Foundations for Pastoral and Spiritual Care

This course is designed to prepare students to engage in complex biblical and theological reflection to provide effective pastoral and spiritual care that is socially, culturally, and contextually appropriate and relevant. Pastoral and spiritual caregivers journey with people and communities to help them live more faithfully in a fallen and broken world. Whether through personal or relational challenges, setbacks, tragedies, sickness, or other painful experiences, there are moments in human experience where the way people make sense of the world and understand life is challenged, compromised, or outright shattered. It is in those moments—at the edges of meaning—where we find opportunities for pastoral and spiritual care that assist in healing, faith development, and spiritual growth. The person of the caregiver, the presence of the caregiver, the capacity for critical empathic listening, and the relationship between the caregiver and the careseeker and/or community are essential components to effective pastoral and spiritual care. Special attention is given to each of these crucial elements during the semester. This course establishes a foundation for students to become effective caregivers.