Mind Body Spirit – May 2018


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

The Faith Community Nurse Health Ministry Newsletter

May 2018, Volume 3, Issue 4

Update: The UCC.org website has been redesigned.
The Faith Community Nurses web pages are at UCC.org/nurses.

01_WTW_Logo.pngMay is Mental Health Awareness Month

Throughout the year the United Church of Christ Mental Health Network (UCC MHN) posts weekly blogs that explore mental health and addiction issues through the lens of our theological beliefs.  This resource provides our Health Ministries with information and insights that enhance our ability to merge our mental, physical, and spiritual care into a individualized, wholistic response for each of the individuals, families, or groups in our care.

The 3rd Sunday in May, UCC congregations are encouraged to provide information about the brain illnesses 1 in 5 adults experience at any given time. Identifying a Mental Health Sunday provides the venue to openly talk about brain illnesses and dispel the myths surrounding these disorders. In doing so we are reducing the stigma felt by those who are affected and helping them feel more understood and accepted by their faith community faith community.

On the UCC MHN website the following new materials for 2018 are available:

Liturgy for Mental Health Sunday 2018
Sermon idea from an African American perspective
Mental Health and the Hispanic Community resource
Litany for Mental Health Sunday from a minority perspective
‘When Mental Illness Hits You” sermon
‘Touch My Wounds” sermon

Materials from 2017 are also posted on that page.

Other activities to consider offering during this month or anytime during the year are:

  • A “Read Across the Congregation book study group. The 4 books listed below, written by women of faith, provide accurate information about mental illness and offer concrete suggestions about how a congregation may help those affected by a disorder.
  • Troubled Minds – Mental Illness and The Church’s Mission by Amy Simpson. Drawing on surveys of pastors from 500 churches and the latest clinical research, as well as her family’s personal experience Amy explains how a church can respond compassionately to those currently suffering from mental illness and the family members and friends affected by their loved one’s condition.  As an introduction view her describe her experiences at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2tVe83WywxY
  • Blessed are the Crazy – Breaking the silence about mental illness, family, and church by Rev. Sarah Griffith Lund. Sarah offers an insightful look at the battle several of her family members experienced with bipolar disorder and offers suggestions about how churches can be safe havens for people who have brain diseases and those who love them.
  • Laughing in the Dark by Chonda Pierce, was written by a Christian comedian who has journeyed through depression. She weaves her quirky insights and sheer hilarity into her painful and personal story. Chondra allows us to see depression from the inside and how she worked her way out.   As an introduction you hear Chondra briefly describe her experiences within her Christian Community on two youtube  pieces:  “Rehab & Recovery” Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2twMznJHc3E and Part 2 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Pn5NZY_fQk
  • The Lifesaving Church: Faith Communities and Suicide Prevention by Rev. Dr. Rachael Keefe, pastor of Living Table United Church of Christ (UCC) in the Twin Cities, will be released May 1st. This book examines the role congregations can play in suicide prevention, intervention, and how a congregation can respond after a suicide.
  • Invite speakers from your area’s National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) FaithNet an interfaith resource network of NAMI members, friends, clergy and congregations of all faith traditions.  NAMI FaithNet strives to encourage welcoming, caring congregations as well as to promote the vital role of spirituality in the recovery journeys of many who live with mental health conditions.
  • Do you offer people classes on CPR and/or First Aid? The next step is to offer the Mental Health First Aid classesTwo types of classes are available: (1) Adult Mental Health First Aid appropriate for anyone over age 18 and (2) Youth Mental Health First Aid course developed for adults to learn how to help young people experiencing mental health challenges.

    Just as CPR helps a person assist an individual having a heart attack, Mental Health First Aid helps them assist someone experiencing a mental health or substance use-related crisis. Attendees learn risk factors and warning signs for mental health and addiction concerns, strategies for how to help someone in both crisis and non-crisis situations, and where to turn for help.

  • Welcome mental health support groups and provide them with space to meet. Possibilities are:  NAMI Family Support Group – a free, peer-led support group for family members, caregivers and loved ones of individuals living with mental illness.   NAMI Connection – a free recovery support group for people living with any mental illness. NAMI Connection provides a place that offers respect, understanding, encouragement, and hope.

??? What does your faith community do to support the Mental Health of your congregants ???

  • What programs are offered that support people’s desire for mental health?
  • What do you offer those who are experiencing a brain illness and their loved ones who are hurting?
  • Does your congregation offer the same types of supportive care to those experiencing a brain illness as it does to those experiencing a physical illness or a spiritual crises? Mental illness has been identified as the “no casserole disease” because there is often lack of support.

***We are in the process of revising the UCC FCN Manual.  Please share examples of how your health ministry program supports the maintainance of mental health and/or cares for those experiencing an episode of mental illness.

