Volume 1, Issue 3
Making a Difference Spotlight
Serving our Seniors
To meet the spiritual needs of our senior members five years ago we started “Conversation and Communion”. This bi-monthly program is held at a senior living center because at one time 21 of our members resided there and were often unable to attend church. Scheduled for a weekday afternoon, the program usually has from 8 to 15 participants. Transportation is provided to interested seniors who may live at home or in another facility.
The program varies from session to session and may include casual conversation and fellowship corresponding to events in the liturgical year, the singing of hymns, sharing of church’s programs and church news, or discussion of religious news around the world. Often it also includes devotions or a scripture lesson, and the sharing of memories related to a member who has died.
The program always closes with a service of communion and prayer. This activity has become a special bonding time among the members of the group. We learn from each other, and ALL look forward to it equally!
Submitted by Linda Morgan, BSN, RN, FCN
Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention
A national health observance focus for May is skin cancer detection and prevention.
A toolkit of information available at Healthfinder.gov. The information will assist our church families in determining ways to protect themselves, no matter the ages of the family members.
Also consider the children your congregation may be sending to summer camp. Beneficent Congregational Church, UCC in Providence, RI provides scholarships for a number of children who live in the city to attend camp. Each child is also given a backpack with camp essentials, including a hat, sunscreen and a review as to how to stay safe in the sun!
Announcement of new Task Force on Ministry and Mental Health
The UCC Mental Health Network and Ministerial Excellence, Support, and Authorization (MESA) Ministry Team of the United Church of Christ are collaborating in the development of a Task Force on Mental Health and Ministry. The purpose is to have a year of sacred conversation on the broad topic of mental health as it relates to the exercise of ministry in the UCC, with an eye toward developing resources supporting excellence in faithful and effective pastoral leadership. For more information contact Kathy Clark, MESA Minister for Members in Discernment
Do you know someone?
Nominations are open for the 2016 Joan H. Tisch Community Health Prize that recognizes individuals and non-profit organizations in the NYC metropolitan area for outstanding accomplishments in urban public health focusing on the areas of: obesity/diabetes/nutrition, chronic disease prevention and management; environmental health, HIV/AIDS, health problems associated with poverty, healthy aging, mental health, substance abuse and addiction; advocacy and access. Prize is $10,000! Wouldn’t it be great to have a Faith Community Nurse or Health Ministry Team be acknowledged! Click here for more information. Nominations are submitted electronically and are due by April 4th
Stress and prayer
Stress is an epidemic in today’s culture. Most people, both young and old experience stress due to busy schedules, health issues, and the needs of family members. Studies have shown that at times of distress, people with spiritual or religious practices report feeling more supported.
Prayer is one of the spiritual practices that can help. Flora Slosson Wuellner author of Prayer, Stress and Our Inner Wounds, suggests that prayer is a relationship with our God and that as in any healthy relationship our practices will evolve, grow, and deepen.
Various prayer practices can open us to God’s grace, to surprises and insights we might not otherwise experience. It is important to communicate with God openly and from the heart about whatever we desire, whenever we are able.
Each person receives God’s response in different ways as well. The main point is to allow ourselves the grace and compassion that God gives each of us. Pray as we can, pray as we need, pray for others, pray for ourselves and pray throughout the day.
Through our prayer practices we may be blessed with gratitude and comforted by the cloak of God’s grace.
Submitted by Deborah Ringen MSN, RN-BC FCN
Wuellner,F.S. (1985). Prayer,Stress, and Our Inner Wounds. Nashville:Upper Room
UCC Calendar Events
- May 1st – Rural Life Sunday – Every state has rural areas. How might we connect and support those living at a distance from others?
- May 8th – Mother’s Day
- May 15th – Mental Health Sunday – Resources available on the UCC Mental Health Network website [www.ucc.org]
- June 25th – 59th Anniversary of the United Church of Christ
- July 26-29th - UCC National Youth Event
* Share your thoughts: What is the role of the Health Ministry Team +/or FCN in planning for the safe journey of the youth and their advisors? Send responses to: email@example.com
National Health Observances (NHOs)
For a greater educational impact plan your health education events to occur concurrently with NHOs public health campaigns.
- Arthritis Awareness Month Arthritis is not a single disease; it is an informal way of referring to joint pain or joint disease. There are more than 100 different types of arthritis and related conditions. People of all ages, sexes and races can and do have arthritis, and it is the leading cause of disability in America. More than 50 million adults and 300,000 children have some type of arthritis. How is your church supportive of their needs so they may participate?
- Food Allergy Action Month Each year millions of children and adults have allergic reactions to food. Some of them die. Are your coffee hours and church suppers safe places for all members of your congregation? Educational materials are available that could help prevent a tragedy.
- Hepatitis Awareness Month Encourage congregants to take the 5-minute risk assessment. This confidential tool is quick and easy to use and will empower congregants to talk to their health care providers about viral hepatitis.
- Stoke Awareness Month Every 40 seconds, someone in the U.S. has a stroke. People of any age can suffer a stroke at any time and in any place. Prepare your congregants with information re: early identification and intervention. Have a plan if someone should have a stroke during a church event. Educational materials are available at Million Hearts.
- April 16th – National Healthcare Decisions day Use this national focus to raise awareness about the importance of advance care plans. Sometimes called an advance directive or living will, an advance care plan is a way to plan ahead for your medical care in case you cannot make your wishes known. Resources include an video and educational programs for clients and providers. Thank you to Paige Woodruff for recommending this resource. Be in touch with her to learn how she has used these materials.
Customize the health education information for your congregation by:
- Inserting an appropriate passage from scripture at the beginning of the item.
- Closing the topic with a brief prayer.
Some you might be able to attend in person or virtually. Others will provide you with information and resources for programs that you could organize in your area.
- April 7-10th Westberg Symposium 2016 – Resilience Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow The DoubleTree Chicago-North Shore Hotel, Skokie, IL
- May 11th Preventing Slips, Trips and Falls Presenter will address common causes of slips, trips and falls in churches and provide some real case scenarios that have cost large dollar losses. Suggestions of ways to identify these exposures and reduce the risk of it occurring.
- June 9-11th 17th Annual Conference Parish Nursing & Health Ministry – Looking at Parish Nursing through a Different Lens, Saint Anselm College, Manchester, NH.
- Sept. 12-14th Health Ministries Association's Annual Meeting & Conference – Journey to Wholeness- Faith Leaders Meeting Community Health Challenges, Crown Plaza, Chandler, AZ.
Spotlight, is a film that chronicles the investigative journalism of the Boston Globe into the secrecy surrounding the clergy sexual abuse in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Boston, and won the Academy Awards - Best Picture category.
A discussion guide was developed by the UCC’s Local Church Ministries group because it “is the perfect movie for church audiences to see together and then discuss how our churches are taking the necessary steps to protect children and other vulnerable people who are in our care. Click here to download the discussion guide.
The Five Things A Church Can Do to Prevent Abuse is a webinar held March 9th by the Insurance Board and may be viewed by clicking here.
In the April issue of the newsletter we will include items that focus on summer activities. Please share your ideas with Peggy Matteson, editor of the newsletter at firstname.lastname@example.org