Mind Body Spirit – Jan-Feb 2020


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

January-February 2020, Vol. 5 Issue 1


Arise, shine, for the Light of the World has come!  Alleluia! 
We are travelers on life’s journey.
Our lives are filled with turning points,
cycles of change and crisis and transformation. 
The old passes into ever new beginnings. 
We grow, we stand still, we grow again.  

May we invite the fresh light of Epiphany to flood us with hope and lead us into new and challenging ways of living and shaping our wellness ministries. 



Glaucoma Awareness Month:

Glaucoma is the leading cause of irreversible blindness.  Glaucoma has been called “the sneak thief of sight” since there are no symptoms and once vision is lost, it’s permanent. As much as 40% of vision can be lost without a person noticing.  Early detection is vital to stopping the progress of the disease.

You are considered at high-risk for glaucoma if one or more of these applies to you:

  • You have diabetes
  • You have a family history of glaucoma
  • You are African American and age 50 or older
  • You are Hispanic and age 65 or older

Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) covers glaucoma tests once every 12 months if you meet the high-risk criteria for glaucoma. You are responsible for 20% of Medicare’s payment to the provider for the services or, if care is sought in a hospital outpatient setting, a standard copayment.

Free information about types of glaucoma, diagnosis, and treatment can be found at https://www.preventblindness.org/glaucoma

Self-help tools and resource links to low vision organizations, services and websites can be found at the Living Well with Low Vision webpage of Prevent Blindness:   https://lowvision.preventblindness.org/    

Cervical Health Awareness Month

The United States Congress designated January as Cervical Health Awareness Month. Nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year, but the disease is preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening (Pap and HPV tests). 

Free and low-cost Pap testing can be located for each state at this link:

A bulletin board fact sheet on Ten Things to Know About HPV and Cervical Cancer can be downloaded from this link:


Age-Related Macular Degeneration and Low Vision Awareness Month:

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD): AMD is very common. It is a leading cause of vision loss in people 50 years or older.   About 80% (8 out of 10) of people who have AMD have the dry form. With dry AMD parts of the macula get thinner with age and tiny clumps of protein called drusen grow causing slow loss of central vision.  There is no way to treat dry AMD yet.

Wet AMD is the other form of AMD.  In this form, new, abnormal blood vessels grow under the retina. These vessels may leak blood or other fluids, causing scarring of the macula. Vision loss is faster with wet AMD than with dry AMD.

Many people don’t realize they have AMD until their vision is very blurry. This is why it is important to have regular visits to an ophthalmologist who can look for early signs of AMD.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology provides information on diagnosis and treatment options. 

The National Eye Institute at the Institutes of Health site includes videos, posters, pamphlets and download/print resources:

In addition to AMD, low vision can be associated with diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, cataracts, and retinitis pigmentosa.  The Vision Center has a resource with helpful tips related to living with low vision including causes of low vision, low vision terms, low vision care, and low vision devices.

February is American Heart Month:   There are multiple approaches wellness ministries can include in educational programs and individual health coaching. 

  1. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) is launching #OurHearts, a national initiative to encourage and motivate everyone to adopt heart healthy behaviors together. People are more successful at meeting health goals when they join forces with others. NHLBI have developed weekly themes with outreach toolkit, social media resources and state based infocards to help promote heart health throughout the month.
  2. You are invited to Join NHLBI, The Heart Truth, and organizations around the country on National Wear Red Day which is celebrated each year on the first Friday in February. In 2020, National Wear Red Day will be celebrated on February 7.    Since 2004, February also has been the signature month for the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women campaign and the message that heart disease is not only a man’s problem.  https://www.goredforwomen.org/

    Wellness ministries leaders can invite parishioners to wear red hats, ties, scarves, sweaters, etc. on Sunday, February 9th to promote awareness of heart disease.  Posters, and social media example phrases for wear red activities can be found at: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/education-and-awareness/heart-month/wear-red-day

