UCC Faith Community Nurses eNewsletter – May 2016



Volume 1, Issue 5


Even as we start to focus on our individual summer vacations we are simultaneously planning for activities that will occur in August and September when schools re-open and Christian education activities resume.  The following topical resources may be helpful to your programming:  (1) bullying, (2) hand washing, and (3) lunch box nutrition.



Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose. Unfortunately, children are not just bullied at school. Some experience this unhealthy behavior when participating in activities at churchStopbullying.gov provides helpful information for FCNs, parents, teachers, those in the community, as well as resources for teens and kids.

Schools can be a dangerous places for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) youth.  “The OUT for Safe Schools™ program identifies visible adult allies within a school. This helps LGBT youth feel safe and supported while also helping to deter bullies. More information is available at Out For Safe Schools. Perhaps this program could be adapted for within your church community.

Hand washing – Clean Hands Save Lives. 

Hand washing is particularly important when people are sharing books, pencils, crayons, scissors, food and the accompanying germs. Without proper hand cleaning an infection can quickly spread among children and adults, placing all within our church community at risk, especially those who are elderly or immune-compromised. Educational activities are available that promote hand washing among all ages.

Nutrition in a Lunch box

The start of school brings the challenge of filling children’s lunchboxes. You can help parents with suggestions of affordable and nutritious food that kids will eat. The Lunchbox Chatter Newsletter Program provides guidelines for including the major food groups, food safety tips, a grocery shopping template, and sample lunch box “menus” that will work with even picky eaters.

SELF-CARE – You need a vacation!

It is not always easy to gift our self with time away from our ministry. Yet, as health care professionals we know how important it is to take a break. It is something we freely encourage others to do. What about us?

In the UCC Daily Devotional, The Badge of Busyness

Matthew Laney reminds us “’Remember the Sabbath’ is not only a command for rest; it is an invitation to know the joy of being unnecessary. No one is more important or necessary than God and even God took a day off.”   

In The Value of a Vacation the author explains that “time away creates a healthier, more productive, recharged individual. The importance of vacations to our physical and mental health also supports why we should take a vacation and gives tips on how to make the most of it for our health and well-being.  During the summer months it is often a quieter time in the church year making it easier to find a way to get away!



  • Explaining a Health Ministry Team – In congregations used to a committee structure we often have to explain about our process of working with a Health Ministry Team. An article How Ministry Teams Get Things Done.  Describing the difference between church committees and ministry teams this article then explains how they function and why they are successful.


  • June 8th  Topic – Security and Your Church – 2:00pm EST – A free webinar offered by the Insurance Board will discuss violence in churches, guns, and recommendations for reducing risk and making your church safer and more secure. Go to Insurance Board or Click here to register.
  • June 9th 2:00 pm EDT or July 14th 2:00pm EDT   Topic – Got coverage? Next Steps in Using Your Health Insurance  Many people now have health insurance but may not know how to use it. This webinar will highlight From Coverage to Care health insurance literacy tools and how to use them.

June 9th

July 14th

  • June 14th 3:00 pm EDT or July 19th 2:00pm EDT  Topic – Special Enrollment Periods and Resources for the Uninsured  Learn more about special enrollment periods (ex. graduation, marriage, loss of job with insurance)  and how people may enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace. Click here to register:

June 14th

July 19th


  • July 6th – 9th National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) National Convention, 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


