Mind Body Spirit – Sep-Oct 2019


Mind, Body, Spirit: Linking Lives for Health and Wholeness
The Wellness Ministries of the UCC Newsletter
(formerly The Faith Community Nurse Health Ministry Newsletter)

September-October 2019, Volume 4, Issue 6


01-FallLeavesInPark.jpg“The breezes taste of apple peel.
The air is full of smells to feel –
Ripe fruit, old footballs, burning brush,
New books, erasers, chalk, and such.
The bee, his hive, well-honeyed hum,
And Mother cuts chrysanthemums.
Like plates washed clean with suds,
the days are polished with a morning haze.
                   – John Updike, September



Return to School:  This topic was covered in the last issue of the newsletter; “thank you” to a reader who sent us this additional resource – 5 Tips to Ease Back-to-School Anxiety – to assist with anxiety associated with children’s return to school: 

At this time of the year, children are beginning a new school year and adults may be starting new jobs or new projects.  It can be difficult to find times to be together and support each other.  This may strain family dynamics.  The University of Delaware Cooperative Extension has a valuable article, “Building Strong Family Relationships.” 

02-HurricaneDorian.jpgNational Preparedness Month:  As this newsletter is being written, Hurricane Dorian is moving toward the eastern coast of Florida.  May all those in its path be safe.  Preparation for natural disasters is always a relevant health ministries educational and procedural response topic.  The Red Cross offers an Emergency Preparedness Checklist:

FEMA’s program, Be Prepared, Not Scared has different web-based resources for each week of the month: https://www.ready.gov/september

            Week One:  Save Early for Disaster Costs

            Week Two:  Make a Plan to Prepare for Disasters

            Week Three:  Teach Youth to Prepare for Disasters

            Week Four:  Get Involved in Your Community’s Preparedness 

Home Safety:  Speaking of preparation, the heating season will soon be upon us. It’s time to think about having your furnace checked by a service company for proper functioning and proper venting of carbon monoxide.  When clocks are turned back an hour on Sunday, November 3rd, it’s a good time to also check home smoke and CO detectors – making sure smoke and CO detectors have new batteries and are functioning.   Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas.  This Mayo Clinic tip sheet alerts you to symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Flu Season 2019:  It’s time to talk about flu immunization.  The CDC has a Vaccine Information Sheet for this current immunization period. 

The American Lung Association Year of Air Pollution and Health offers health information each month. The topic for September is Health Impacts of Extreme Storms and the topic for October is: Empowering the Next Generation.

The American Nurses Association (ANA: The American Nurses Association 2019 National Awards program is now accepting nominations. ANA members are encouraged to acknowledge the achievements of ANA members in the following categories: Distinguished Practice in Nursing, Diversity in Nursing, Nurse Exemplars, and Nursing Champions.  Is there a faith community nurse you know who is a good candidate for one of these awards?  The deadline to submit an award nomination is 5 p.m. ET, Oct. 7. To learn more about the awards, visit the National Awards Program page on NursingWorld.org

The National Health Information Center offers a useful resource for identifying designated health- and illness-focused months, weeks, or days and provides a link to information related to each month’s health observances.

   Here are a few links selected from their September listing:

      National Food Safety Education Month

      National Sickle Cell Month

      Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month

      Prostate Cancer Awareness Month

      National Recovery Month 


Medicare Open Enrollment Period begins on October 15, 2019, and ends December 7, 2019. Medicare health and drug plan costs and covered benefits can change from year to year, so people with Medicare should look at their coverage choices and decide on the options that best fit their health needs.  They can visit Medicare.gov, call 1-800-MEDICARE, or contact their State Health Insurance Assistance Program.  

Medicare has created a new Medicare Plan Finder.  This most-used tool on Medicare.gov, allows users to shop and compare Medicare Advantage and Part D plans. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) plans to relaunch the Medicare Plan Finder website on Sept. 2. 

The National Health Information Center offers a useful resource for identifying designated health- and illness-focused months, weeks, or days and provides a link to information related to each month’s health observances.

