— Barbara Lundquist
FCCB BeFrienders are lay volunteers who provide a confidential listening presence to people in difficult and/or transitional situations, such as illness, loneliness or loss of a loved one. They embody the caring presence of God and of the community and serve as a living reminder of God’s love. BeFrienders accept people as they are and listen with compassion. I want to share my experience using the excellent FCCB BeFrienders group, so that other people might consider taking advantage of their service.
When I first started attending FCCB, my brother in Illinois was removed from his long-time trailer home, when it was condemned as unfit for occupation. His friends and I helped him through a time in a homeless shelter and eventually into permanent disabled public housing. During this period, I was too uncomfortable to talk to anyone at FCCB about what I was going through, not even the pastors. Other than a brief written request for prayers, I said nothing. Mostly, I felt it would put too much of a burden on listeners. I was afraid they’d feel obligated to help solve my problems, and they’d feel too uncomfortable to just listen. At that time, I saw a church notice about BeFrienders, offering listening support for people during difficult times. But I couldn’t see that my situation would be appropriate to BeFrienders help, and I didn’t follow up on that option.
That particular problem was resolved, but, a couple years after that, my brother was hospitalized for serious heart trouble. is time, I remembered the BeFrienders option, and I asked for their support right away. Pastor Rachel is the pastoral contact for the BeFrienders. I met with her, and she set me up with a BeFriender volunteer who was willing to listen to me talk through my problem over a period of time. I met my BeFriender about every 2 weeks for an hour or so, just talking and being listened to by someone trained to be a supportive listener without “fixing.” My brother got the medical help he needed over a few months, and my BeFriender sessions came to a close.
I highly recommend the BeFriender service to anyone who is dealing with a problem that seems too intense or difficult for casual conversation. If you are interested in meeting with a BeFriender volunteer, contact Rachel Bauman at firstname.lastname@example.org.