UCC Faith Community Nurses eNewsletter August 2017




August 2017, Volume 2, Issue 7

Linking Lives for Health and Wholeness

The Faith Community Nurse Health Ministry Newsletter

Mind, Body, Spirit:
“Making Glad” at SYNOD 2017 

1-GS31_MakeGlad_logo.pngEvery two years, General Synod brings together thousands of members of the United Church of Christ for formal church witness, inspirational worship, and fellowship with friends (new and old).  From June 30th through July 4th many thousands from across the country and abroad gathered in Baltimore, Maryland. Together we were able to “Make Glad” as we celebrated, debated, learned during workshops and speak outs, worshipped, and bore witness to the Stillspeaking God.  (Search UCC Synod 2017 on YouTube and you can share the experience.)

The UCC Health, Wholeness & Human Services Luncheon on Sunday provided us with the opportunity to share what it is we do as Faith Community Nurses with others and learn about other ministries that are part of the UCC Health and Wholeness Advocacy Office, the Council for Health and Human Service Ministries (CHHSM), UCC HIV & AIDs Network (UCAN), UCC Disabilities Ministries (UCCDM), and the UCC Mental Health Network (UCCMHN).  The gathered information and resources are shared below.

2-NursesBanner.pngAlyson Breisch and Peggy Matteson staffed the FCN information table in the Exhibit Hall.  This provided us the opportunity to meet many people and learn what each of their churches are doing to care for their congregations and the community they serve.  We gathered many ideas which will be shared with as we move forward during the next year.  A BIG thank you to Marsha Komandt who took a picture of our banner and posted it in the Synod gallery of pictures.

Resources from our UCC colleagues that will facilitate our ministries for health and wellness:

  • The Council for Health and Human Services Ministries  (CHHSM) has developed Age-Friendly Congregations, a new curriculum for exploring how to minister well with, to and for older adults.  “Age-Friendly Congregations will assist you and your congregation in having guided, intentional study, conversation and reflection about how you might strengthen your commitment to serving older adults – and why you should.”  Look for it online and in UCCresources.com in August.
  • The UCC HIV & AIDS Network (UCAN) is providing faith-based leadership for ending the HIV and AIDS epidemic as a public health threat by 2030.  To do this we have to reduce the stigma surrounding HIV testing so that more people are tested and those who are infected start to receive medication that will reduce their viral load.  There are a number of easily implemented ideas on their webpage. A CDC report, HIV Testing, Linkage to HIV Medical Care … Among Youth provides additional information.  The implications for public health practice are to increase HIV testing among youths so that they may be rapidly linked and retained in appropriate medical care.

    3-AIDS_Quilt-David.pngThe urgency of this work was underlined by the display of more than 80 quilts.  The panels are part of the ever growing  NAMES Project – AIDS Memorial QuiltThis website provides information about the Quilt and how we can apply to have panels sent for display in our ministry work.

  • The UCC Disabilities Ministries (UCCDM)has developed a booklet The A2A Process: A Brief Guide for Churches to help a church in becoming A2A, or “Accessible to All.”  A “Church Building and Program Audit” and a curriculum that can help you educate around the needs your audit might identify are also available on their website.
  • The Mental Health Network (UCC MHN) provides resources and educational and support opportunities.  The Network has developed a process by which your congregation can become WISE about mental health. The acronym WISE represents: Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, Engaged.
  • LBGTQ Ministriesa UCC joint ministry of Justice & Witness Ministries and Wider Church Ministries, provides information we may use for education and advocacy around health issues, creating safe spaces, and advancing  and defending human rights for people of all sexual orientations and gender identities and expressions.
  • LGBT people of faith often experience emotional and spiritual injury in churches that condemn their capacity to love and seek love.  A public welcome by an Open and Affirming church sends a clear message to LGBT people that they have a home in the united Church of Christ.  This affirmation and support can be a life-saving and life-changing experience – especially for LGBT youth.
  • 4-JustWorld4All-logo.jpgThe  UCC Scouting Working Group provides resources to support inclusive scouting in your congregation and community.  In the Boy Scouts of America (BSA), UCC congregations currently charter over 1,000 Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops and Venturing Crews.  Many of us FCNs  interact with these youth as part of our ministry of health and wellness.


I am only one, but still I am one.

I cannot do everything, but still I can do something;

And because I cannot do everything,

I will not refuse to do the something that I can do.

