UCC Faith Community Nurses eNews – Feb 2016


May 15th is identified as Mental Health Sunday on the UCC calendar.

01-WtWlogo.jpg“Who are those with mental Illness?  We are your brother, your sister, the man across the street, and the person next to you in the pew.  In any given year, one in every four people (26.2%, according to the National Institute on Mental Health) is dealing with mental illness, also known as a brain disorder. (UCC Mental Health Network)

The UCC Mental Health Network invites you to highlight mental health awareness on Sunday, May 15th or any Sunday that suits your schedule.  It is a way for your congregation to begin or to continue to provide education and support to your members around mental health challenges.  A Resource Guide for Mental Health Sunday Worship Services is available. 

Feedback, questions and stories about activities within your congregation would be appreciated by Rev. Alan Johnson (revalan2004@comcast.net) chair of the UCC Mental Health Network and co-founder of the Interfaith Network on Mental Illness.


02-EssentialsofNursing.jpgFaith Community Nursing – Four books basic to our practice

There are three books that provide the foundation of all professional nursing practice: Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, 3rd ed., Guide to the Code of Ethics for Nurses with Interpretive Statements 2nd ed., and Guide to Nursing’s Social Policy Statement: Understanding the Profession from Social Contract to Social Covenant.   They are available from nursesbooks.org.

A fourth book defines and describes our specialty practice: Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice.  The 3rd edition is now in process under the leadership of Aly Breisch, MSN, RN-BC, Faith Community Nurse. 

Board Certification in Faith Community Nursing

The American Nurse Credentialing Center (ANCC) offers Faith Community Nursing board certification through portfolio assessment.  The credential earned is RN-BC  (Registered Nurse-Board Certified), Faith Community Nurse.

Some of us have found that this board certification has enhanced the understanding and respect that our colleagues in health care and in ministry have for our practice.  Find out more information from ANCC Faith Community Nursing 

04-Hands.jpgA Prayer

O Holy God, we live in community with people whose lives are challenged by brain disorders, mental illness, and substance abuse.  Perhaps we ourselves are one of them yet do not feel safe enough to share that information with others.   The families and friends of those with mental health issues often feel alone, helpless, overwhelmed, and isolated by the many faceted challenges these illnesses create

Holy One, generate in your people a tenderness and an openness so we may respond to the needs of all your children. Lead us to offer a listening ear, the casserole, and the ride to the health care provider just as we do for those with physical illnesses.

Support in us a commitment to work for the just treatment of people with brain disorders.  Compel us to action so that their cries for help are answered.  We offer this prayer in the name of the Risen Christ who makes all things new.  Amen

            (Adapted from the Resource Guide for Mental Health Sunday Worship Services)

img5-UCCDeskcalendar.jpgUCC Calendar Observances

  – March 6-12th – UCC Women’s Week 2016 – Good time for a women’s health series
  – March 13th – Amistad Sunday
  – March 27th – Easter

*Post-Easter is an excellent time for programs for renewal/re-energizing of clergy

  – April 24th – Armenian Martyrs Day and Pacific Islander & Asian American Ministries Sunday
  – May 1st – Rural Life Sunday
  – May 8th – Mother’s Day
  – May 15thMental Health Sunday – Resources are in this newsletter and on the UCC website

National Health Observances (NHOs)

Plan your health education events to occur concurrently with NHOs public health campaigns.   See the calendar, toolkits, and ideas for promoting an event at:  healthfinder.gov

Free toolkits available for:

– 4th common cancer in the US
– Ideas for newsletter and educational programming,

– Drinking too much alcohol increases people’s health risks
– Suggestions for what we can do to reduce alcohol misuse or abuse

Customize the information for your congregation by:

  • Inserting an appropriate passage from scripture at the beginning of the item.
  • Closing the topic with a brief prayer.



We who combine the roles of nursing and ministry are by the nature of our work caregivers.  Caregiving can be stressful depleting our personal health reserves and leading to burnout.   The advice we give to those in our congregations also applies to us.  A publication, Taking Care of YOU: Self-Care for Family Caregivers from the Family Caregiver Alliance provides useful information for all caregivers.

Clergy Health and Wholeness by M. Colette Nies provides insights as to the stresses clergy encounter along with some suggestions for becoming healthier.

Caring for ourselves so that we can continue to care for the body, minds, and spirit of others is a vital way to honor both the gifts and the calling we have be given!   Have you found information specific to responding to the multiple stressors experienced by FCNs?  If so please share.   Send it to Peggy Matteson (nurses@ucc.org) for inclusion in subsequent newsletters.


08-edopps.jpgEducational Opportunities

            Please take note, some events you might be able to attend.   Other listings will provide you with information, insights, contact information, and resources for programs that you might find useful in your ministry.

  • Feb. 27th  Dementia Friends training at Plymouth Congregational Church, Minneapolis, MN. You can learn more about this training at this church by contacting Allison Campbell Jensen or go to the Dementia Friends website to learn about this national initiative.


09a-WtWMHN.jpgAdditional resources

  • Mental Health Resources – specifically for Leaders in Faith Communities

—   UCC Mental Health Network – Mission statement: The United Church of Christ Mental Health Network works to reduce stigma and promote the inclusion of people with mental illnesses/brain disorders and their families in the life, leadership and work of congregations.” 

—   Mental Health – A Guide for Faith Leaders from the American Psychiatric Association Foundation 

—   Interfaith Network on Mental Illness 

Resources include:

  • Why should your faith Community care about mental health?
  • 10 Things a Faith Community Leaders Can Do to Make The World a Better Place for People with Mental Illness
  • Becoming a Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive, and Engaged (WISE) Congregation for Mental Health

—   Mental Health Ministries 

Resources include:

  • On-line video: Mental Illness and Families of Faith
  • Resource guide – Mental Illness and Families of Faith: How Congregations Can Respond. A resource/study guide for clergy and communities of faith.

—   National Alliance for the of Mentally Ill – NAMI FaithNet

  • A resource network of NAMI members, friends, clergy and congregations of all faith

—   Pathways to Promise

Resources include:

  • Mental Health Ministry Tool Kit
  • Companionship Series
  • Family Notebook – directions for nurturing children’s mental health


09b-ReliableSites.jpgReliable sites for specific Mental Health information

—   Center for Disease Control and Prevention–Mental Health

—   Healthfinder.gov

—   Mental Health First Aid  A national program to teach the skills to respond to the signs of mental illness and substance abuse. This is a program similar to basic CPR or First Aid training.

—   National Institutes of Mental Health 

—   Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration 

—   Youth Suicide Prevention Program – A Parent’s Guide to Recognizing and Treating Depression in Your Child

  • Other Current Health Updates

—   Wellness Activity Planner 2016 calendar – available as a free download from American Institute for Preventative Medicine at healthylife.com

09c-Mosquito.jpgThe Zika Virus is a growing concern as the time for vacations and outdoor activities approaches.  Accurate information is available:

CDC Website – Zika
Protection against mosquitoes
Mosquito Control Tips



In the March issue of the newsletter we will include items that focus on late spring/early summer activities.   Please share your ideas with Peggy Matteson, editor of this newsletter, at nurses@ucc.org