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August Newsletter

Dear Health Ministries Network Community,

Of all the places I could be this summer, I am so grateful to be right here. Now. Today. With you.

I hope that you, too, are experiencing the bounty of beauty that is summertime, even with heat and the rolling effects of pandemic. I'm confident that you are finding beauty, joy and creative ways to share your love and talents with community. This is, by far, the greatest blessing--being with each other.

In the month of July, we gathered in community with not only our FCNs and HMs, but also with our Faith Community Leaders, the Whatcom Health Department and Dr. Chao-ying Wu from the Chuckanut Health Foundation, to talk about the COVID-19 vaccine, safety and how things are going. Everyone asked great questions--and the questions are still coming.

Do you have a question about vaccination, reopening, good ways to keep things safe for kids and adults in your faith community or your community, in general? Join us for our August HMN Meeting on Friday, August 20th, 12-1:00pm, via Zoom, when we will have an opportunity to catch up with each other. Though we considered holding an in-person meeting in August, we are a very broad community, and we are also being safe amidst the COVID-19 variants. We will continue on Zoom for now. All are welcome!

During the month of August, we'll prepare for several exciting events and opportunities:

  • Sharing information about good mental health resources in preparation for the September meeting, in which NAMI is our guest speaker.

  • Launching our "Ask a Nurse" program in eastern Whatcom County and how you might serve the Mt. Baker School District #507 community as part of our team, serving two Tuesdays a month at the EWRRC.

  • Spreading the word about upcoming remote Foundations in Faith Community Nursing courses in Oregon and Tacoma.

  • Rebranding and website design updates to make access to HMN resources even easier!

Wishing you continued peace, health, and compassion in service. Take good care today!

Yours in growth and gratitude,

Sarah Lane

Executive Director


Dr. Emily Gibson (HMN Board), pictured here, as well as Joni Hensley (RN, HMN Board President) and Rebecca Cavanaugh (RN) and Anita Busby (RN) served at Summerfest at the EWRRC, taking blood pressures and sharing information about our upcoming Ask a Nurse Program in Mt. Baker School District #507.


Coming Soon! Ask a Nurse at EWRRC

What: Talk to an HMN nurse about health concerns, connect with health resources and participate in limited screenings.

Who: Serving older adults and their families in areas served by the Mt Baker School District (#507)

When: Second and fourth Tuesday each month from 9:00-11:30am while the Foothills Food Bank (co-located) is in service

Where: EWRRC & other locations (bus passes available)

Please pray with us as we wait to learn the outcome of our "Ask a Nurse" grant application through the Aging Well Whatcom Grant Round 2021.

Would you like to serve with us? Contact Sarah Lane at


Thank you, WTA! 6-Ride Bus Passes for Faith Communities and Ask a Nurse

Thank you to Whatcom Transit Authority for awarding Health Ministries Network one-hundred 6-ride passes to support health ministries in Whatcom County! Transportation is one of our social determinants of health and one which, if unmet, does not allow those we care for attend to medical and other important appointments.

While we requested a number of passes to support our proposal for the "Ask a Nurse" program in East Whatcom County, WTA gave us a very generous donation of passes for our volunteers to use as they provide referrals, connect faith community members with crucial services to care for the whole person and support health equity.

Are you a FCN, HM or CHA or an FCL, seeking to build a health ministry? Please contact Sarah Lane to request a number of bus passes. We hope to use all 100 before December 31st and apply for more passes in 2022! Thank you, WTA, for your generosity in our community.


HMN Monthly Meeting - Gathering, Caring, Sharing!

August Monthly Meeting - Friday 8/20, 12-1pm

In the spirit of community gathering, caring and sharing, we're dedicating our August meeting to "us." We invite you, wherever you are, to bring your updates, victories, challenges and prayer requests so that we can share and care in community.

It's a good month to rest and renew, and it's a good time to be together. We'd love to connect with you, wherever you are!

For Zoom link or questions contact


Telehealth in Native Communities

Aug 6, 2021 11:00 AM in Central Time (US and Canada)

A presentation to introduce the initiative: One month of intensive training for behavioral health counselors, nurses, and others providing behavioral health services in Native communities

- Opportunity to learn and utilize telehealth for one year,

- Access to a HIPAA-compliant telehealth platform for one year,

- Eligibility: you must be a behavioral health counselor, nurse, or other provider working with American Indian/Alaska Native individuals.

Register here.


UW Presents: Ignite Aging! Save the Date!

Friday, October 1st, 12pm

Join the de Tornyay Center for Healthy Aging for our fourth annual Ignite Aging program. The symposium will feature UW School of Nursing students, faculty and alumni speaking on health equity and healthy aging research.