   Here are a few links selected from their October listing:

      Domestic Violence Awareness Month

      National Breast Cancer Awareness Month

      Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month

      Eye Injury Prevention Month

03-PumpkinLanterns.jpgHalloween Safety: Halloween is an exciting time for children, and it is also a time to focus on their safety.  Children are more than twice as likely to be hit by a car and killed on Halloween than on any other day of the year.  The American Academy of Pediatrics has developed a list of Halloween safety tips about costume safety, pumpkin carving, on the Trick or Treat Trail, keeping Halloween healthy, and reminders about food allergies. 

Other resources include:

National Safety Council on Halloween Safety

Children’s Safety Network on Halloween Safety


04-ThePartnershipCenterLogo.pngWebinar: The Partnership Center of the Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives of the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services is offering a free webinar: Mental Illness 101 & Family Health Series | Postpartum Depression: Help Hope, and Healing on September 25, 2019 at 12:00 PM (Eastern Time). 

Description: The Partnership Center’s “Postpartum Depression: Help, Hope, and Healing” webinar will be the third installment in their Family Health educational series, and is squarely at the intersection of women’s health and mental health.

For registration click here.

Suicide Prevention Resource Center: 

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center is offering a free online course, Locating and Understanding Data for Suicide Prevention. The course explores a variety of commonly used data sources for information on suicide deaths and attempts, suicidal ideation, and related factors – as well as new frontiers in suicide surveillance, such as interactive dashboards and real-time data collection.  The 2-hour course is recommended for any professional involved in national, state or community suicide prevention. 

Annual Health Ministries and Faith Community Nursing Conference:  The Health Ministries Association’s 30th Anniversary Conference is scheduled for October 11 – 14, 2019 at St. Elizabeth Training and Education Center, 3861 Olympic Blvd., Erlanger, KY.  The theme is Faith-Based Approaches to Cultivate Healthier CommunitiesTo download the brochure, click here.

To register, click here.

ATTENTION:  If you are attending the HMA Conference, please let Alyson Breisch know (alyson.breisch@gmail.com).  There will be a UCC denominational meeting Saturday, September 12th at 7:30 pm.  Alyson will let you know the room location for the meeting. 


  1. J. Dana Trent’s new book, Dessert First: Preparing for Death While Savoring Life, will be published Sept. 10th by Chalice Press. Trent will be a keynote speaker and workshop presenter at the Health Ministries Association (HMA) 30th Anniversary Conference and Celebration in October.  Other books by J. Dana Trent include One Breath at a Time: A Skeptic’s Guide to Christian Meditation; For Sabbath’s Sake: Embracing Your Need for Rest, Worship, and Community; and Saffron Cross: The Unlikely Story of How a Christian Minister Married a Hindu Monk.


An article, Sacred Space to Talk About Drug Use, in UCC’s Keeping You Posted (KYP) eblast of August 27, 2019, is about Harm Reduction.  Mike Schuenemeyer, Executive for Health and Wholeness Advocacy Ministries oversees this new effort in the national UCC setting to center on the voices of those with lived experience related to opioid and other substance use disorders.  Kudos to Peggy Matteson of the Wellness Ministries Leadership Team for her commentary in the article’s interview.  Peggy represents Wellness Ministries on the UCC task force that is developing tools and resources for congregations’ responses to the opioid crisis. 

Visit our FaceBook and Linked-In pages: Post comments or share information about your health ministries; join in conversations. 

Contact us: Have something you want to share with your colleagues in the next issue of the newsletter? Are you looking for a resource to assist you in your ministry?  We’d enjoy hearing from you!

Previous issues of the newsletter
Use previous year’s monthly newsletters to aid your search for links to resources on health ministries and wellness topics:

Contact us:

  • Have something you want to share with your colleagues?
  • Are you looking for something to assist you in your ministry? 
  • Interested in joining the Leadership Team for the Wellness Ministries of the UCC?


Let us hear from you.

Alyson Breisch and/or Deb Stankiewicz