Care and Support


Small Groups

To truly experience connecting with fellow believers, we encourage everyone to join a small group. There are numerous small groups within our congregation that meet on a regular basis outside of church, usually in someone's home. We believe life change happens in circles rather than rows!

We have groups for high school age, college age, adults and couples that include Bible study, fellowship and praying for each other. To find a small group that's right for you, contact Pastor Hoekwater or Youth Pastor Dan Colthorp.

Why join a small group?

  • To learn and grow
  • To connect with new people on a deeper level
  • To feel cared for and supported
  • To encourage others' spiritual journeys

Stephen Ministry:  God's Love in Action

What is Stephen Ministry? Stephen Ministries is a not-for-profit Christian educational organization that provides training and resources to thousands of congregations worldwide; our church has been involved since 1997. We have trained gifted lay people to provide confidential, one-to-one Christian care to individuals who are experiencing difficulties in their lives. The identity of those receiving care and what takes place in each caring relationship remain private. Stephen Ministers reach out with God's love to people who are hurting -- both congregation members and nonmembers alike.

We all experience challenges in life, times when we could benefit from the support of a caring Christian friend. Stephen Ministers are ready to provide the emotional and spiritual care we need when faced with a crisis or difficulty such as:

  • loss of loved one
  • hospitalization
  • divorce or separation
  • loneliness
  • spiritual crisis
  • unemployment
  • a terminal illness
  • incarceration
  • aging
  • birth, adoption, miscarriage or infertility
  • a chronic illness
  • relocation
  • recovery after an accident or disaster
  • and many more

For more information, call Rev. Harris Hoekwater, Rev. Jim Kraus, or Parish Nurse Julie Lester (269.983.3929).

Parish Nurse:  Committed to a Healing Mission

The Parish Nurse Program is a specialized ministry of our church in partnership with Lakeland HealthCare. Our Parish Nurse, Julie Lester BSN, RN, FCN, is a member of our staff who focuses on health education, health promotion, and health advocacy in all aspects of body, mind and spirit for members of the church family. St. Joseph First UMC's Health Ministry involves:

  • Visitation in homes, hospitals, nursing homes and assisted living facilities
  • Homebound communion and prayer
  • Health education programs
  • Flu Shots
  • Blood pressure screenings
  • Resources, support and information

In need of health care support? Contact Parish Nurse Julie Lester.

Celebration Garden

From earliest times, Christians have used their churches and grounds as places of interment at time of death. Therefore, it is fitting that the church provide a garden for Christians to inter ashes of loved ones following creation, and a place of peace and beauty for meditation. Its purpose is to provide a pleasant outdoor setting for all of life's celebrations: weddings, baptisms, church gatherings. Please view our brochure for more information.

© 2017 St. Joseph First United Methodist Church - St. Joseph MI
Connected Sound - Websites for the Barbershop Community