoral Care Committee may also call upon other members of the UUSM community to provide specialized assistance in times of need. In particular, participants in UUSM’s Music Ministry are sometimes asked to share the healing power of music, visiting members who are hospitalized or confined to a nursing home.

If you or someone you know within our community would benefit from pastoral care services, email the Pastoral Care Committee coordinator.