Based on current public health recommendations, the event will be held either online or at the UW Center for Urban Horticulture. A recording of the event will be available after the event.

Learn more! (Registration is not yet open.)


Upcoming Foundations Course: The Faith Community Health Network of the Mid-Willamette Valley

The Faith Community Health Network of the Mid-Willamette Valley provides training and support for faith community nurses and health ministers to serve their congregations and community by promoting advocacy, improving health literacy, health equity and overall access to care, and promoting spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being.

Is a Faith Community Health Ministry in Your Future?

A Faith Community Nurse is not simply a registered nurse who happens to be a member of a faith community. Faith Community Nursing is a recognized nursing specialty. The Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Course prepares nurses to stand in the gap; to bridge the health care system and faith community. Faith Community Nurses and Health Ministers work together to open the door for important conversations about health and wellness of the mind, body and spirit and provide additional caring connection and support for faith community members facing the many challenges of today.

Linn-Benton Extended Learning will be partnering with the Faith Community Health Network to offer the Foundations of Faith Community Nursing for active and retired nurses and a parallel Foundations for Health Ministry course for lay members of faith communities. The course will be held via Zoom from 8:00am-5:00pm on October 18-19, November 1-2, and November 15 and from 8:00am until 2:00pm on November 16, 2021, providing nearly 40 hours of supported instruction. The Foundations Course is open to all religions, faiths and beliefs. Course cost will be determined based on grant funding available at the time.

Reserve your spot in this valuable course today: Deb Fell-Carlson, BSN, RN, MSPH Foundations Course Coordinator and Lead Educator Email: or text 541-248-059


Outdoors or In: Balance Matters

What is balance? It's your ability to stabilize your posture relative to gravity. Every movement requires it, even sitting!

There are three sensory systems that play into balance: vision, vestibular (your inner ear) and proprioception (tells you where your body is in space). You need at least 2 of these 3 sensory systems to work well for good balance.

It is a myth that falling is a normal part of getting older. With proper guidance, and lots of practice, you can significantly decrease your risk of falling and increase your confidence in how your body performs certain tasks. Regular practice helps you practice adapting to many different scenarios.

~Mary Latta, Zibrio Balance Specialist

So how do we improve our balance? Please see upcoming virtual balance classes from the YMCA below!


Continuing the Conversation: Current Pandemic Landscape

Thank you all for participating in the July Faith Community Leaders and Health Ministries Meeting, during which we received an excellent update on COVID-19, Vaccination and Reopening.

We heard from Dr. Chao-ying Wu, MD (Chuckanut Health Foundation and Family Care Network) and our Whatcom County Health Department's Julie McElroy and Darin Klein and Lara Welker (Lara Welker Consulting). Thank you to Chuckanut Health Foundation's Executive Director, Heather Flaherty and Tessa Whitlock for their support of this presentation. And thank you for support from Allison Williams, Cindy Hollingsworth and Amy Hockenberry and others at WCHD, who continue to serve diligently through all phases of this pandemic. Finally, thank you to CHF, WCHD and the Chamber of Commerce, for offering the WinATruck program to support COVID-19 vaccination.

If you did not have the opportunity to attend, please click here to access the video, and share widely!

And please find good resources and emails from the meeting here:

Resources from Darin Klein WCHD, regarding reopening updates:

The WCHD slide presentation on COVID-19 and vaccination data: Slide presentation

Mental Health & Support Resources from Julie McElroy, WCHD

Emails for:

Whatcom County Health Dept vaccine planning team:

Dr. Chao-ying Wu, Family Care Network and Chuckanut Health Foundation:

Darin Klein, WCHD WUC,

Julie McElroy, WCHD, Public Health Nurse,

You can always email Sarah Lane, directly to get in touch with any of our presenters or request additional information.


Updated COVID-19 & Vaccination Resources for Faith Communities in Washington and Oregon

According to Safer, Stronger Together, "Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) asked everyone, including vaccinated people, to wear masks in public indoor spaces, in areas with substantial or high transmission." The pandemic continues.

Please see updated links below for both Washington and Oregon, and feel free to send questions to

A COVID-19 Update from HHS:

Viral Variants: Cause for Concern, Time for Action

NIH released a report on COVID-19 variants demonstrating that the more that SARS-CoV-2 spreads, the greater the chance that its genetic material will change, or mutate, and create new variants or strains. Getting vaccinated is a primary safeguard to limiting the spread of SARS-CoV-2 and giving it fewer chances to mutate.

