UCC Faith Community Nurses eNewsletter-March 2017



March 2017, Volume 2, Issue 2

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

The Faith Community Nurse Health Ministry Newsletter


img_01-Widen_the_Welcome.jpgAs faith community nurses we integrate the care of spiritual, mental and physical health.  A year ago this newsletter provided resources to increase the understanding of the need and ways to provide care of the 1 in 5 in our congregations who are dealing with mental illness/brain disorders every year.   Some of the described actions that churches have taken since then are:

  • Prayer lists now include prayers for people experiencing mental illness
  • Mental Health Sunday has been observed in more of our churches
  • Information has been shared through Sunday bulletin inserts, bulletin boards, and bringing in speakers such as the NAMI Parents and Teachers as Allies program
  • The movie Pack Up Your Sorrows: A Story of Illness, Hope, and Transformation was shown and then followed by a panel discussion.
  • Mental Health First Aid courses were completed by pastors and lay leaders
  • Churches offered meeting space to NAMI Family Support Groups and Connection Recovery Support Groups

If you have found ways to support those dealing with mental illness/brain disorders please let us know so we can share your initiatives.   Do you have an activity In the planning stages?  

Mental Health Sunday

This year the UCC calendar lists May 21st as Mental Health Sunday.  A variety of resources are available to download and print for distribution on the UCC Mental Health page. 

Become A W.I.S.E. Congregation

Perhaps the next step is for you and your Health Ministry Team to lead the congregation into becoming a W.I.S.E. (Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged for Mental Health) CongregationBecause of the wholistic focus of health ministry many of the suggested steps may have already been completed.


As Christian leaders Gretchen E. Ziegenhals believes we have a theological obligation to ask the question, Will This Work Make Me Sick?” She raises the question not to have us to stop doing God’s work, but to lead us to make choices that sustain us in our ministry.  Her insights and suggestions are applicable to all our colleagues in ministry.


Best Practice

Our best practices evolve as we learn more about people, situations, and the complexity of the lives of others. 10 Things Faith Community Leaders Can Do To Make the World a Better Place for People with Mental Illness provides specific suggestions for us to follow as we lead our congregations in reducing the stigma of mental illness.

Health Education Programming

May is National Physical Fitness and Sports Month   

img_02-basketball_child.jpgNo matter our age or body type we honor the unique creation that each of is by being physically active. National Physical Fitness and Sports Month is a great time to spread the word about how even small changes can make a difference.  A toolkit of materials for newsletters, bulletin boards, or planning a program is available.

Consider organizing a walking group to meet weekly at the church or another location within the community.  It is a wonderful way to bring a range of ages in a congregation together for a time of fellowship and joint purpose.  Some churches walk with a distance goal related to a theme such as “Walking to Bethlehem” during Advent or  “Walking to Jerusalem” during Lent.  Others correlate the trek to a distant mission.  Once the distance between their church and the location is calculated it becomes the collective mile-goal of the congregation towards which all walkers may contribute – those who are participate in the walking group and those who walk individually at different times.   A visual display of the combined efforts of the group will encourage participation as the congregation moves towards it’s common goal.  Perhaps the completion of the trek can be celebrated with a healthy potluck dinner and a program related to the theme.

Balancing Positive Actions with Potential Risks

While advocating for outside activities we must simultaneously reduce the risks of skin cancer by providing information about the use of hats and how to choose effective sunscreen.  A toolkit of resources available for Melanoma/Skin Cancer Detection and Prevention Month. Materials available for other National Health Observances in May that may be of interest to your congregation.


After Traumatic Events … Listen is a list of actions we can take to reassure children that they are safe even when we may not feel safe ourselves.  This is especially important in such unsettling times as now.  Written by Melanie C. Gordon and made available by the Discipleship Ministries of the United Methodist Church it also provides links to additional resources for ministers, teachers and parents.img_03-7_simple_ways.png

Life’s Simple 7® and Life’s Simple 7© for Kids are programs of the American Heart Asso. that explain how making small adjustments every day will keep your heart healthy.  Life’s Simple 7 are: get active, eat better, lose weight, stop smoking, control cholesterol, manage blood pressure, and reduce blood sugar.   Many resources are available to support a wide variety of health promotion activities in each of the 7 areas.  These materials could easily become the basis of a year-long program to care for the one tool we have been given to do God’s work – our body.



In Nov. 2016 the U.S. Surgeon General published a report that nearly 21 million people in America have a substance use disorder involving alcohol or drugs.  That equals the number of Americans with diabetes and is higher than the total number of Americans suffering from all cancers combined.  In spite of the scope of this problem, only 1 in 10 people with a substance abuse disorder receives treatment.  …we know that addiction is not a moral failing. It is a chronic illness that must be treated with skill, urgency, and compassion.  When we stop judging we can start helping.  A Toolkit that provides information and suggestions for action is available.


img_04-Healing_Ceremonies.jpg In Healing Ceremonies – Creating Personal Rituals for Spiritual, Emotional, Physical and Mental Health. We who participate in communal rituals and ceremonies of church understand what the authors mean when they write “… rituals and ceremonies provide the structure that helps us deal with the expected and unexpected transitions in our lives. Rituals and ceremonies help orient us during crises. They facilitate connections, helping us to reframe our experience in more functional ways”.   In this book, originally published in 1997, the authors provided step-by-step guidelines for individuals to identify and build their own personal health and healing rituals.

More information about The Key Role of Ceremony is available from the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

NeurologyNow is a publication that provides information and advice from experts in the field of Neurology on a wide range of topics.  Subscriptions are free for individuals with a neurologic disorder, their family members, and caregivers.  Call 800-422-2681, go to the website http://NeurologyNow.com and click on the subscription link, or download an app for a digital library of issues.   Articles of interest in the Jan. 2017 issue include: 8 Ways to Find or Start a Support Group, Questions to ask about depression, Open Notes – How Access to Your Medical Records Can Improve Your Health. 

img_05-computer_keyboard.png Continuing Education

The Insurance Board On-line learning site has released a schedule of free webinars for your church.  They are scheduled on Wednesdays from 2:00 – 3:00pm EST.  To register click on the titles below.  The webinars are recorded so if you miss one you can always listen later.


Refresh Your Soul 2017 – March 13th & 14th, Cincinnati, OH
Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Overcoming the Struggles & Living Inspired
Keynote speaker: John O’Leary, author of On Fire – The 7 Choices to Ignite a Radically Inspired Life. Questions? Contact 513-979-2246.

National ONA Gathering – June 27th – 29th, Baltimore, MD

We’re celebrating the Coalition’s 45th anniversary ——– and you can help us plan for the next 45 years!

img_06-GS31_Make_Glad_logo.pngUCC Synod – June 30 – July 4th 2017 Baltimore, MD
Theme:  Make glad!
We look forward to meeting you, spending time with you, and sharing insights and ideas for our ministries of health.

Looking for something you remember reading last year but you don’t remember in which issue of 2016 Volume 1?

A topical Index now is posted on the UCC website with the list of those newsletters so that you may more easily find the information!

06a-QuestionMark.pngHave something you want to share with your colleagues?Are you looking for something to assist you in your ministry?
That which we share with others multiplies immeasurably.

Contact Peggy Matteson