                                              Edward Everett Hale


Evidence Based-Practice

  • Opioid Crisis in our midst:  The current opioid crisis could kill nearly half a million people across America over the next decade.  More than 2.5 million adults in the U.S. are struggling with addiction to opioid drugs, including prescription painkillers and heroin.  Deaths from opioids currently kill more Americans under age 50 than anything else. The consensus – it will get worse before it gets better.  Odds are we each have members of our congregation who are dealing with this issue either personally or within their family.  Learn  How 12 people are trying to slow the opioid epidemic.   Also we can download information from the Center for Disease Control that will help us educate our congregants about the crisis and what each of them may do to reduce the risk at Understanding prescriptions that can lead to addictionAlso our individual state Departments of Health can provide information andlocal resources.
  • Since Accidental Falls Are Leading Cause of Injury and Death in Older Americans this makes education and advocacy efforts to reduce the risk of falling a priority within many of our congregations.   Lower Your Risk of Falling  provides basic information and simple steps that an individual can take to reduce the risk of falling.   Implementing some of the safe guards may require the assistance of a handy person or construction worker so that safety bars and railings are installed correctly.  However, not every older person has the same reality as to when they are at increased risk.   To help start a conversation that explains your concerns or those of their family  Preventing Falls: Conversation Starters  is a very useful tool.  Additional information, Simple Changes for Home Safety, may be downloaded from NIH Senior Health.


  • 5-ParablesBookCvr.pngA community of people with special needs deserve an option for a totally inclusive service where they are welcome to be themselves completely – without apology. Wayzata Community Church, UCC, in Wayzata, MN identified and created an opportunity for that option, resulting in “PARABLES: Special Needs. Special Gifts,” an inspiring model of collaborative worship and faith formation.  A “How-To” Guide for Offering a Radically Inclusive Worship Service with the Special Needs Community is available from UCC Resources. This guide shows you how you can re-create this radically inclusive worship service for those with special needs in your community. The development of this ministry resource was made possible with the support of the Minnesota UCC Conference Ashley Endowment Fund.


Tool kits for October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. 

  • Speak Out Sabbath is October 13-15th as Faith Communities Unite to End Sexual Violence during worship services held that weekend.  The website asks: “Will your faith community take action?  Will you speak out?  Use your voice.  Learn how.”    It then provides information, trainings, tools, and sermon guides.  The five-step Sacred Spaces Resource Kit provides faith and lay leaders with concrete, action points to speak out appropriately and effectively against sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).  While the official date is the second weekend of the month the issue is  important enough and there are enough resources available to use the entire month as an opportunity to speak out and take action that saves lives.


  • Do you find that whenever you have a Health Ministry Team meeting you are expected to be the one to offer the prayer at the start of the meeting?  Members of the team may need help to become more comfortable in leading a group in prayer themselves?  Pilgrim Press offers This Is How We Begin – Devotionals and Prayers to Start Meetings with more than 40 short devotionals followed by a brief prayer.  This easy to use resource will increase the self-confidence and comfort level in offering spoken prayer.

Continuing Education

Book Club On-line

The  Meaningful Voices Book Club is designed to foster conversations between advocates, clergy, seminary students, academics, and lay leaders on the role of faith in our lives, the dynamics of domestic and sexual violence and the ramifications of violence on individuals, our faith communities, and the wider culture. The online book discussions will also increase awareness of what individuals can do to support victims and respond effectively and sensitively to victims/survivors, their families, and abusers.   The next book group discussion is August 8th and the book is Bipolar Faith: A Black Woman’s Journey with Depression and Faith.  Go to the Meaningful Voices Book Club site (link above) and register for the live discussion.


06-HMAlogo.pngHealth Ministries Association National Conference – Sept. 11th -13th, Erlanger, KY (near Cincinnati, OH) The Sacred Practice of Caring: Working Together for Healthier Communities     Rev. Dr. Sarah Griffith Lund, a UCC pastor and currently VP for Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis and Vice-chair of the UCC Mental Health Networks is a keynote speaker.  As always we UCC FCNs will have breakfast together.  Hope you can make it! 


  • The Insurance Board On-line Learning has a schedule of free webinars for your church.  They are scheduled on Wednesdays from 2:00 – 3:00pm EST.  To register click here and choose what would be helpful to your ministry.

Keeping Your Ministries Safe: 5 Things Churches Can Do to Prevent Abuse

Weds. Sept. 13th 2:00-3:00 EST


How to Avoid Background Screening Litigation

Weds. Oct. 11th 2:00-3:00 EST

Key compliance tips to help your church safely obtain and use background checks.


Some dates provide the opportunity to integrate health ministry activities with programming of other ministries.

   Sept. 17th       Just Peace Sunday

   Sept. 21st       International Day of Prayer for Peace

   Oct. 2nd           International Day of Nonviolence

   Oct. 14th         Access Sunday and Disabilities Awareness Week

   Oct. 16th         World Food Day

   Oct. 21st          Children’s Sabbath


   Nov. 13-17th  Anti-Bullying Week

   Nov. 25th        International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women


   Dec.1st            World AIDS Day


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


Looking for something you remember reading last year but you don’t remember in which issue of 2016 it occurred?
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!