“A Pandemic of the Unvaccinated”

At Friday’s briefing of the White House COVID-19 Response Team, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, said with cases up 70% over the last week, hospital admissions up 36% and deaths rising by 26%, this “is becoming a pandemic of the unvaccinated.” Our greatest concern she said, is that we “are going to continue to see preventable cases, hospitalizations and sadly deaths among the unvaccinated."

mRNA Vaccines May Pack More Persistent Punch Against COVID-19 Than Thought

In his blog, NIH Director Francis Collins comments on a new study that provides some hopeful news that the mRNA vaccines may be protective longer than 6 months.

Updated Communication Resources for Travelers

CDC updated their tools and resources for partners to help travelers protect themselves, their families, and their community. CDC provides toolkits for domestic travelers, airline partners, a COVID-19 Travel Planner, and more.

When you have been fully vaccinated . . . .

CDC Interim Guidelines for Fully Vaccinated People


Updated guidance from Gov. Inslee:

From Safer, Stronger Together

"In line with CDC and DOH guidance, the Whatcom County Health Department is asking everyone to wear masks in public indoor spaces and in crowded outdoor settings. . . If we can stop the rise in infections by universal masking in the short run, and by increasing vaccination coverage in the long run, we might be able to avoid returning to more restrictive measures."

  • Looking to learn more about why the WCHD is making this recommendation? Please see the Whatcom County Health Department News Flash.

  • Curious about about local case rates and vaccination rates? Please visit the WCHD COVID data page (updated every Tuesday). To find a vaccine provider near you, visit

  • Seeking guidance on employers requiring employees to get vaccinated? The Network for Public Health Law has released updated guidance for employers considering vaccination mandates, including some recent legal findings.

If you have any questions or if there's any way we can support you, please email us at For signage regarding masking, click here to download printable PDFs

Whatcom County We've Got a Shot campaign microsite:

Whatcom County Vaccine Discussion Guide:

Current Guidance for Faith Communities as of June 3rd If you have trouble navigating this document or need clarification for your specific situation, please contact Darin Klein at the WUC, and he will work with you.

Outdoor and Open Air Seating Guidance

Weddings and Funerals Guidance

FEMA COVID-19 Funeral Assistance Policy Amended

FEMA amended the funeral assistance policy to assist with COVID-19-related fatalities that occurred in the early months of the pandemic (Jan. 20, 2020 to May 16, 2020).

Resources for Whatcom County Businesses and Churches

Vaccinations or WA Dept. of Health Vaccine Locator,

Understanding How COVID-19 Vaccines Work | CDC How mRNA COVID-19 Vaccines Work ( How Viral Vector COVID-19 Vaccines Work (


Health Washington Roadmap to Recovery

Phase 1, 2, 3 Religious and Faith-Based OrganizationCOVID-19 Requirements


COVID-19 & Your Church(This has reopening plans from a number of churches!)

Washington State Partner Toolkit

And here are some vaccine communication resources to respond to questions about vaccination, to include videos and information sheets in multiple languages:

North Sound ACH Vaccination Toolkit (Excellent videos and information sheets in multiple languages)

State of Washington COVID-19 Vaccines: Questions & Answers

Oregon - Facts for Faith Communities

Faith Leader Office Hours

  • Tuesdays from 11:30am-12:30pm

  • Zoom link here

  • No registration required, just come and go as you please

Every Tuesday: Weekly Zoom drop-in time for faith leaders to join and ask questions about COVID guidance and best practices, brainstorm about future partnerships beyond COVID, and talk through how we can best support you. Feel free to join for just a few minutes or for the entire hour. It's been so great to see so many faces and get to know you better.

Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

OHA 3727 Interim Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals (

FAQ for Fully Vaccinated Individuals

Interim Guidance for Fully Vaccinated Individuals FAQ (

Updated: Face Coverings Guidance

OHA 2288K Statewide Guidance – Masks, Face Coverings, Face Shields

Is asking about whether asking for proof of vaccination is a violation of HIPAA? On Wednesday, May 26, experts from OHA and Oregon OSHA answered questions about the guidance on Facebook Live. The answer is that this does not violate HIPAA requirements. This video clip answers the question in more detail. You can watch the full-length video here.

State of Oregon COVID-19 Community and Communications Resources

Do you have other resources? Please send them to Sarah Lane at


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 to add your own.


August is National Immunization Month!

Click on banner to access National Immunization Awareness Materials from the CDC.

From the CDC: National Immunization Awareness Month (NIAM) is an annual observance held in August to highlight the importance of vaccination for people of all ages. Use these resources to assist you in communicating to healthcare professionals, parents, and patients about immunization during August and throughout the year.


NAMI Faithnet: Mental Health Matters!

