Pastoral Counseling Center supporters Kay Woodfin (right) and Darlene Bowman confer prior to the center's annual fundraising luncheon at First United Methodist Church in Murfreesboro, Tenn. (TMP Photo/D. Whittle)
Do you feel life’s happy trail has passed you by?
Are you down in the dumps, feeling that one more crisis will send you over the edge?
Well, dear, take heart because there are those in this community “who care.”
That was the theme recently when more than 300 volunteers attended a fundraising luncheon at First United Methodist Church, located on Thompson Lane, in support of the Pastoral Counseling Center of Murfreesboro.
“We are here to help those in need because folks like you help support our the center financially,” said Dr. Ginny Dansby, who moderated the program.
Dansby serves as chair of the Pastoral Counseling Center’s Advisory Council alongside Shannon Woodfin Parsons, Dr. Judy Campbell, Rev. Mike Waldrop and Stephanie Hickerson.
She acknowledged the Rev. Ircel Harrison, of Murfreesboro, as one of the founders of the region’s Pastoral Counseling Center that serves people from multiple communities, including Cannon and Bedford counties.
“Judging from the huge crowd here today, Ircel, we’ve come a long way since the center was founded,” Dansby noted.
“There’s a great need for this center, and yes, I’m glad to see so many turn out in support of the center at this year’s annual fund-raising banquet,” Harrison said. “When hospital chaplain Jeff Fryar and I first came up with the idea in 1989, there were only a few people and churches attending our first luncheon.
“It’s a blessing to see so many different churches and congregations now supporting the Pastoral Counseling Center,” he added. “We seek to embody God’s healing presence to all who come to the center for counseling."
Dansby attributed the center’s healing services to the good works of the community.
“Ninety-five percent of clients recommend our centers and their healing services to others in need,” Dansby said. “Our centers are here today serving hurting people because of people like you supportive volunteers at our luncheon. It couldn’t happen without your generosity.”
The center even offers financial assistance for medical bills.
“If persons cannot afford our regular fee, they may receive financial assistance through our sliding fee assistance program,” Dansby explained.
What exactly is pastoral counseling?
“Pastoral counseling is a unique approach to mental health care that combines the disciplines of the behavioral sciences with the traditions of religion and faith,” she said. “It values an individual’s faith and expression and incorporates their values into the counseling process.”
She listed a variety of reasons people come to pastoral counseling: problems in their personal lives such as depression, anxiety, feelings of guilt, doubt, frustration or lack of fulfillment in life.
“It can be relationship issues or problems with grief and loss,” Dansby added. “It can be dilemmas in parenting, divorce, or remarriage and blending of families, for example.”
“Job loss and unemployment are community issues too,” she added before praising the churches and congregations that support Murfreesboro’s Pastoral Counseling Center, located at 200 E. Main St. The phone number there is 615-904-8623.
Supporting congregations comprise Central Christian Church, First Baptist Church, which hosts the center, First Presbyterian Church, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church, First Baptist Church on East Castle St., St. Paul’s Episcopal Church and the Trinity United Methodist Church, as well as First United Methodist Church.