Faith Community Nurses eNewsletter – November-December 2016



 November/December 2016, Volume 1, Issue 11

Mind, Body, Spirit:
Linking Lives for Health and Wholeness

The Faith Community Nurse Health Ministry Newsletter

01_FCN_Manual.pngPlease tell us your thoughts about the UCC Faith Community Nurse Manual. 

We are in the process of revising it and need to know what information is most helpful to you.

Please take part in the brief survey. Thank you in advance for sharing your valuable insights.

Facilitating conversations with our youth

Health and wellness education is a vital part of a health ministry for any age group within our congregation.  In the UCC we have the resources to prepare our adolescents to make informed and responsible decisions about their relationships, health, and behavior within the context of their faith.

After the release of a recent report from the Center for Disease Control Amy Johnson, Minister for Sexuality Education and UCC Our Whole Lives Coordinator, shared the following information.  Collaboration between the faith community nurse and the OWL educator / youth leader of a congregation will facilitate the incorporation of this faith based education for our youth.  Read about more specifics below.

Caring for Body and Soul

03_OWL_Card.pngThe Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that many sexually transmitted infections are on the rise, and that as many as two-thirds of those cases occur in young people age 15-24.  One recommendation in the report is to strengthen the public health commitment to STD prevention programs, and as a part of that, the CDC recommends that people should be able to talk openly about STDs, and that parents should be able to have honest conversations with young people about STD prevention.

This can be a challenging topic for faith communities to tackle—but fortunately for people in UCC congregations, there is a ministry in which just this type of open communication and stigma reducing conversation is lifted up: Our Whole Lives.

Our Whole Lives (OWL) is a lifespan comprehensive sexuality education program that provides information in alignment with the SIECUS (Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States) Guidelines for developmentally appropriate human sexuality education.  In addition, the companion manual for each age group, Sexuality and Our Faith, integrates scripture and UCC values with the information being presented.

“To offer sexuality education in a congregation is to acknowledge that human sexuality is simply too important, too beautiful and too potentially dangerous to be ignored in a religious community.”

–          Rev. Lena Breen, Mt. Vernon, WA        

To learn more about OWL and how to begin or expand an OWL ministry in your congregation, go to, or contact Amy Johnson, UCC OWL Coordinator, at You can also find OWL on Facebook and Twitter @OurWholeLives.

The CDC has developed several resources to help you share prevention messages in your congregation.


    Thoughts to ponder:

    “The body heals with play, 

    the mind heals with laughter,

    and the spirit heals with joy.”   Old proverb

Intentionally take time each day for periods of playfulness, times of laughter, and intentional lifting up of your joys.


Health Education

Eat Healthy – Be Active Community Workshops resource book – The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 and the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans provide science-based advice to promote health and reduce obesity and risk for major chronic diseases. The Eat Healthy – Be Active Community Workshop Series builds on these concepts by providing detailed tips for how to put these recommended behaviors into practice.  The information is packaged in 6 easy to conduct, interactive workshops.  Each workshop contains learning objectives, icebreaker activities, talking points, topical videos, instructions for stretch breaks, hands-on learning activities for class, and “take home” resources.  The workshops can be offered as a series of 6 or you can select the particular workshop(s) that would best fit the current needs of your congregation.

This very useful resource is available in both English and Spanish from the Eat Healthy, Be Active Community Workshop website.


05b_DisasterMinistriesHandbook.pngDisaster Ministry Handbook – When floods or tornadoes devastate an area, or when shootings and violence shock a community, knowing what to do can make a difference.  Disaster ministry can be closely tied to a congregation’s health ministry: preparing for the unthinkable, providing relief to survivors, caring for the vulnerable and helping people in the congregation and the community recover.  When prepared your church can effectively minister to the hurting.


“knitted knockers”- Over 50 thousand mastectomies occur in the US each year.  Prosthetics can be expensive, hot and heavy. Knockers are soft, light, huggable, and can be worn in a regular bra.  Volunteer knitters and crocheters create and donate “knitted knockers” to breast cancer survivors.  Visit for information about the yarn to use, the directions, and also tips on how to distribute them.


