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Church seeking Faithful Friends

November 04, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

BOONSBORO - Brigitte Januschewsky is introducing a new ministry at Boonsboro's Trinity Reformed United Church of Christ that is reaching far beyond the four walls of the sanctuary.

The ministry, known as Faithful Friends, is for people who may be experiencing a short-term crisis or it could be for those unable to attend regular services. It also can be for people who are homebound, or in assisted-living or nursing-home settings for the foreseeable future.

"The Faithful Friends ministry has been in effect for about five months. It's taking some time because it is a new ministry," Januschewsky said.

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The Rev. Douglas Griffin, pastor of the church at 33 Potomac St., said Januschewsky got her training at Evangelical Reformed UCC in Frederick, Md., where she previously was a member.

Right now, Januschewsky is visiting several people herself. One of those she drops in on at least once a week is Jean Meredith, who resides at Loyalton, an assisted-living community on Rosebank Way in Hagerstown.

"We started by getting a list of people who would be interested in the ministry," Januschewsky said.

Now the task is attracting people who want to volunteer to be Faithful Friends.

Once others volunteer and are trained, more visits can be arranged with more people who request the service.

The training is intensive, consisting of seven sessions once a week, each lasting 2 to 21/2 hours, Januschewsky said. Those who complete the training will be commissioned during a worship service at the church.

"I will go along if the person wants communion," Griffin said.

Mostly the visits will be Faithful Friends guiding people through difficult times.

"The temptation can be to find an answer for someone's question," Griffin said. "Instead, Faithful Friends listen, pray for the person and pray with the person."

Faithful Friends trains lay people to provide one-on-one care to those in need. The program operates under the strictest confidentiality.

Griffin said the idea came to Trinity when Januschewsky transferred her membership from the Frederick church in October 2002 and wished to start the program at her new congregation.

Both Griffin and Januschewsky stressed that Faithful Friends is prepared to reach beyond the boundaries of Trinity, which Griffin described as a community church.

"We may offer this opportunity to other churches," Griffin said.

Part of the training, Griffin said, is equipping volunteers to help with worldly needs such as housing and other basic requirements people may have that contribute to their overall problem.

Januschewsky said she believes the slow start may be due to the commitment required by Faithful Friend volunteers. The idea is being promoted through the church newsletter and a brochure, as well as on postings around the church.

Anyone interested in exploring the Faithful Friends program may call Januschewsky or Griffin at 301-432-2247.

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