CFS Outreach

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by ABLUV, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. ABLUV

    ABLUV New Member

    Hi! My church is considering an outreach ministry to people
    with Chronic Fatigue. If any of you were to join such a church, how would you like the church to respond to you?
    What can we do to make them feel comfortable? What should we offer them? How should we advertise?

    All input is welcome and needed very much...thanx,Abluv
  2. KateMac329

    KateMac329 New Member

    I am on my way to bed but wanted to write in real quick.

    Some things that could help those with CFS would be for someone to go or go with them to the grocery store.

    Help with yard and house work free of charge.

    Walk or bathe pets.

    Help with children such as watching them an afternoon a week.

    Reminders about bills, doctors appointments and such.

    Offers to take them to the doctor to make sure that they actually get there.



    As for advertising...I have no idea. I know for myself I rarely go to church because I can't get myself ready in time that early in the morning. I know that sounds like a pitiful excuse but it is true. I don't schedule things for any morning because I know I can't make it. It takes me almost all day to get my steam engine going to get out.

    Okay hope this helps!

    kate
  3. Juloo

    Juloo Member

    Outreach Ministry --

    First, I'd expect the pastor and outreach ministers to have reach a bit on CFS or FM and, if not *understand* it, at least acknowledge that it exists. One of the worse things I can imagine is getting unsolicited "if you would just exercise every day, you'll get better"-type advice.

    There would need to be an understanding of what it is you're trying to 'fix':

    The isolation of those w/chronic disorders? Offer time to listen...

    The pain from trying to keep up w/housework? Offer someone to run errands or do laundry or wash dishes...

    The feeling of not being able to contribute? Offer flexible ministries that the CFS person can help with at their own pace...

    The sleep problems? Offer tapes of the church service for someone who misses it...

    Overwhelmed w/large gatherings? Offer to do an individual bible study.

    I think what we need is as individual as those who have it. Perhaps you could put together a short questionnaire for those who would like to participate in the program -- find out what areas are their difficulties, etc.

    Secondly, are you only going to offer the outreach to people who are members of your congregation? Generally, unwritten or not, churches have expectations of their members -- in time, service, contributions, etc. Both the pastor and the OMs need to understand that there is a fine line between 'including' and 'overloading' for the person with CFS. Many CFS-ers are dealing with issues of pacing and boundaries. Many CFS-ers deal with problems being on the phone, and never knowing which day they'll be 'up', or even what the day's schedule may bring if they're in a sudden flare.

    I could probably think of more, but I'm ending a lunch break. As a former Stephen Minister in my church (outreach 'listening'), one of the hardest things to deal with was the need to let go of 'fixing' and just BE there, letting the other person lead the way, and relax into someone else's pace.

    There are a lot of helpful, well-meaning people, but I personally think I would be completely driven nuts by someone who came by and talked my ear off (I have several friends like this who think that their chatter is 'good visiting' -- I luv 'em, but they are a lot to take!). So it is always best to find out, up front, if the individual is hypersensitive to sounds, lights, smells, etc. No perfume! No smokers! For some CFSers, this isn't just manners, it's a matter of an okay day and a miserable day!
  4. mrstyedawg

    mrstyedawg Member

    Anything, I mean anything. Writing out bills, housework, giving rides just anything a well person does without thinking. As for advertising, maybe you could put notices up and drugstores, grocery stores, even light posts or anywhere. This is so wonderful. This is the love of God at work.
  5. UnicornK

    UnicornK New Member

    ...to do something like this. It would sure be of help to me!

    God Bless!
  6. ABLUV

    ABLUV New Member

    Thank all of you for your input thus far. I welcome any more ideas as you think of them. I am only planning this outreach and unfortunately I cannot launch it immediately becuz I have this illness too.

    I desire the emphasis to be on empowerment and spiritual enrichment. I want to help others to focus on what they CAN do more than what they CAN'T do, even if they had to have help in order to get it done. I want to help them to reflect on their accomplishments with regularity, no matter how small they may seem to others. I hope that when people come to services they feel loved and appreciated no matter how infrequently they can be at church. I want to set up a system that has two back up plans when there is a flare and when the flare is under control members can pick up where they left off. This is what I have to do and I believe that other CFSers would like to learn to do this without feeling that others look down on them when they have spells of severe pain or fatigue.

    I am praying often about this outreach, so I will be talking over all of your suggestions with God and my pastor. More info will be posted as this idea developes.

    Again thanx for the input...Abluv