05d_AdultVaccines.pngChildren, older adults, and those with chronic health conditions are at risk for diseases, many of which can be prevented by vaccinations.  Yet, low immunization rates for adults are leaving many among us vulnerable. Faith community nurses can reduce the risks of illness, hospitalization, and even death through education about vaccine preventable diseases such as influenza, tetanus, pneumococcal disease, and shingles. 

Cynthia Bozarth, BSN,RN and Cheryl Mart, BSN, RN learned from congregants that financial means, transportation difficulties, physical impediments, and other limitations prevented them from obtaining vaccination services.   Texas Health Resources working with the Community Health Manager, the Faith Community Nursing Program Coordinator, and the Faith Community Liaison of Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital collaborated to provide free flu vaccinations.  The flu vaccines and all flu clinical supplies were purchased by the hospital through its Community Benefit program.  Bedside nurses, were given Community Time-Off (CTO) to work with FCNs to provide the vaccinations to individuals at their faith communities, usually on their Sabbath.  In 2015, their efforts provided 1,556 free flu vaccinations within 22 faith communities.  This is an example of how building a collaboration between FCNs and a hospital system can increase access to preventive health care.

Which adult vaccines do you need? Take the quiz.


Continuing Education

06a_FCN_BoardCertPromo.pngWhat will faith community nurses do next?
That is the question asked in American Nurse today, the official journal of the American Nurses Association.  The answer is: “They’ll guide solutions that improve the delivery of patient care.  ANCC Certification empowers nurses to put their specialty knowledge into action and take charge of their professional journeys. Leader. Innovator. Problem-solver.”  The American Nurses Credentialing Center offers board-certification in Faith Community Nursing. Mentoring is available to help you create your portfolio. 

What can board certification as a faith community nurse do?  Increase the respect for your practice among your health care colleagues, congregants and ministerial colleagues.  When individuals need health care they seek those recognized as most knowledgeable, for example if you have a cardiac issue a doctor board certified in cardiac care is preferable.  When a FCN is board certified in faith community nursing our specialized knowledge base and practice has been acknowledged by our nursing profession and non-health care professionals respect this designation.


06b_BibleTransgenderExperience.pngDo you want to deepen your understanding about the transgender experience of those who you serve?  The Bible and the Transgender Experience: How Scripture Supports Gender Variance by Linda Tatro Herzer may help.  The Open and Affirming Coalition of the UCC considers it a must read for all pastors, chaplains, counselors, family, friends, members of ONA congregations or congregations beginning their ONA journey, and I would add – faith community nurses!  It is available from Pilgrim Press


Faith Community Nursing: Impact on 30-day Readmissions – As reported by Abbondanza and Reinbeck at the Health Ministries Asso. convention, the faith community nurse has the ability to integrate the nursing interventions of education, advocacy, and personal support with the spiritual tenets of the patient’s faith community and reduce the hospital re-admission rates for individuals with pneumonia, acute myocardial infarction and congestive heart failure. 

In their study:

  • The annual cost to the hospital for re-admissions was $710,000. 
  • The cost savings achieved by involving faith community nurses in post discharge planning and patient oversight was $575,000. 
  • The expense for 3 faith community nurses was $135,000.
  • The financial savings of over half a million dollars for a hospital, not to mention the savings of pain and suffering of individuals and their families when re-admission rates are reduced are significant.
The results of this and prior studies indicate that as a result of these savings a local hospital system could partner as a funding source for FCNs working within local congregations.  For more information about this particular study contact Professor Donna Reinbeck at Kean University.


Have questions? Contributions? Ideas for future Issues?

Please share them with Peggy Matteson, editor of our newsletter.

07_ChristmasCandles.pngPLEASE NOTE:

This is the November/December issue of this newsletter.

The January/February issue will be sent out towards the end of January.

Wishing you a blessed and joy filled Advent and Christmas tide.