UCC Faith Community Nurses eNewsletter – June 2016


 Subscribe-green.jpgJune 2016, Volume 1, Issue 6


By now you have noticed that often the lead story in this newsletter is about some event three months in the future.  The reason for this is to give you time for planning, gathering materials, and then getting the information out to your congregation and the community you serve.  That is why now, at the end of June we are looking ahead to early October.

The month of October contains two national health observances of concern for many families within our congregations.  They are Domestic Violence Awareness Month and National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

01-1-DVPurpleRibbon.png1.  Domestic Violence Awareness Month

In the U.S. domestic violence is an epidemic that affects individuals in every congregation and community, regardless of age, economic status, sexual orientation, gender, race, religion, or nationality.  Domestic violence is defined as the willful intimidation, physical assault, battery, sexual assault, and/or other abusive behavior as part of a systematic pattern of power and control perpetrated by one intimate partner against another.  You know at least one person in a domestic violence situation even though she or he may hide it.

  • The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) states that its mission is to be  “the voice of victims and survivors. … the catalyst for changing society to have zero tolerance for domestic violence.”   They do this by affecting public policy, increasing understanding of the impact of domestic violence, and providing programs and education that drive that change.  Their website provides a wide variety of up-to-date resources and ideas for activities, many that a congregation’s mission committee might adopt.  Your state coalition can provide speakers, training sessions and helpful materials.   

Spiritual Support

  • The Faith Trust Institute has the mission to provide “faith communities and advocates with the tools and knowledge they need to address the faith and cultural issues related to abuse.  Rev. Marie Fortune, a UCC minister leads this this national, multi-faith, multicultural training and education organization.  The resources facilitate collaboration within and between faith groups, as well as collaboration between faith groups and secular organizations in order to improve community-wide approaches.  Unique to this site is the inclusion of spiritual care with resources for us to use within our congregations.  The pamphlet, What Every Congregation Needs to Know about Domestic Violence, is an excellent introduction of the topic and is available in 6 languages.  When used in combination with the documents: Why Do Faith Communities Matter in Addressing Domestic Violence? and What Faith Communities Can Do to Address Domestic Violence.  congregations may begin to think about how they might respond.

Community Action

  • The Clothesline Project honors women survivors, as well as those who have died from  intimate violence. Any woman, who has experienced such violence, at any time in her life, is encouraged to come forward and design a shirt. Victim’s families and friends are also invited to participate.

Participation in this project provides a powerful step towards helping a survivor break through the shroud of silence that has surrounded her experience.  When a church or churches come together and develop a Clothesline Project that is created and then displayed in a public place in the community, such as a mall sends a powerful message that there are places where victims may find sanctuary and healing.

01-2-BreastCancer(PInk)Ribbon.png2. National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

  • The American Cancer Society (ACS) provides information on all of the major cancers.  Their Breast cancer site has information on: reducing the risk of developing breast cancer, early detection, diagnosis, and treatment options.  Information is also provided for loved ones so they may be supportive of the patient experiencing cancer.  Using your zip code you can easily locate your local ACS affiliate.

01-3-BreastCancerRibbon-Men.pngThe ribbon color used to indicate support for breast cancer care is pink.  However, men also develop breast cancer.  The ribbon supporting men with breast cancer is pink on one side and a medium blue on the other.  Sites that provide information for men are the ACS breast cancer in men site and The Male Breast Cancer Coalition.

  • The Dr. Susan Love Research Foundation is dedicated to achieving a future without breast cancer within our lifetime by identifying the barriers to effective research and then creating new solutions.  Volunteers can assist in this process by joining the Army of Women and participating in research designed to find ways to eradicate breast cancer.  Both women who have experienced breast cancer, as well as those that haven’t are sought for participation.

Spiritual Support

  • I am …  is a four week program of daily reflection and weekly meetings for women who are dealing with cancer, whether they are the one who has a diagnosis of cancer, or a woman who is walking with a friend or family member who has cancer.  Its purpose is to help women journey together, supporting one another spiritually and emotionally while dealing with all the uncertainties caused by cancer.  Each week participants are reminded that they are more than a cancer diagnosis, (I am … alive, … a friend, … a family member, and …a member of a church community) and together they explore the spiritual questions such as where is God in the midst of this?  Why me?  Why now? 

Development of this program was funded by a grant and electronic versions of the Leader’s Guide and the Participants Booklet are available free of charge from the author and later breast cancer survivor, Peggy Matteson, PhD, RN-BC Faith Community Nurse.

