When Nancy Hurwitz lost her job, she was devasted.

“I had an excellent career of 17 years, the owner became ill, his wife sold the building, and my job ended,” Hurwitz said. “My heart was broken, I loved the people, I loved my job. It was like the rug was pulled out from under me.”

A friend recommended she seek help from Stephen Ministry at St Rose of Lima Parish in Gaithersburg. There Hurwitz found someone to help her go through the grief and rejection she was suffering.

“Stephen ministers are congregation members trained … to offer high-quality, one-to-one Christian care to people going through tough times,” according to the Stephen Ministry website. “Stephen ministers usually provides care to one person at a time, meeting with that person once a week for about an hour. Twice a month, Stephen ministers gather with their Stephen leaders for supervision and continuing education.”

“They assigned me to a beautiful human who came to my house once a week, shared my fears and prayed with me,” Hurwitz said. “After six months, she said, ‘You can fly now.’”

All work with Stephen Ministry is confidential. Hurwitz gave permission for the use of her name and circumstances for this article. She said she was so touched by the care she received the she felt the Lord tell her to give back to the ministry.

“I was hurting, I got help, I was healed, and it was time for me to give back,” she said.

She signed up for the next Stephen Ministry training class at St. Rose.

St. Rose is offering a Stephen Ministry Introductory Workshop 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22 at the church, 11701 Clopper Road, Gaithersburg. It is open to members of all denominations in the area.

Ralph Bally was one of four members of the St. Rose community who went to Stephen Ministry training in St. Louis in 2005 when then pastor, Msgr. Paul Dudziak suggested St. Rose start the ministry.

“Msgr. Paul had it in his former parish and asked Bob Brady to start it. I saw it in the bulletin and was looking around for something to do,” Bally said.

Bally, who has a doctorate degree in psychology, had recently retired from the Navy where he worked as a counselor. He, Brady and two women, Theresa Garcia and Sister Gisella Rodriguez attended.

“There were 300-350 people from all different faiths and from over the country,” Bally said. “I was stunned by the training; I never saw a program that was so well organized.”

We stick to the program because that’s how it works – it’s been tried and tested, Bally said.

 “It’s about journeying with people and learning to walk with them,” Bally said.

To learn more about the Feb. 22 workshop visitstephenministry.org/workshop of call 314-428-2600 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Central Time.