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The Community of Hope - Beginning a New Center

Guidelines for Organizing a Community of Hope Center
Creating a Community Committed to Pastoral Care


The rector, pastor or institutional administrator must first approve the establishment of a Community of Hope Center committed to lay pastoral care.

This leader then arranges for the appointment of the leadership team of four persons. The leadership team is composed of:

  1. Administrative head or his/her representative
  2. Training Facilitator
  3. Circle of Care Coordinator
  4. Pastoral Care Administrator

The Leadership Team reads and discusses all of the documents in the Introductory Packet. The team discusses the need for lay pastoral care and decides if it wishes to commit to creating a Community of Hope Center and determines where the lay pastoral caregivers will serve.

We recommend that a member of the leadership team attend the annual conference, held in June at the Episcopal Conference Center at Camp Allen, Navasota, Texas.

A Declaration of Intent is agreed upon and signed by all four members of the leadership team stating their intent to establish a Community of Hope Center offering:

  1. An initial training class, using the COH Core Curriculum.
  2. A monthly Circle of Care or an equivalent means of fulfilling the purposes of Circle of Care.
  3. A pre-determined setting in which the lay pastoral caregivers regularly offer pastoral care.

The original signed Declaration of Intent is submitted to the COH central office and a copy is retained for local files.


When the Declaration of Intent is received and approved by the Director of the COH, a letter will be sent giving authorization to establish a COH Center committed to pastoral care. A Start-up Kit will accompany this letter and will include:

  1. CD-ROM containing the Facilitator’s Manual and the Lay Pastoral Caregiver’s Notebook
  2. Facilitator’s Manual (paper copy)
  3. Lay Pastoral Caregiver’s Notebook (paper copy)
  4. Leadership Team Manual (paper copy, reproducible)
  5. Circle of Care Handbook (paper copy, reproducible)
  6. One copy of The Rule of Benedict: Insights for the Ages by Joan Chittister
  7. 20 Debriefing Cards
  8. Price list for COH materials
  9. Invoice in the amount of $200.00 for Episcopal churches in the Diocese of Texas and $350.00 for all other churches and institutions

After the leadership team has been sent the Start-up Kit, notice will be sent to your regional representative. The new center will then regularly report to the regional representative.


Pastoral Care Administrator:

Refer to “The Role of the Pastoral Care Administrator” located in the Introductory Packet and the Leadership Team Manual.

Faculty Recruitment

Seek a variety of people to teach the training modules. Faculty should be knowledgeable about the topic assigned to them. Modules are thematic guidelines for the faculty, and are not to be used as the lecture. Faculty are not normally paid for their presentations.

Training Tuition

  1. A tuition fee of $50 to cover program materials is suggested.
  2. Other funds may be sought to offer scholarships or to reduce the tuition fee.
Class Enrollment

The leadership team will establish a means for filling the first training class with 10-16 people who feel God is calling them to a ministry of pastoral care as defined in the Declaration of Intent. Enrollment into the class has four steps:

  1. Obtain a completed Community of Hope Application for Pastoral Care.
  2. Obtain a completed Clergy Recommendation Form.
  3. Conduct a face-to-face interview using the Personal Interview for Initial Training, located in the Introductory Packet and the Leadership Team Manual. (The object of this interview is to determine if the applicant is suited for pastoral care at this time.)
  4. Decide and advise the applicant if they are invited to take the training. (After interviews are completed, place application and clergy recommendation in your center’s files.)
Training Facilitators Begin their Preparation

Refer to “The Role of Training Facilitators” located in the Introductory Packet and the Leadership Team Manual.

Circle of Care Coordinator Begins Preparation

Refer to “The Role of Circle of Care Coordinator” located in the Introductory Packet and the Leadership Team Manual.

Setting Up a Filing System

Refer to “List of Suggested Records” located in the Start-Up Kit and the Leadership Team Manual.

Send the following to your regional representative or to the DOT central office, if you are in the Diocese of Texas:

  1. A detailed schedule including beginning date, location of the training, and commissioning date.
  2. A schedule including date, time, place, and continuing education topics for the first three Circle of Care meetings.
  3. A report from the Pastoral Care Administrator stating:
    1. Location of where the lay pastoral caregivers will serve.
    2. Name of the person who will supervise the practice visits during training.
    3. Name of the Administrator of the institution(s) where lay pastoral caregivers will serve.
    4. A copy of the orientation agenda that will be presented to the lay pastoral caregivers.


Conducting the Class
  1. Provide all materials at or prior to the first class.
  2. Provide nametags and attendance roll sheet.
  3. Provide a tape or video recorder for each session for make-up sessions.
  4. Have members sign up to provide refreshments for each session.
  5. Have members sign up to lead worship at each session.
  6. Announce homework assignments for the next session.
  7. Contact faculty one week in advance to reconfirm assignment.
  8. Send a thank you note to each faculty member.
  9. After the third session, send the class roster (including mailing addresses and email) to the Central Office, if in the Diocese of Texas, or to your regional representative. Make sure the names are spelled correctly.
Conduct the Commissioning

  1. Reconfirm with each class member the proper spelling of their names and how they should appear on their official Community of Hope certificate and name badge.
  2. Six weeks prior to your commissioning service, send the Request for Commissioning Certificates and Name Badges form to the DOT Central Office, if you are in the Diocese of Texas or to your regional representative.


  1. Circle of Care meetings should begin one month following commissioning.
  2. Pastoral Care Administrator should assist each lay pastoral caregiver in finding a place to serve.
  3. Lay pastoral caregivers should submit monthly reports to the Pastoral Care Administrator.
  4. Monthly Activity Reports should be submitted to the Central Office, if in DOT, or to your regional representative.
  5. Date is set for next training class and inform the Central Office, if in DOT, or to your regional representative.


For More information, contact:
The Community of Hope
PO Box 20269 (MC 2-202)
Houston, Texas 77225-0269
(832) 355-4388
e-mail: [email protected]

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