UCC Faith Community Nurses eNewsletter – July 2016


July 2016, Volume 1, Issue 7


Access Sunday and Disabilities Awareness Week – October 9th- 15th

01-handicaplogo.pngAs part of our UCC identity, we state that No matter who you are or where you are on life’s journey, you are welcome here. However, in reality not all can come in.  Others once in can not participate.  Each year the UCC calendar designates the second Sunday in October as Access Sunday and the beginning of Disabilities Awareness Week.  Below are resources for programming at this time or at a time more fitting to your church calendar.

  • UCC Access Sunday – Disability does not mean inability!  We join together in celebrating the gifts of persons with disabilities and the strides that the church has made in being more whole through being more accessible.  It is also the day we acknowledge the work that is yet to be done. Worship materials are being developed for 2016. Materials are available from the UCC Disabilities Ministries.

To benefit members of the congregation consider inserting the z-fold resource A2A Disability Etiquette – What You Should Know in the Access Sunday worship guide.

  • UCC Disabilities Awareness Week –  We encounter people with disabilities, both seen and unseen every day.  We meet them at school, at church, at work, in stores, and in our neighborhood.  People with disabilities have the same spiritual needs, the same feelings and dreams as everyone else. The greatest barrier to inclusion in our churches is often not architecture; it’s our lack of knowledge and understanding.

The website Disabled World provides a variety of information including disability etiquette guidelines. 

Links to a variety of educational materials may be found at Materials to Raise Awareness of Disability. 

Indiana University’s Center for Disability Information and Referral: Kids Corner answers the question, “Have you ever wondered what it’s like to have a disability?” with a wide assortment of activities.

For a better understanding of how hidden disabilities keep families from church it may be helpful to read How to Welcome Children with Autism and Their Families.

  • The UCC Disabilities Ministries has prepared tools to help congregations determine how accessible their buildings and programs are currently.  An introduction to starting the conversation on becoming Accessible to All (A2A) is The A2A Process: A Brief Guide for Churches

Several church committees may welcome the tool The Church Building and Program Accessibility Audit.  It can be completed online, printed as a PDF, or as a WORD document.   Answers to Frequently Asked Questions with regards to improving access are available.

Accessibility is more than a ramp!  The UCC congregational guide titled Any Body, Everybody, Christ’s Body is a study guide and resource on how to provide hospitality to those with visible and unseen disabilities


John Dorhauer, General Minister and President of the UCC offered thoughts in the prior  UCC Desk Calendar and Plan Book that when I recently re-read them have relevance for us.  In part Rev. Dorhauer asks colleagues and friends in the UCC to “re-imagine not just what gets recognized as a gift of God, but to re-imagine how these gifts are offered to the people of God”.  

He urges:

Be playful. Take joy in recognizing with each new day how God blesses you and calls you to be a blessing to others.  …share God’s graces in new ways. Feel the Holy spirit at play, enticing you with the giddiness of new permissions granted.”

Be bold. Imagine things that you were never before permitted to do.  Hear your still speaking God doing a new thing.  Imagine new horizons that extend your vision beyond what is known and comfortable.”

“Be forgiving. While risking what an open imagination in partnership with God’s Holy Spirit can entice you to, love yourself through the failures and the mishaps that come.  …know God’s Holy Spirit will care less that you failed than that you trusted her enough to try.”

“You are a gift of God for the people of God. Express yourself fully as gift. May it please our God to take the kindness of your offerings, the blessing of your service, the joy of your spirit offered to those in need and make of them far more than you could have hoped for or imagined.”

Grant yourself the time to reflect how these words might affect your ministry this fall?


  • A once in 5-year opportunity to comment on the updated Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice!  The draft of the 3rd edition of the Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice (ANA/HMA, 2016) is complete and ready for your review.   Revisions in ANA’s Foundation of Nursing series:  Guide to Nursing’s Social Policy Statement, Code of Ethics for Nurses, and Nursing: Scope and Standard of Practice then necessitates updates to the documents related to each specialized practice such as faith community nursing.   You will find the draft document on the website of the Health Ministries AssociationComments will be accepted until August 15th.

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  • August 2nd  2:00pm CDT   Topic: What Does it Mean to be a Family? This interactive webinar will help participants discern the church’s role in supporting family health.
  • Sept. 15th   11:00-12:00pm PT    Topic – Pastoral Care Issues: Addressing the End-of-Life Needs of Survivors of Sexual Assault / Domestic Violence  As survivors of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse reach the end of their lives, many are longing to find peace, integration, and validation of their life experiences. Their stories of survival and coping may have left them struggling for many years with faith issues, such as forgiveness, suffering, and shame.  The presenter will focus on how to help survivors find understanding of their place with God and peace at the end of their lives.
  • Sept. 27th  2:00pm CDT   Topic:  Five Dimensions of Health This interactive webinar will discuss the 5 dimensions of health highlighting how church leaders can nurture these aspects of health in their community.

Experts will address what you can do to reduce the risk of child-to-child abuse in your ministries.

  • Oct. 25th  2:00pm CDT   Topic:  Nurturing Active Families This interactive webinar will explore how families can grow together through play, movement and healthy nutrition. Fun and creativity are crucial factors.


Online Course

  • FEMA’s Emergency Management Institute is offering a new self-paced, independent study course 505, Religious and Cultural Literacy and Competency in Disaster. The course provides emergency management professionals and faith and community leaders active in disaster with literacy and competency tools to engage religious and cultural groups both pre- and post-disaster.


  • The United Church of Christ and Church World Service have updated The Silent Disaster – 21st Century Response to Technology Disasters. Victims of technology-caused disasters are often people with limited resources, live in undesirable locations, or otherwise have no political presence or power.  These vulnerabilities may call for the involvement of the faith community as advocate and protagonist in ways not common in other disasters.  This book is a part of your toolbox for preparing and responding to a disaster in your community.  Copies may be obtained from the UCC Disaster Ministries office by email to: dickend@ucc.org.
  • Children’s Sabbath – Listed on the UCC Calendar as October 16th , the national multi-faith observance of Children’s Sabbaths is sponsored by the Children’s Defense Fund, as a way for faith communities to celebrate children as sacred gifts of the Divine.  There are 2 kinds of Children’s Sabbath celebrations.  First, the celebrations in your own place of worship which typically takes place during the customary time for services, prayers, or other worship.  The other kind of Children’s Sabbath is a community-wide, multifaith celebration that brings together many different places of worship. Resources for both types are available.


What topics would enhance your practice?  What information would you like to share?

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

  • NANDA approved nursing diagnoses related to spirituality and religiosity and how these move our profession towards a common language when discussing situations.
  • 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 wellbeing?

 Please send along your ideas and/or information to Peggy Matteson, editor of the newsletter.


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