Pastoral Care


Overall, pastoral care is an innate skill of mine, whether visiting people at their homes, in hospitals, in coffee shops, in prisons, at the border, or in my office. I feel competent about accompanying them through difficult times in their lives or just being a spiritual guide. However, since I’m not a licensed therapist, I only see a person around three times before making a referral to a professional therapist.

I received an excellent pastoral education at a level-1 trauma center, a renowned teaching hospital in North Carolina and one of the oldest pastoral-education programs in the country.

I am a strong believer that Pastoral Care happens all the time. When I preach, I’m often being pastoral; during coffee hour, I’m giving pastoral care; in meetings when anxiety and tension rise, I’m pastoral. It’s not just the words; it’s largely your grounded, peaceful, non-reactive presence.

“Mariela’s presence, in a Pastoral Care perspective, was especially strong at the service announcing a beloved member’s death. Many members across her internship have remarked about her warmth and strong, calming way. She brings a groundedness that others clearly sense. She has become a precious part of our Fellowship. Many in the congregation remark about how warm and kind Mariela is. She fully engages when talking with folks after the service and in other environments. Making full eye contact and giving both verbal and non-verbal indications of full presence with the speaker. Mariela exudes warmth and compassion.”

Rev. Susan Archer

Chair, UUFWS Internship Committee

“Mariela is a compassionate, present companion to people who are ill, aged, or just in need of support. She has always responded in a timely manner to requests for pastoral care, and is also skilled at making small but significant contacts with people in a less formal way. She reached out in care to a recent, young widow in our congregation, and helped that woman deal with a shattering loss and find new strength. Her CPE internship in a large teaching hospital clearly sharpened her skills and deepened her understanding of how differences in race and class affect one’s health in a holistic way. She has a good understanding of the difference between pastoral care and counseling, and refers people as necessary.”

Rev. Lisa Schwartz

Senior Minister, UU Fellowship of Winston Salem, NC