Health Ministries are the intentional practices of caring for one another within the distinct context of a faith tradition. In July 1997, the Twenty-first General Synod of the United Church of Christ adopted a resolution that encouraged local congregations to develop/ include in their mission a commitment to health and wholeness, engage health and wholeness issues through ongoing ministries in health and human service by developing a health cabinet/health ministries team, and implementing a health ministry/ parish nurse program.
Why Health Ministries in a Congregation?
- Good health is a part of God’s intention for all people.
- Health involves the whole person: body, mind, and spirit.
- Health is nurtured during life changes from early childhood to late life.
- Health is a concern of the whole community
- Healing and health care are valid ways of proclaiming the Gospel and ministering in the name of Jesus Christ.
- Faith Community Nurses focus on intentional care of the spirit while teaching, advocating access to care, and assisting in activities that improve health and prevent illness.
The health ministries committee was formed to bear witness to God’s intent for wholeness and harmony with God, with creation, with other persons, and within ourselves. The committee meets quarterly and serves as an advisory group for the Parish Nurse in promoting health and wholeness through planned health promotion educational activities and developing procedures related to health and welfare of the congregation.
Parish Nurse Role: The parish nurse is a licensed registered professional nurse (RN) who facilitates the wholistic health in the context of the values, beliefs, and practices of the congregation. The parish nurse focuses on comprehensive spiritual, emotional, and physical dimensions of persons as they strive to achieve wellness and to more effectively manage personal health issues. The parish nurse functions as an educator, counselor, advocate, facilitator, referral agent, and supporter. This role does not duplicate any program, nor take the place of a person’s own physician or health care agent, but may work collaboratively with these providers.