Questions? Please  mail to: peggymatteson@cox.net.


Have you heard the term self-compassion?  When we have self-compassion, we give ourselves the same kindness and care we’d give to a good friend.  Do we deserve any less?

According to Dr. Kristin Neff, co-founder of the Center for Mindful Self-Compassion, there are three elements of self-compassion. On her website she describes them as
1.) Self-kindness vs. Self-judgment,
2.) Common humanity vs. Isolation, and
3.) Mindfulness vs. Over-identification.   
Dr. Neff shares guided meditations and exercises that may be downloaded from her website.  Useful tools for us, our health ministry volunteers, and for the people we serve. 


  • 02_UCAN_logo.pngEveryone has a status – The church and HIV Testing

On May 8, at 2:00pm (EST) the United Church of Christ HIV & AIDS Network (UCAN) will host a national conversation on HIV testing.  Rev. Mike Schuenemeyer, UCAN’s Executive Director, will moderate this conversation about 1.) the importance of everyone knowing their HIV status and 2.) the role of the church leaders in promoting and facilitating HIV testing. 

This program will be available on your mobile device or computer and viewed on Zoom.  Go to https://www.zoom.us to open your free account.  Then do the online registration for the Conversation on HIV at https://ucan-hivtesting-8may2018.eventbrite.com

UCAN is starting this national conversation in preparation for National Testing Day, Weds., June 27th“Everyone has a status, do you know yours?” The World Council of Churches website page Religious Leaders and HIV Testing has information about how we religious leaders can lead by example to end AIDS.  Educational resources are provided. 

  • Care Notes are Back!

Abbey Press closed on June 30, 2017;  however the decision was reconsidered and we began again under the name of CareNotes.  You can see the online store at www.carenotes.com. They are supporting St. Meinrad Archabbey, as did Abbey Press and they are still at the same location at St. Meinrad, IN.  At this time they are offering some great discounts. 

  • Posters That Encourage Hand Washing

Reinforcing the need for hand washing is an ongoing educational activity since many of those we serve are aged, young and/or ill and at higher risk from the transmission of bacteria and viruses.  The Kentucky Department of Public Health and Wellness has available on-line two easily understood posters that list when hands should we washed. 

Go to https://louisvilleky.gov/government/health-wellness.  Type in Search box:  wash hands.  The top item in the Search Results is Educational Materials for Hepattitis A.  There are 5 general resources listed that encourage hand washing. They include posters:  When to Wash Your Hands for Kids  and  When to Wash Your Hands for Adults

Thank you to the team at Norton Healthcare Faith and Health
Ministries for putting this information in their newsletter and making us aware of this resource.


Continuing Education


  • June 7th Enhancing Your Parish Nurse Ministry: Tools for Your Toolbox, St Anselm College, Manchester, NH.  Alyson Breich, MSN, RN-BC as a Faith Community Nurse, Commissioned Minister of Congregational Health in the UCC and lead editor for the 3rd edition of Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice (ANA/HMA, 2017) will present at this all day conference.  The brochure is available
  • June 18th – 21st Innovations in Faith-Based Nursing Conference, Indiana Wesleyan University – School of Nursing, Marion, IN. For more information go to Nursing Innovations
  • July 19th – 22nd Infusing Hope in Nursing: A Christian Perspective, at Azusa Pacific University, Azusa, CA.  For more information go to Nurses Christian Fellowship International Regional Conference
  • 7th – 9th Practice & Presence: A Gathering for Christians in Healthcare, at Duke Divinity School, Durham, NC. More information is available at Duke Divinity School.
  • 03_HMA_logo.png8th – 10th The Sacred Practice of Caring: Partnering for a Healthy, Hopeful Future. Health Ministries Association  Annual Conference and Meeting in Erlanger, KY (Right next to Cincinnati Airport) Save The Date Flyer


You may register for the Webinars, listed below and available free from the Insurance Board, or go to site after the date and view them:

  • April 11th, 2:00 (EST)Risk Management for Camps
  • May 9th, 2:00 (EST) – Ladder Safety
  • August 8th, 2:00 (EST) – Unique Risks – Preventing Sexual Abuse in the School Environment
  • 12th, 2:00 (EST) – Trending Risk Management Concerns for Churches


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

May 20th  Mental Health Sunday
Learn more and download resources

June 24th Open and Affirming Sunday
Learn more and download resources                                   

June 27th National HIV Testing Day
Religious Leaders and HIV Testing has information about how we religious leaders can lead by example to end AIDS.

Sept. 2nd Labor Sunday
A person’s health is affected by the type and place where they work and the benefits and compensation provided. Information will be available on the UCC.org website this summer.

QuestionMark.pngFUTURE ISSUES

Have 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