• Health Ministries Network

March 2020 Newsletter

Director's Note, Upcoming Events, Community Events and Information, Interview with Beverly Bishop, HM, and Devotional from her Pastor, Ted Swinburne.

Dear health ministries family,

Is your congregation concerned about covel coronavirus (COVID 19)? This answer, of course, is yes. Passing the peace or greeting our friends, sharing communion or other sacred rituals, there are so many ways that gathering in faith also presents challenges to infectious disease prevention. Here are some helpful resources and recommendations from public health officials:

The CDC released a document, “Get Your Community- and Faith-Based Organizations Ready for Pandemic Flu” in April 2017, which encourages congregations to:

  • develop an emergency communications plan, have flu-prevention supplies on hand, make contingency plans for event cancellations, and plan for how to continue essential services if on-site operations are reduced temporarily.

  • stay vigilant in everyday preventative actions like hand washing, covering coughs and sneezes with tissues, encouraging those who are sick to stay home, and cleaning surfaces frequently.

  • help disseminate information to vulnerable people who may be isolated, home-bound or who don’t speak English through a buddy system.

  • connect with your local heath department and follow their guidance. As this progresses, the recommendations and appropriate responses will change.

As an Episcopalian, I found the words and resources provided by Bishop Greg Rickel, of the Episcopal Church in Western Washington, helpful. In this video, he discusses the logistics of communion and also the scientific research regarding whether communion spreads diseases.

Additionally, local health departments will be providing updates and guidance as the disease continues to emerge including fact sheets in multiple languages. Let us give thanks to our board chair, Joni Hensley, and hundreds of other public health nurses, health care workers, and staff across the state diligently implementing state and local responses to COVID 19. We are grateful for your service to ensure the health of our communities and we pray for your success.

This very real health challenge highlights the importance and value of having a faith community nurse at one’s congregation. Please, use this as a catalyst to encourage a nurse in your congregation to register for our Foundations in Faith Community Nursing course. The deadline has just been extended to Friday, March 20 – apply today!

In faith,

Amelia Vader Executive Director amelia@healthministriesnetwork.net

Upcoming Events

March Meeting

Friday, March 20, 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM

First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham

Please join us for our monthly meeting, where board chair, Joni Hensley, will present and lead discussion about a case study in ethics and advocacy. This meeting is free and all are welcome, especially those interested in health ministry! A light lunch will be provided.


Foundations Course

April 3 - June 6, 2020

Online and in-person at First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham

Prepares state licensed RNs for faith community nurse ministry and other caring individuals for health minister service in their respective congregation or faith community. Applications due Friday March 20, 2020.


The Departure Lounge

Plan ahead 🦴 your trip of a lifetime!

A 5-Week series on Death beginning April 15, 2020.

Wednesdays at 10am & 6pm

Unity Spiritual Center, 1095 Telegraph Rd, Bellingham, WA 98226


NO April Meeting

Instead of hosting a meeting this month, we encourage you to attend the WWU Palliative Care Institute Spring Conference: Care Across Cultures. Scholarships are available, please apply by Friday, March 20 for consideration.


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.

Tobacco Treatment Specialist (TTS) Training

The DOH Tobacco and Vapor Product Prevention and Control Program is pleased to share two free training opportunities for health care and public health professionals.


Mar 02, 8:00 AM – Mar 05, 5:00 PM DoubleTree Suites, 16500 Southcenter Pkwy, Seattle, WA

Mar 06, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM DoubleTree Suites, 16500 Southcenter Pkwy, Seattle, WA

Realities of Advanced Medical Interventions

Learn what their outcomes could mean for patients in the short and long term.

Wednesday, March 4, 6:00 PM St. Luke's Community HEC, 3333 Squalicum Pkwy, Bellingham


Tuesday, March 10, 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Viking Union - Room 462, 516 High St, Bellingham


Mar 19, 6:30 PM

Community Food Co-op Cordata, 315 Westerly Rd, Bellingham, WA


Advance Care Planning Workshop

Come learn how to complete an AD consistent with your healthcare goals, values, and beliefs.

Mar 12, 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM Viking Union - Room 462, 516 High St, Bellingham, WA