The Importance of Ecclesial Autonomy
The ecclesia has a responsible for each of its members. It is accepted that the ideal is for all members to be able to share their problems and worries with their ecclesia. There is a view that the CSN may come between the individual and this ecclesial responsibility because of our statement of confidentiality.
Whilst we encourage callers to make contact with their ecclesia for support, we stand by our position of confidentiality.
If this stance is unacceptable to the ecclesia, our question is what is the alternative? If the member feels unable to make contact with their own ecclesia, where do they go?
A brother/sister seeking help will not contact the CSN if they think we will inform on them. So where else could they go? The Samaritans? the Citizens Advice Bureau? Their doctor for counselling? Leave the brotherhood?
How much better to make contact with a brother or sister who shares their faith and has the professional skills and/or experience to help them.
Many difficulties presented to the CSN through the telephone service or in letters or Emails are complex; to some problems there are no clear answers. Sometimes all it is possible to do is to pray with and for the caller, and to be understanding, non-judgmental and supportive. It is a case of sharing the burden, soothing the hurt and praying for strength and wisdom. In these circumstances we are all conscious of our personal inadequacy and our total dependence upon our heavenly Father. Other problems may be relieved by counselling received from a skilled brother or sister, or the provision of regular support through a crisis.
We accept that any kind of care and counselling is, at all times, an interim measure. At best, we are no more than a link between man's need and God's provision. Caring is one element in the commitment to discipleship, so that we all might "bear one another's burdens and so fulfil the law of Christ".