UCC Faith Community Nurses eNewsletter – October 2017



October 2017, Volume 2, Issue 9

Linking Lives for Health and Wholeness

The Faith Community Nurse Health Ministry Newsletter

Mind, Body, Spirit


The Faith Community Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice, 3rd edis now available from the Health Ministries Association (HMA), the professional organization for our specialty and co-developers with the American Nurses Association (ANA) of the document that defines our professional practice.

The ANA recognizes faith community nursing as a nursing specialty. With an intentional focus on spiritual health, the faith community nurse primarily uses evidence-based practice interventions such as health education, counseling, prayer, presence, active listening, advocacy, referrals, and a wide variety of other resources available to the faith community and its ministries.

The practice of faith community nursing continues to evolve in response to identified needs, changes in the nursing profession, and the health care system.  This 3rd edition will assist in helping keep your practice in line with new developments.  Copies may be ordered from HMA at the discounted price of $27.95 for HMA and/or ANA members. The regular price is $32.95.

FCN: Scope and Standards Workshops

HMA is providing workshops on this new edition of the Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice that provide up to 3.25 hours of continuing education. The workshop identifies key aspects of the revised edition and reviews ways to incorporate selected competencies of professional practice into the independent faith community nursing practice.  Discussion also examines accountability and the indicators that demonstrate competent professional practice.   You may request a workshop in your area.



Advent through the end of the Christmastide is a very busy time for those of us in ministry.  Yet, sometimes the happiest and holiest time of the year is the hardest for us to enjoy. In All I Really Want – Readings for a Modern Christmas, Rev. Quinn G. Caldwell offers brief thoughts that speak to the challenges and realities of the season while simultaneously leading us towards a closer experience of God.  If you have read Quinn’s contributions to the Still Speaking Daily Devotionals you know his pieces can playful and funny yet theologically profound.   If you plan ahead and gift yourself with this book it may offer you a means for self-care during this holiday season. 


(The following resources were gathered at the HMA Conference held in September)

Evidence Based-Practice

  • Becoming Age Friendly:  The World Health Organization has developed a Checklist of Essential Features of Age-friendly Cities based on the results of the WHO Global Age-Friendly Cities project consultation in 33 cities in 22 countries. The checklist may be used to assess both current status and to develop a map for charting progress.  The checklist has items applicable to both church property as well as the surrounding community.   For the checklist to be used effectively, older people must be involved as full partners.  They can describe how the checklist matches their own experiences and then play a role in suggesting changes and in implementing and monitoring improvements.
  • 03_Soul_Repair.pngMoral Injury:  The damage done to one’s conscience or moral compass when that person perpetrates, witnesses, or fails to prevent acts that transgress their own moral and ethical values or codes of conduct (Veterans Admin.)   We are called to care for those who have been harmed in this way.  but most of us have little knowledge or experience as to what to do or were to refer them.  The book such as Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War by Brock & Lettini or the article Recovering from Moral Injury written by three chaplains can increase our understanding.  Additional information is available at the The National Center for PTSD of the VA and The Moral Injury Project at Syracuse University


Tool kits

  • Responding to the Opioid Crises:  The Partnership Center for Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships of the US Dept. Health and Human Services has compiled the  Opioid Epidemic Practical Toolkit: Helping Faith and Community Leaders Bring  Hope and Healing to Our Communities.  In 2015 more than 52,000 people died of a drug overdose in the U.S., the majority of them from opioids, and some of them are our neighbors, friends, and family members.  We can be an instrumental partner in addressing and preventing this public health  issue, and for some in our congregations a family issue.   This e-kit outlines ways in which you and your community can save lives and families by supporting prevention efforts and providing support for those in and seeking recovery..  We can promote a culture of compassion towards those struggling with the illness of addiction.
  • 04_2Women.pngUnderstanding Alzheimer’s Disease:  More than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s. More than 15 million Americans provide unpaid care for loved ones with Alzheimer’s or other dementias.  Alzheimer’s disease is the 6th leading cause of death in the U.S.   In our role we provide support for those with dementia as well as their caregivers.  The Alzheimer’s Association through its on-line Education and Resource Center provides information to improve understanding of the disease and links to local chapters and support groups.


  • Antibiotic Awareness:  We have a role on the Antibiotic Stewardship Team.  The need to improve antibiotic use is fundamentally a patient safety issue.  FCNS can be educators, advocates, and ambassadors for widespread behavioral change and a more vigilant antibiotic awareness.  This white paper provides information that increases understanding as to when antibiotic therapy is appropriate and how to support necessary behavioral changes within two groups: (1) those that seek antibiotic treatment when not appropriate and (2) those who are prescribed antibiotics but utilize them incorrectly.


  • Have you been Commissioned as an authorized minister by your UCC Association following the requirements of the UCC Manual on Ministry? 

Some of us have, after fulfilling the procedures of ecclesiastical authorization of ministry, as laid out in the 2002 version of the UCC Manual on Ministry (MOM) became authorized minister in the UCC under the category of commissioned.   There are about 125 commissioned ministers within the UCC with ministries in: Congregational Health (FCNs), Music, Faith Formation, Visitation, etc. Additional individuals are in the process of discernment and preparation.

The changing landscapes of church and denominational life in the 21st century impact the form and function of ministry, including the ways in which the United Church of Christ calls, authorizes and oversees ministers.  The Habakkuk Group, was tasked with seeing and writing the vision of authorized ministry and making it plain for the United Church of Christ. During 2017, the Habakkuk Group has been engaged in discussion through five regional events across the denomination.  

