• Health Ministries Network

April 2020 Newsletter

Director's Note, Upcoming Events, Community Events and Information, Interview with Sally Coffin (HM on Orcas Island), and Devotional.

Dear health ministries community,

Who would have imagined that we would celebrate our 2020 holy days in crisis? I know that this is a profoundly stressful time for faith community leaders and nurses as they try to create community online, live-stream services and manage the urgent needs of vulnerable people in their congregation, while caring for themselves and their families. Thank you for everything you are doing to care for the physical, mental and spiritual health of your people.

I encourage you to scroll down to read about Sally Coffin's ministry on Orcas Island (pictured above), and also Rev. Dr. Cindy Bauleke's devotional, which gives tips for coping during this challenging time.

You may have congregants who want to be of service during this time. Here are four identified needs in our community and how to help:

  • Grocery and medication delivery: NW Regional Council serves elderly and disabled folks in our community. They are hoping to compile a list of volunteers, congregations or individuals willing to pick up and deliver groceries and medication to clients homes in Whatcom County. Please contact Stacy Malone Miller for more information: Malonsa@dshs.wa.gov or 360-812-0066.

  • Phone call ministry: HMN developed guidelines and a script for a phone call ministry to those unable to leave their homes. It’s shared online here.

  • PPE Supplies: Personal protective equipment supplies are needed. Learn more about the needs and how to drop off donations to Whatcom Unified Command: https://whatcomcovid.com/donations/

  • Home-made masks: PeaceHealth is soliciting home-made mask donations and they have a specific pattern and guidelines posted here: https://www.peacehealth.org/bellinghamdonations and the masks can be dropped off at the Whatcom Unified Command drop off.

  • Monetary donations: The Chuckanut Health Foundation is accepting monetary donations to support the COVID-19 response: https://www.chuckanuthealthfoundation.org/covidrelief

In conclusion, we continue to give thanks for the nurses and health care providers, grocery store employees, delivery drivers, police, pharmacists, first responders, childcare providers, public health employees and other essential workers who continue to serve our community.

We also give thanks and offer prayers for the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing course participants and instructors as they bean their online course on Friday. May this be a rich and fulfilling journey for them and a joyful beginning to their health ministry.

Walk in love (even if it’s just in your neighborhood) and stay safe,

Amelia Vader Executive Director amelia@healthministriesnetwork.net

Upcoming Events

April Meeting

Friday, April 17, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Zoom Video Conference Call

Join us online to discuss your response to COVID-19 and share resources or information.

Join our Zoom video using the meeting link sent out in the email newsletter. This meeting will be recorded and posted for those who cannot join live. Contact director@healthministriesnetwork.net with any questions. For those who have not used Zoom before, watch this in-depth instructional video on how to set it up. Join the meeting link in your email now and practice!


Postponed: The Departure Lounge

The 5-week series The Departure Lounge, relating to our mortality, death, dying, and living fully, was scheduled to begin on April 15 at Unity Spiritual Center but has been postponed because of the novel coronavirus pandemic.


May Meeting

Friday, May 15, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Zoom Video Conference Call

Tentatively planned take place via Zoom, stay tuned for updates!


Community Events & Info

In an effort to connect our volunteers with relevant resources, we publish community events and information in our monthly newsletter and on our website. Email sampson@healthministriesnetwork.net to add your own.

A Proactive Approach for COVID-19

From Hospice of the Northwest's (HNW's) Palliative Pearls:

Do you care for vulnerable elders, memory care patients, the complex chronically ill or nursing home residents? Click below for tips for conversations about future care decisions during a pandemic.


Food and Meal Resources for COVID-19

The Whatcom Asset Building Coalition (WABC) provides weekly updates on food resources in the county.


Mental Health and Wellness Resources for COVID-19

Local and national resources for those needing support managing COVID-19 related stress.


