Pastoral Care and Counselling
How we assist people afflicted by a life crisis.
One of the most important tasks of Christian believers is to provide spiritual counselling to other people. In addition to the clergy, salaried and honorary staff of the parishes, one may have pastoral talks with everyone prepared to give advice. They visit parishioners on the occasion of birthdays, in order to prepare baptism, confirmation or marriage, and in case of illness or of a funeral. Besides, staff members pay visits in order to cultivate contacts within the congregation.
Moreover, there are special services offered to everyone in need. Pastoral care for hospital patients qualifies as a special service. This is where pastors and church workers make use of their additional training in pastoral care, counselling and supervision. They are employed in communal and non-profit hospitals, in denominational and private hospitals. The pastoral counsellors visit patients in the hospital ward. They can be addressed by relatives and hospital staff, regardless of one’s religious belief or denominational status.
Honorary staff of the church telephone counselling services at Berlin, Cottbus, Frankfurt/Oder, Potsdam, and in Upper Lusatia are prepared to take calls day and night. The church telephone counselling service operates ecumenically. No matter what their individual attitude, denomination and philosophy of life is: People will find a dialogue partner there, even if they wish to remain anonymous.
The life counselling service at the Berliner Dom situated in the city centre offers individual advice and crisis counselling, pastoral care, relationship counselling and supervision to people of all ways of life and of all nations. Clergy, psychologists, marriage counsellors and other staff with additional skills work for the life counselling service at Berlin Cathedral. This function requires a professional qualification. The association »Beratung + Leben GmbH – Evangelisch-Freikirchliche Beratungs- und Sozialdienste Berlin und Brandenburg” act as a sponsor for counsellors who are bound to maintain confidentiality. They lend their psychological and pastoral support to people who experience a life crisis, who have religious questions, who need relationship counselling or require advice regarding occupational aspects.
Accompanying, encouraging, comforting
Furthermore, 95 Evangelical counselling centres specializing in various problem areas have been established within the territory of the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Brandenburg-Silesian Upper Lusatia (German abbreviation: EKBO). Do not hesitate to contact our Social Service Agency, the »Diakonisches Werk«.
People suffering from health problems can count on pastoral care specialising in people suffering from deafness, hearing loss, blindness as well as AIDS. Pastoral care is provided for policemen, customs officials and soldiers. Pastoral care for prisoners is provided, too.
In emergency cases the fire brigade or the police immediately alert the crisis counselling service. Thoroughly trained pastoral counsellors accompany people during the first hours after an accident, for example after an attempt at resuscitation of a relative had failed, in case of cot death or suicide. Crisis counselling is also provided for victims of a crash, a fire or a crime. They accompany policemen when the news of someone’s death has to be announced. They advise and support people affected by an emergency.
At the airport chaplaincy travellers and airport staff can have a confidential chat or a short break and attend worship.
The »Pfarramt für interreligiösen Dialog" (Pastoral Office for Inter-Faith Dialogue) advises people within EKBO on inter-faith matters and coordinates EKBO groups active in that field. It also serves as a link office to world religions and non-Christian faith communities which are present in the area of Berlin, Brandenburg and Silesian Upper-Lusatia.