Next month, we'll feature the director of our Whatcom County NAMI Office, speaking with us about NAMI resources for faith communities. Please explore this link to learn more about NAMI and resources that are available to all faith communities. NAMI FaithNet is an information exchange network of NAMI members, friends, clergy and congregations of all faith traditions who wish to create more welcoming and supportive faith communities for persons and families touched by serious mental illness. NAMI FaithNet also encourages the role of faith in recovery for those for whom faith is a key component of their experience.


Get Balanced with the YMCA!

Virtual Better Bones & Balance

October 12-21

Tuesday/Thursday 12:15-1:15pm

Includes practice booklet for home.

$35/scholarships available

Virtual Balance Classes

Mondays, 10-10:45am

$25 month (includes all YMCA virtual group fitness classes)

Scholarships available


From Dementia Support Northwest

HEAD Talks Dementia Support Northwest

HEAD Talks are quarterly seminars beneficial to anyone interested in dementia or caring for someone experiencing dementia. By offering practical and timely discussions about real issues, HEAD Talks aim to educate and support those in our local community affected by Alzheimer’s and other dementias. These talks are free and open to the public.

Link to videos

Move 4 A Cause

Motivation can be hard to find these days, so every Friday from 4-4:30pm, Dementia Support Northwest will be moving and grooving to a different decade, beginning with the 1950s!

Register for this free event. $10 suggested donation to benefit Dementia Support Northwest.



Monthly Whatcom Community Health Worker Network Meeting

Friday August 27th, 9-11AM - Zoom Video Conference Call

Join other community health workers for networking and resources. Email for the meeting link.



COVID-19 Support for Caregivers

Weekly - Zoom Video Conference Call

WWU Palliative Care Institute

The Palliative Care Institute has initiated a weekly on-line support group for staff at nursing homes, assisted living facilities, providing in-home care, and/or hospice care, creating a virtual space for them to come together to talk about the impact of the pandemic on their work and their clients and residents -- a kind of ‘COVID coffee break room,’ a place to sit down to talk for a few minutes with others who are also struggling to reconfigure all aspects of care. By gathering their thoughts, PCI hopes be a vehicle for sharing these stories more widely with those outside their worlds. Anyone who would like to join this support group can email to request the Zoom link.


On-Demand and Live Online Advance Care Planning Classes

PeaceHealth is offering "Your Voice Your Choice" classes online to help people complete their advance directives and durable power of attorney documents. Sharing your wishes for the care you want if you are critically ill can bring you closer to the people you love. Making your wishes known clearly in advance of a crisis is one of the biggest gifts you can give yourself, your family and friends.

Classes are offered the first Wednesday of every month 1:00-3:00 PM. The class is also on-demand and can be watched online anytime. Learn more at:


Creative Offering

Spiritual Nourishment: Your Place at the Table” By Sarah Lane, Health Ministries Network

Just as we seek physical nourishment, we must also nurture our spiritual health and what makes us “us.” For some, spiritual health is rooted in the togetherness of family or faith community. Others find spiritual nourishment alone in the forest or on the farm. But no matter how we find this nurturing, we can use a few familiar “tools of nourishment” to feed our spirits daily.

  • The fork. We use the fork to select what we want to consume. Not unlike eating food, we can consume spiritual material. We can set aside intentional time for prayer or meditation, poetry or silence, and draw these things into our spirits to nurture.

  • The spoon. We use a spoon to feed our spirit a little bit at a time with daily practices. Perhaps we pray or meditate, write in a journal or talk on the phone with a friend. We can take in these little nourishing spoonfuls even when our day feels too full.

  • The knife. Simply put, knives cut. We use them to make big pieces smaller, and our physician excises tissue that is diseased to encourage healing. We, too, can use our “spiritual knife” to trim away the things (excessive social media or unhealthy relationships) that don’t nourish us, things that we “take into” our spirit and may be hurting us.

  • The plate. This is where we place our spiritual nourishment. We must fill our plates daily. Sometimes, we pile our spiritual plates a little too full of activities, or perhaps our “spiritual plate” is out of balance. Just as with food, we must balance our plate.

  • Our napkin. A napkin wipes up messes. We will make mistakes and have a hard time forgiving—ourselves and others. Our spiritual napkin can be found in a faith that teaches us grace or in nature, which shows us renewal.

Daily, we select, feed, trim, balance and renew. In this way, spiritual wholeness over a lifetime, is achievable. And why should you bother with this—setting the table for spiritual nourishment? Because you are so valuable—we need you! And there is a seat at this table, waiting for you.

Would you like to make a creative offering? Please send your offering to Sarah Lane by the end of each month.


Support HMN

Help us support the invaluable work of faith community nurses and health ministers in northwest Washington by donating today!

And thank you to our fiscal sponsor,

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