Detalles (Espanol)

Online Conference: Westburg Symposium

April 20 - 22, 2020

The Westberg Symposium Caring for the Human Spirit will be provided virtually in 2020 as part of the conference. View the keynote and plenary information here. The Westberg Institute is the international body for faith community nurses.


Advanced Care Planning(ACP) Resources for COVID-19

Webinars from Honoring Choices PNW:

Advance Care Planning Live

Tuesday, April 7, 12-12:30 PM

Explores web platforms for live ACP group sessions and conversations.


Advanced Care Planning Chat

Thursday, April 9, 12-12:30 PM

Considers video chat and texting formats for ACP support.


Postponed: Palliative Care Across Cultures


We will post more information once new date has been confirmed. Stay tuned.


Free ACP Training

Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest and the PREPARE for Your Care program are working with health care and community groups in Washington to provide easy-to-use advance care planning resources to diverse and under-served communities across the state.


"The Gift of Becoming" by Dick Cathell

Former HMN director, Dick Cathell, has released his new book. A moving collection of stories, poems, and vignettes resulting from his 37 years as a hospital chaplain, "The Gift of Becoming," discusses nine basic needs essential for coping with others’ grief, as well as your own.



Sally Coffin, HM

Seventh Day Adventist, Eastsound, Orcas Island, WA

18 years of health ministry (since 2002)

Tell me about yourself.

One thing I do is serve on the board for a non-profit called Lahari that focuses on assisting the aging and disabled folks on Orcas Island. Basically, we do what we can to help people stay on the island as long as possible. I used to teach caregiving classes as there are a shortage of caregivers, but now it has evolved into more of a caregiver support group.

A lot of people who are caregivers sort of stumble into helping a neighbor or relative more and more over time and aren’t necessarily well-equipped in caregiving. That’s one reason it’s important for me to support these caregivers as much as I can.

What have you been doing during the COVID-19 Pandemic?

Somehow, I thought being “stay at home” would be quieter…what was I thinking?! Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, I’ve been connecting with many of the island's nonprofits in planning and providing for the needs of the community. And I’ve gotten much more proficient in the use of social media. Zoom has been very useful in keeping the social distancing. Right now, I am working to bring together resources for an emergency basic caregiver training to meet the increasing need on our island.

Why do you do health ministry? Why does it matter?

Our bodies are a gift to us from God, and God resides in us, so taking care of the body is respect for that. The bible says that our bodies are temples of God, so it’s housekeeping. More so, we live in a world that is not kind to our bodies, so anything we can do that leads to health is important.

Tell me about what you do in your health ministry.

It has changed a lot over the years, but I have done blood pressure screenings, I have also distributed health notes, taught classes and given presentations on such topics as smoking addiction, stress and relationships, and vegetarian cooking. In the last couple years there have been a lot of health problems within our congregation, so I’ve answered questions and provided transportation to appointments.

Tell me about health ministry at Eastsound Seventh Day Adventist.

When I moved to Orcas Island 18 years ago there were not a lot of nursing jobs, so I took the Foundations Course and started the health ministry at our church. The pastor at the time was very supportive of the program, paying for my course fee. Our congregation has 85 members on the books, 45 to 50 of them attend weekly.

Tell me more about Seventh Day Adventism.

The early church ate a vegetarian diet so that’s something I and many other Seventh Day Adventists uphold, plus it’s healthier. There is an emphasis on avoiding excess and leading that way by example. We observe a Saturday Sabbath and see it as a gift from God, a time to disengage from the concerns of the world, to have relationships, enjoy people, quiet time, and see God in nature.

What’s upcoming in your health ministry?

There are two nurses at our congregation that may get more involved, so I’m encouraging them to take the Foundations Course. If they did, I would like to get the blood pressure screenings going again as it’s a great way to find out about health problems, especially since there are a lot of folks here on blood pressure medication. There is a K-12 school here associated with our church where I’ll be helping with several vegetarian community dinners, which are a great way for people ask about vegetarian diets and cooking. We have a community garden where we source some of the food for these dinners as well as for the student’s lunches.