  • Congregational Care and Cancer

This educational PowerPoint and Handbook were developed by UCC ministers Rev James DeBoer and Rev. Laura Fitzpatrick to facilitate a group discussion of some of the central questions and considerations that may emerge as you journey with those affected by cancer.  It may be used as one presentation or may be divided into three sessions: God’s Healing Touch (slides 1 through 13); Care Throughout the Seasons (slides 14 through 25); and Y(our) Congregation: What Can We Do? (slides 25-29).  The Congregational Care and Cancer

PowerPoint presentation, discussion guide and supportive resources are found in the column on the lower half of the page of this link on the UCC.org website.


  • Those of us who work in ministry face unique challenges for self-care as we strive to meet the varied needs of those within our congregations. According to surveys clergy often develop higher rates of some health problems than the population he or she is serving.  The UCC electronic mailing Congregations Weekly explores this in an article Clergy Health.  Although the data was collected from Methodist ministers and the article is labeled Clergy Health the information is relevant for all who are leaders in ministry. The 13 Key Factors for Healthy Church Leaders and their relationship to the 5 Dimensions of Health are a vivid reminder of where we should focus our self-care so we may achieve well-being and continue to serve.  These summer months are a perfect time to explore and initiate a program of self-care!


Evidence based practice

  • Spiritual care quality indicators

Want to document that your spiritual care is making a difference in people’s lives?

The HealthCare Chaplaincy Network has identified evidence-based quality indicators of spiritual care.  The 18 quality indicators fall into three categories: structural indicators, process indicators, and outcomes.  The process indicators and outcomes most directly apply to the work of FCNs.  The complete document is available at What is Quality Spiritual Care in Health Care and How Do You Measure it? https://www.healthcarechaplaincy.org/docs/research/quality_indicators_document_2_17_16.pdf


  • Reading the Bible for Guidance, Comfort, and Strength During Stressful Life Events  “The religious practice of reading scripture passages from The Bible is a mental health-promoting strategy used during stressful life events. The findings of this study have practical uses for nurses and can be used to inform acceptable and sensitive approaches in addressing mental health issues and spiritual care needs in African American patients.” (Nursing Research May/June 2013, Vol 62, No. 3, pg 178)  Abstract available

Free Webinars


  • July 6th – 9th National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) National Convention in Denver, CO.
    Will have several FaithNet programs including: Psychological, Social and Spiritual Faith Journeys for Veterans and Military Personnel, How to Respond to Survivors of Suicide: Words & Resources, and an Interfaith Prayer and Share Service    

Learning Experiences and Resources Shared by FCNs

  • A Shout Out to Board Certified Faith Community Nurses.  We know that a growing number of us have earned board certification as a Faith Community Nurse board from the American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC).  However, ANCC does not release the names of those certified so we don’t know who of us in the UCC have received it.

If you have earned board certification as a Faith Community Nurse we would like to celebrate with you and share that information among our colleagues.  Just scan your certificate and attach it in an to e-mail to nurses@ucc.org.  We look forward to hearing from you!


  • 05-MakeGlad.pngBe in sync with the rest of the UCC staff –  The new UCC Desk Calendar and Plan Book is now available.  Ask your church office to include you when they place the order.  There is a reduced price when ordering 5 or more.  The calendar will provide you with important dates and resources for our work together, within and between UCC churches.
  • Planning for fall activities and ministries?  The SafeConduct™ Workbench provides policy information as well as forms that can be used to protect both your volunteers as well as the vulnerable populations within your congregation.


Upcoming UCC Events

  • July 26th – 30thUCC National Youth Event 4,000 Disciples of Christ and UCC youth from across the country will gather at Walt Disney World’s Coronado Springs Resort.  Believe is the theme, but it is not a query. It is a charge, responsibility and call to action based on Hebrews 11:1. Perhaps a returning youth will be interested in becoming part of your health ministry team.


What topics would enhance your practice? 

What information would you like to share?

The following are some of the ideas that others have shared and we are working on:

  • Favorite music used in programming.
    Please share the title and performer of the work, as well as how you use it. 
  • Compensation for services.
    What compensations do you receive for the time and talents you share through your role in the congregation? …as a faith community nurse outside of your congregation?
  • Programming in collaboration with Sunday School program 
    How do you collaborate with the leader of the church school program to meet the needs of the children?
  • Programming in collaboration with the Youth Group activities
    What are the variety of ways you meet the needs of the youth in your congregation?
  • “Occupational health” interventions
    What interventions do you provide for the staff, paid and volunteer, so that they are supported in maintaining their own health and well being?

Please send along your ideas and/or information to Peggy Matteson, editor of the newsletter, at nurses@ucc.org.