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July 2020 Newsletter

Director's Note, Community Events & Info, New FCNs and HMs, 2019 Annual Report, and Devotional from HMN board member, Mike Massanari.

Dear health ministries community,

Faith communities are creative and resilient, but these times are surely testing those strengths. If you’ve been involved in your congregation’s re-opening or consideration of re-opening, you know that following the governor’s requirements for faith community is a heavy lift. (Read the updated guidelines released June 18, 2020 here). At the same time, people are anxious to feel spiritual connection and reconvene. I know faith community leaders are feeling immense pressure and I ask that we pray for them in their paths forward.

As we grapple with a public health crisis and an election year, I feel obligated to note that there is an abundance of misinformation out there, especially on Facebook. Since Facebook does little to regulate its content, it is up to all of us to examine where we get our information and refrain from accepting uncited/unsourced information in comments or images as accurate. Much of this dis-information is intended to spread fear. We know that the public trusts nurses more than many other professions (including politicians) and thus, a social media post by a faith community nurse could carry additional weight for their friends and family. I hope we can all commit to pausing and examining information before re-posting it on Facebook and providing accurate information on how to stop the spread of COVID-19.

This wonderful piece in the Wenatchee World by Dr. Malcolm Butler is a great read on how the virus transmits through the air we breathe and how our understanding of COVID-19 has advanced. Dr. Butler is the chief medical officer at Columbia Valley Community Health and the health officer at the Chelan Douglas Health District.

Health Ministries Network continues to plug along in this distanced environment. Thanks to a grant from the North Sound Accountable Communities of Health (ACH) we are developing a library of tablets (e.g. iPads) to be loaned to those who are at high risk during COVID-19, to allow them spiritual, social and telemedicine connections. More info on that project soon!

I hope you will take a moment to read Health Ministries Network’s just published 2019 annual report, highlighting the incredible service of Faith Community Nurses and Health Ministers around the NW region. Thank you for all that you do!

Amelia Vader Executive Director

Upcoming Events

HMN July Meeting: Airbourne transmission of COVID-19 and Masks

Friday, July 17, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

Zoom Video Conference Call

Lynn Pittsinger, RN, PNP, Public Health Nurse Supervisor with the Whatcom County Health Department in the Communicable Disease and Epidemiology Division, will be joining us to speak to airborne transmission and masking for COVID-19.

Join us on Zoom using the meeting link sent via our email newsletter. Didn't get a link? Email

For those who have not used Zoom before, watch this in-depth instructional video on how to set it up.

Recording disclaimer: The latter half of this meeting is a presentation and Q&A which will be recorded and sent out to FCNs & HMs who cannot attend live. The recording will be, "speaker-view," which means only the person who is talking is visible in the recording, such as the presenter or anyone making a comment or asking a question. If you would not like to be a part of the recording, you can stop sharing video, or mute yourself and use the chat box to ask participate. Contact with any questions.

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.

UW Survey: Health Ministry during COVID-19

Faculty at the University of Washington are researching how health ministry programs are operating during COVID-19. The results will be used to assess how to collaborate on grant opportunities from federal, state or local funders to develop and evaluate health ministry programs during this pandemic. Please take a moment to take the survey by clicking here.

Making Virtual Health Visits Easy

PeaceHealth, SeaMar, and Unity Care NW demonstrate their virtual platform for telehealth visits.

For additional Telehealth tips and online resources visit or contact

Learn more in our blog post, "COVID-19 Info & Resources for Faith Communities."

Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Course

Sep 12, 9 AM – Sep 26, 5 PM - Online Course

Pacific Lutheran University

Are you an RN interested in providing a health ministry within your church and community?

Move 4 A Cause

Every Friday, 4 - 4:30 PM - Zoom Video Conference Call

Dementia Support Northwest

Motivation can be hard to find these days, so every Friday from 4 - 4:30 PM 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.

Exploring Equity and Cultural Humility

Thursday July 9, 1 - 4PM - Zoom Video Conference Call

CHW Network, Whatcom Dispute Resolution Center, Whatcom Community Foundation

This intensive 3-hr workshop inspires and empowers participants to grow and engage in activities that:

- Honor human diversity

- Promote cultural self-awareness and understanding

- Engage in cross-cultural learning activities to gain in-depth knowledge of the history and culture of ethnic and cultural groups

- Examine historical and institutional power of the “isms” - racism, sexism, classism, etc.

Instructors: Masa DeLara, Heather Jefferson, and Julie Mauermann

Monthly CHW Meeting

Friday July 24, 9 - 11AM - Zoom Video Conference Call

Whatcom Community Health Worker Network

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.

2019 Annual Report

Check out our 2019 annual report, featuring our research partnership with the University of Washington and CHI Franciscan, Spotlights on FCNs and HMs in NW Washington state, our estimated impact and more!

Devotion: "A Time for Lament"

Courtesy of Mike Massanari, HMN Board of Directors

“…by this time…the plague had swallowed up everything and everyone. No longer were there individual destinies, only a collective destiny, made of plague and the emotions shared by all. Strongest of these emotions was the sense of exile and of deprivation, with all the cross-currents of revolt and fear set up by these.”

This portrayal of life amidst plague from Albert Camus’ novel The Plague (1947) might well serve as a pundit’s description of life as we know it in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed an existential threat on society and our economic well-being that we scarce can comprehend. As the nation’s death toll passes 100,000 with still more unaccounted, as magnitudes more are sick or convalescing, as millions face unemployment and insecure futures, all while bungled leadership fails to do so much as acknowledge the tragedy that has befallen us.

For those of faith it is a compelling time to call upon one’s God. But perhaps it is also a time to reflect on how we call on God, what do we seek, what are our expectations? Soong-Chan Rah, in his book Prophetic Lament, suggests that the American church proffers a theology of abundance and celebration. It is a perspective that emerges from the ‘haves’ that calls for constancy and sustainability. Thus, in the face of the existential threat of the pandemic we hear predominantly calls – and to be sure prayers – for a return to ‘normalcy,’ for the ‘freedom’ to worship as we see fit whilst ignoring the prophetic warnings of medical and scientific experts.

In contradiction to a theology of abundance, Rah suggests that the theology that emerges from the ‘have-nots’ is one of suffering and survival. Their worship, rather than one of celebration, is worship couched in lament. “Lament recognizes the struggles of life and cries out for justice against existing injustices. The status quo is not to be celebrated but instead must be challenged.”

The existential threat of the pandemic is playing out the harsh realities of the injustices in our society as people of color and people marginalized by poverty are left to languish while the wealthiest accrue yet more wealth. Let us join the ancient Israelites in the Book of Lamentations as they cry out to their God under the heavy hand of their conquerors, not in a false hope for return to normalcy, but in lamentation over suffering and injustice and “for a vision of survival and salvation.”

My eyes flow with rivers of tears
because of the destruction of
my people.
My eyes will flow without ceasing,
without respite,
until the Lord from heaven
looks down and sees.
(Lamentations 3:48-50)

Shalom / Salam

Mike Massanari

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