  • Becky Anton, MSN, RN, FCN, Commissioned Minister of Congregational Health participated in a daylong workshop: Domestic Violence: What Every Christian Needs to Know, led by Rev. Al Miles. The 60 participants: ministers, FCNs, and lay leaders learned about domestic violence and considered best practices for providing spiritual care to victims-survivors and offenders of domestic violence. Some of Rev. Miles information is available at Intimate Partner Violence & Intimate Partner Justice: How Spiritual Teaching Impact Both  A handout of Resources was distributed. The program was presented by the Northern California Nevada Conference of the UCC.
  • Alyson Breisch, MSN, RN-BC, FCN, Commissioned Minister of Congregational Health attended the 2016 Westberg Symposium, held in Skokie, Illinois.  The theme was Faith Community Nursing, Resilience: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow.  Some of the highlights were:
—   Pioneers in Parish Nursing: A Legacy for Practice Today.  Ann Solari-Twadell served as moderator and Rosemarie Mattheus, Mary Ann McDermott, and Saralea Holstrom shared narratives about the early days of parish nursing.
—   Granger Westberg Memorial Lecture, Contemporary Faith & Health from a Contemporary of Westberg: A Conversation with Martin E. Marty.  Dr. Marty’s theological perspectives and humorous responses were a wonderful way to close a busy day of sessions. 
—   Patricia Liehr, PhD, RN, Professor and Asso. Dean for Nursing Scholarship, Florida Atlantic University, in her keynote address explained how we may use the power of the story as a vital sign for faith community nursing practice and research.
—   Aly gathered UCC FCNs together for a networking over lunch.
—   At the closing of the conference it was announced that the IPNRC’s name has been changed to the Westberg Institute
—   It was also announced that next year there will be four regional conferences rather than one national Westberg Symposium. 
  • Linda Morgan, BS, RN FCN participated in LIFE (Lifelong Learner Institute of Faith Exploration), a program during which lay men and women study scripture and explore Christian faith and life. LIFE is sponsored jointly by the UCC Missouri Mid-South Conference, the UCC Illinois South Conference and Eden Theological. This program helped Linda meet some of the requirements set by her conference’s Committee on Ministry as she prepares for commissioning as an Authorized Minister of Congregational Health.

Many UCC Conferences and Associations of the UCC sponsor in-depth, ongoing continuing education for adults. Some of these programs may become part of the preparation for commissioned or licensed ministries at the discretion of the Authorizing Association.


07-UCCdeskcalendar.jpgUCC Calendar of Events


  • June 7th – 9th  National ONA (Open and Affirming) Gathering, St. Joseph, MN [http:// openandaffirming.org/news/ona-gathering]


  • June 25th – 59th Anniversary of the United Church of Christ


  • June 27th – National HIV Testing Day
    1 in 7 people with HIV in the U.S. don’t know they have it. To end HIV as a public health threat “All of us must do our part to know HIV – know it in our community, know our own HIV status, and take every measure to prevent its spread.” – Rev. Michael Schuenemeyer, Executive, Office for Health and Wholeness Advocacy and Exec. Dir., United Church of Christ AIDS Network. We can use National HIV Testing Day to raise awareness about the importance of testing. Resources are available on the UCC HIV and AIDS Ministry  website and on the National Health Observance website.
  • 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.

National Health Observances (NHOs) (selected items)

Month of August

  • For children to succeed they need to be able to see. Have you done a vision screening so difficulties are identified early?  Children’s Eye Health and Safety Prevent Blindness 

Month of September

Week-long campaigns

  • September 21st – Overloaded backpacks can lead to life long neck and back problems. Help children care for the body God has given them. information is available for National School Backpack Awareness Day 


  • Zika virus Outdoor summertime activities led to questions about the Aedes mosquitoes and the Zika virus. Updated information and infographics are available from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.  Consumer Reports has released free to the public an updated report of its exclusive test results and ratings of mosquito repellents – including those that will protect you best against Aedes mosquitoes, the type that carry the Zika virus.
  • When Disaster relief brings anything but relief is a video that explains that “How” we respond to disasters is just as important as the heart with which we respond.  Zach Wolgemuth, Exec, UCC Disaster Ministries recommends that it be shared with members of the congregation before planning the next response to a disaster.


  • 06-AlyBreisch.jpgAly Breisch, MS, RN-BC, Commissioned Minister of Congregational Health presented at the Reimagining Medicine conference at Porter Adventist Hospital in Denver, CO, April 6th – 7th.   Read a summary of her presentation “The Path to Making Nursing a Ministry”.


  • 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 
  • Programming in collaboration with the Youth Group activities
  • “Occupational health” interventions do you provide for the staff, paid and volunteer?

What would you like to know more about? 

What information are you seeking?

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