First United Methodist Church of Huntsville has a vibrant and active Stephen Ministry which has been in place since 2009. The role of Stephen Ministry is to provide a lay ministry whereby a Stephen Minister (Care Giver) meets with a member of the congregation or community (Care Receiver) for confidential one-to-one Christian care. Prayer, scripture reading, a listening ear and a caring heart are part of this ministry and usually occurs during a difficult transition period such as death of a loved one, divorce, job loss, family or financial discord. The relationship occurs between persons of the same gender and is scheduled generally once a week for an hour at a mutually agreed on safe setting. This is not mental health counseling. Stephen Ministers receive 50+ hours of initial education, ongoing supervision and continuing education.