During Deacon Sheila’s time at St. Paul’s, she maintained the parish prayer list, which is published weekly in the bulletin insert. Sheila’s departure requires that we switch to a new system, and while that’s not completely worked out, here’s what’s in place now:
I’ve asked Lynne Fields to maintain and publish the list, with these tentative guidelines:
- Prayer requests can be sent any time to email@example.com. If the system changes in the future, that address still will be forwarded to the right people.
- Any accepted prayer request will remain on the list for one month, and a listing can be renewed as needed. But we will not normally accept request for automatic and indefinite renewal.
- Privacy and respect for those on the list is a priority. For that reason, we normally will publish only first names, and the list will be distributed only in printed materials at the church itself (the bulletin insert), and not circulated online. We also normally will not publish the reason for anyone’s listing.
- Requests for listing on the prayer list should come from the person whose name is listed. Where that’s not possible, close family members may submit the request. But with rare exceptions, we won’t accept third-party prayer requests where it’s not clear whether the person named wants to be on the list.
Congregational expectations around prayer lists and pastoral response to illness or injury have changed over time, and privacy is a greater concern in the age of the Internet than it was when churches generally were small and closed communities. In all cases, the respect, consideration, and privacy of the people named on the list supersede the perceived “need to know” of others in the parish, even when our interest is genuine and well intentioned. When we have a clear indication that a person on the prayer lists wishes for us to publish more information (last names and other information) and we learn so from that person directly, we will make exceptions.
Thanks for your patience and consideration of the needs and desires of each other.