  3. 03-BP.jpgThe American Heart Association’s website provides educational materials on many aspects of cardiovascular disease in the Health Topics section. The Healthy Living section of the website includes topics related to Healthy Eating, Healthy Lifestyle, and Fitness.   https://www.heart.org
  4. February is a good time to offer blood pressure screening. Proper technique in measuring blood pressure is critical.  The American Medical Association has developed a poster which can be posted at your locations when doing blood pressure assessment.  This infographic for in-office BP measuring offers a simple way to get the most accurate results.   This article: https://www.ama-assn.org/delivering-care/hypertension/one-graphic-you-need-accurate-blood-pressure-reading   offers some additional resources to help you improve your practice’s hypertension management: 

04-DentalHygiene.jpgNational Children’s Dental Health Month:  

The American Dental Association has developed the February 2020 National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) Program Planning Guide.  This year’s NCDHM campaign slogan, “Fluoride in water prevents cavities! Get it from the tap!”   The link for the Planning Guide is ADA.org/ncdhm.

The planning guide offers Ideas for Easy-to-Do Activities such as coloring contests, dental health essay contests, classroom presentations, oral health bulletin boards, reaching out to community groups, parents and teens, participating in health fairs and dental screenings in collaboration with dental associations and clinics. 

Fun Activity Sheets for Kids in English and Spanish include crossword puzzles, calendar activities, coloring sheet, and a maze activity sheet. They are available at:




A new section added to this issue will become a regular part of each newsletter.   The plan is to share examples of health-promotion activities and tips that may be useful additions to wellness ministries and faith community nursing approaches.  It will include topics related to wellness across the lifespan.  The editors will start this issue’s topic and we hope that readers will submit ideas they have used to include in this sharing space. 

Here’s this month’s Wellness ministries MOMENT . . .

To Your Health!

A Wellness Ministries at a UCC congregation uses the phrase, “To Your Health” for a combination of offerings on a monthly health topic.  The monthly discussion session is scheduled for the first Sunday of the month from 12:10 pm -12:45 pm.  Light, healthy snacks are provided.  The topic is discussed in a presentation / question and answer format.  Parishioners are asked at each session to suggest future topics.  The topic also is focused on that month’s bulletin board display over the remaining three weeks of the month.  The faith community nurse writes a short To Your Health! column for the faith community’s newsletter with key points about the topic.

05-Sleep.pngAs an example, one month the featured  topic was “Unraveling the Mysteries of Sleep”.  The discussion, bulletin board display, and newsletter article included myths and facts about sleep, benefits of sleep, effects of sleep deprivation, sleep patterns in the elderly, helpful sleep hygiene tips, and links to online resources. 



WEBINAR: State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America   January 29, 2020 │ 2:30 PM EST

Join public health leaders as they discuss the national obesity crisis, its health impacts, and how advocates are working at the national, and local levels can address this on-going epidemic. This webinar explores findings of The Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) 2019 State of Obesity report.  

The report found that about 1 in 3 Americans of all ages – more than 100 million people – have obesity. The epidemic is estimated to increase national healthcare spending by $149 billion annually, about half of which is paid for by Medicare and Medicaid. Moreover, the rates of U.S. obesity continue to climb, and racial, ethnic, income and geographic disparities persist. For the first time, nine U.S. states (AL, AK, IA, KY, LA, MS, MO, ND and WV) had adult obesity rates at or above 35% in 2018, up from zero states as recently as 2012.

This event is recommended for anyone working in public health, advocacy, school health, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, transportation and planning, hospitals, health systems, insurers, and local and state health officials.   Registration is free and closed captioning is available to all attendees.  The webinar session will include time for audience Q&A.  Wednesday, January 29, 2020   2:30 PM 4:00 PM Eastern   11:30 AM 1:00 PM Pacific

RSVP at this link: 

Upcoming Conferences:

2020 Westberg Institute Annual Conference at the Caring for the Human Spirit Conference April 20-22, 2020 Santa Fe, New Mexico   https://westberginstitute.org/symposium2020/

Save the Date!
Health Ministries Association Annual Conference
September 13-15, 2020

One Voice, One Vision: Wisdom for Healthier Communities,
Techny Towers Conference and Retreat Center
Techny, IL (Chicagoland)


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