Spiritual care, sometimes called pastoral care, is the ministry of care and counseling provided by religious professionals.
Spiritual care can range from hospital visitation to formal counseling provided by religious professionals who are licensed to offer counseling services.
Spiritual care is a ministry of presence, accompaniment, and listening that allows persons to share their deepest and most ultimate joys and concerns in the context of their full humanity, and, for many, their spirituality. It deals with issues of meaning and value and has the goal of fostering a person’s spiritual wellbeing. It can be a ministry of presence and listening in which affirmation and support are offered, or, for those who seek it, it can also include assistance with discernment and guidance, and even prayer and scriptural study.
Spiritual care provides a context for confidential sharing. Spiritual caregivers regard themselves as part of a holistic network of support that seeks to cultivate overall human wholeness—not only spiritually, but also physically, psychologically, socially, and in other ways. Thus, spiritual caregivers frequently refer those they serve to other caregivers, including mental health professionals. Likewise, mental health professionals may refer people to spiritual caregivers when their issues relate to religious, spiritual, or ethical matters.
Spiritual care is a ministry of compassion that provides a non-judgmental space for sharing life issues. Often spiritual caregivers have access to other helpful and tangible resources (such as food, housing, and transportation) or to communities that can help to meet an individual’s vital needs.
Spiritual caregivers view individuals as embedded in relationships, families, and communities, and so can help with the restoration of strained relationships. They can also offer requested blessings, sacraments, and rituals people may desire. They can assist with coordinating weddings and holy unions as well as memorial services. And spiritual care is often especially important to people facing death, loss, and grief. ORSL spiritual caregivers affirm human dignity and freedom and honor human diversity.
Oberlin College’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life (ORSL) is available to provide spiritual care upon request or referral to any member of the college community, including students, faculty, and staff. Persons seeking spiritual care are encouraged to visit, call, or send email to the director of ORSL to make an appointment or seek a referral.
In times of need, members of the college community may contact the director of ORSL at any hour by calling Oberlin College Safety and Security.