The first Pastoral Care Week was held in October 1985. Since then it has grown beyond national to international proportions. The celebration of Pastoral Care Week provides an opportunity for chaplains and pastoral care counselors, educators and providers to share their story and to celebrate various ministries. More specifically, the established objectives of the Pastoral Care Week Committee outline the scope of Pastoral Care Week observance:
- To celebrate the education for and practice of pastoral care through professional chaplaincy and pastoral counseling.
- To interpret and promote pastoral care.
- To honor and celebrate all practitioners of pastoral care.
- To express appreciation to institutions and their staff who support pastoral care ministries.
- To publicize the work of pastoral care organizations affiliated with COMISS.
- To promote continuing education for clergy, laity, and institutional employees regarding the value of pastoral care.
Each year a new theme brings to the light a certain aspect of pastoral care as a focus. A new theme invites us to new and creative ways to tell the story of pastoral care. This year’s theme is: "Hospitality - cultivating time". The welcoming and belonging associated with hospitality require time that is treated as precious in developing relationships. Time allows the cared-for to express the real problem, the deeper implications and the meaning or despair that is felt at a soulful level.