“Sustainable pastoral practices within the continuous reality of the COVID-19 pandemic within the Church of Pentecost, in South Africa”

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Stellenbosch : Stellenbosch University
ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This research study investigated how the adverse impact of the COVID-19 pandemic exposed the shortcomings of the traditional ways of pastoral care and counselling practices within the Church of Pentecost (COP) in South Africa. The study utilized some aspects of the Dialogical Intergenerational Pastoral Process (DIPP) approach as a theoretical framework to explore sustainable pastoral practices within the continuous reality of the COVID-19 pandemic. Aspects of the DIPP approach as a branch of Pastoral Care and Counselling allow one to better understand the complexity of relational ethics as well as the interrelatedness of people living across generations (past, present and future). An aspect of the DIPP espouses on how pastoral caregivers should learn to do what Boszormenyi-Nagy & Krasner (1986:421) calls self-delineation and self-validation. These are the first and second phases of the dialogic process in dialogue. The tendency in putting more stress on oneself and becomes emotionally drained and exhausted. This kind of over-giving due to difficulty to set boundaries leads to burnout. One becomes spiritually affected and intoxicated and eventually compassion fatigue sets in (Van Doorn, 2020:157). The limitations in the conventional way of pastoral practice within local congregations of the COP in South Africa have been laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic. Amongst such practices are physical visitation to members before attending church, laying on of hands, baptism by immersion and christening of babies. The problem this research seeks to address is how to develop sustainable pastoral practices in the COP in responding to the emotional, mental, socio-economic and spiritual needs of those suffering as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, including the pastoral caregiver. The research methodology that informed this study was Richard Osmer’s four tasks of practical theology; namely descriptive-empirical task, interpretive task, normative task and pragmatic task. The finding of this study was that pastoral caregivers need to be responsible and accountable in their pastoral care and counselling. Pastors must be matured enough to know if they fall within the high risk age bracket, making them more susceptible to the virus infection. This will require the pastor referring suffering congregants to other colleagues, or skilled professionals or to continue with the caring and counselling process via the digital platforms.
AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Geen opsomming beskikbaar.
Thesis (MTh)--Stellenbosch University, 2023.