A draft of the re-visioned Manual on Ministry titled MAKE IT PLAIN reflects the feedback provided by judicatory staff, seminary partners, Committee on Ministry members, and national and ecumenical colleagues received in 2016.  An additional chart overviews the parts of the new draft that are ready to use and which ideas within the draft are still in discernment. Your prayerful exploration through use of the discussion guide and subsequent completion of a feedback form is invited through the end of the year.   (This information is from materials supplied by the Habakkuk Group.)

The last regional event will be held in Philadelphia, PA on October 23rd  – 24th.    Even if you have been unable to attend a meeting you may read the materials provided and provide feedback by utilizing the feedback form linked above. 

Some of us have attended a regional event, sharing our views and learning a great deal.  One of the major changes being considered is that in the future there will be only one authorized ministry in the UCC,  that may be labeled “ordained”.   This term immediately brings to mind the “traditional” responsibility of the pulpit and the sacraments of baptism and communion.  However, discussion revealed that in the past ministers have been ordained into a called ministry that didn’t have these responsibilities.  Likewise, ministers have been commissioned to a variety of ministries that on occasion include preaching and offering communion.

A Facebook page for those who are commissioned, or interested in commissioning and their supporters has been set up so that we may be in conversation with each other.  If you would like to become a friend on Facebook please e-mail your request to Debbie Gline Allen at glineallend@macuss.org


  • Researching Professional Quality of Life:  The Professional Quality of Life Scale (ProQOL) is the most commonly used measure of Compassion Satisfaction and Compassion Fatigue in those who help others who experience suffering and trauma. The measure has been in use since 1995. The ProQOL 5 Self-Score tool has 30 questions that you respond to on a Likert-type scale which then are interpreted to reflect compassion satisfaction, burnout, and secondary traumatic stress.  Answering the questions and reflecting on their combined meaning is a useful personal tool.
  • 05_Girl.pngLong term effects of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs):  The CDC’s Adverse Childhood Experiences Study (ACE Study) uncovered a stunning link between childhood trauma and the chronic diseases people develop as adults, as well as their social and emotional problems.  Most people living in the U.S. have at least 1 ACE.  It is as the number of ACEs increase that the risk of developing chronic health problems such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, suicide, and alcoholism increases.  Learn more and find resources at ACEs Too High and from SAMHSA at Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences
  • Creating a Successful Transition from Hospital to Home: “The FCN is in the ideal community-based position to maintain a lengthy relationship with the person on as ‘as needed’ basis to maintain a continuous transition from inpatient to home, and further the connection with a primary care provider in the community.”  Transitional Care Training Guide for Faith Community Nurses  written by Katora P. Campbell, DrPH, MSN, RN-BC and available from Church Health describes how the FCN can bridge these care transitions.


  • 06_CityGospelMission.pngUnderstanding the Concept of Poverty:  “Approximately 60% of Americans will experience at least one year in poverty between the ages of 20 and 75” (M. Rank).  How do we serve them?  City Gospel Mission in Cincinnati, OH has been helping the homeless and hurting break the cycle of poverty and despair …one life at a time since 1924 by engaging , equipping and empowering those in need with the spiritual, emotional, mental and physical skills and resources to achieve long-term life transformation and self-efficiency.  It is suggested we consider How We Define Poverty?  Then to truly serve others we must have empathy.  Broaden your understanding of The Power of Empathy.   We will find that as we encounter the other’s need for God, we also encounter our need for God.  In God’s eyes  Everybody Matters.



Continuing Education


  • Health Ministries Asso.  will be offering the keynote presentations from the Annual Conference The Sacred Practice of Caring: Working Together for Healthier Communities as podcasts with continuing education units available.  Titles are:
–       Finding Meaning in Caring, Evangeline C. Andarsio, MD
–       Social Determinants of Heath and Beyond, Lauren A, Taylor, MDiv, MPH
–       Blessed are the Crazy: Breaking the Silence About Mental Illness, Family and Church, Rev. Dr. Sarah Griffith
–       How Vulnerability Connects Us, Nora Gallagher
–       What’s Faith Got to do With It? Rabbi Abie Ingber


  • UCC WISE Congregations for Mental Health Conference  Friday, October 20th, Venice United Church of Christ, Venice FL



  • 07_AlysonBreisch.pngCongratulations to Alyson J. Breisch, MSN, RN-BC Faith Community Nurse

was awarded the 2017 Wilkerson-Droege Award at the Annual Meeting of the Health Ministries Asso.  Highlights from the statement announcing her award follow: Alyson J. Breisch epitomizes servant leadership in the field of health ministry and faith community nursing.  Aly, a commissioned Minister of Congregational Health in the UCC, serves her local faith community of 1,000 congregants as their faith community nurse. In addition she has collaborated with the N.C. Nurses Asso. to form the Faith Community Nursing Council and serves as chair of the Faith Community Nursing Executive Council.  She is past president of the Carolinas Health Ministry Partnership and a past Director for Practice and Education of HMA.  Lecturer, workshop presenter, curriculum developer, author, and work group chair responsible for revisions to the Scope and Standards of Faith Community Nursing Practice (2nd ed and 3rd ed) Aly has promoted the practice of faith community nursing through education, mentoring, and leadership.  Aly we are proud of your achievements and blessed to have you as our colleague!


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


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!