top of page

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

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 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

Mar 25, 6:30 PM

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

Northwest Rural Health Conference

Join us in highlighting the needs and opportunities of rural healthcare.

Monday March 23, 7:00 AM – Wednesday, Mar 25, 1:00 PM The Davenport Grand, Autograph Collectio, 333 W Spokane Falls Blvd, Spokane, WA

Virtual Dementia tour

Experience the world through the eyes of a person with dementia.

Mar 26, 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM Bloedel Donovan Park Multi Purpose Room, 2214 Electric Ave, Bellingham

25th Annual Elder Service Provider Caregiver Conference

A Silver Lining for Caregivers.

Friday, April 3, 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM Hotel Bellwether, 1 Bellwether Way, Bellingham, WA

Lebanon, OR: Foundations Course

This Foundations of Faith Community Nursing course is based on the curriculum developed through the Westberg Institute for Faith Community Nurses.

Apr 13, 8:00 AM – May 12, 2:00 PM Lebanon, OR. Details

Palliative Care Across Cultures

The Palliative Care Institute Conference Spring 2020. Scholarships from HMN are available, please apply by Friday, March 20 for consideration.

Friday, April 17, 8:30 AM – 4:30 PM Settlemyer Family Hall, 3028 Lindbergh Ave, Bellingham, WA

Dementia Friendly Spring Social

Join us for music, refreshments, support, and friendships!

Apr 17, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM Bloedel Donovan Park Multi Purpose Room, 2214 Electric Ave, Bellingham, WA


Health Ministries Network (HMN) is a non-profit that initiates, develops and supports faith based health ministry in northwest Washington.

Beverly Bishop, HM

Northside Community Church (NCC)

Why do you do health ministry?

My husband and I spent most of our life as missionaries in places such as the Congo, Cambodia, Thailand, and Russia. Health has always been a part of our work, and in particular, nursing. One of my proudest accomplishments are 10 CE modules written & taught by me and various U.S. nurses to nurses in areas that needed help realizing the full potential of a nurse’s role.

After a lifetime of missionary work, you don’t just stop, it’s in your heart. And that’s just me. My husband and my career was that way, and so here it’s that way too. Jesus is my model for life, and he was interested in helping the poor and needy.

Health Ministries Network (HMN) is a non-profit that initiates, develops and supports faith based health ministry in northwest Washington.
Bev and Andy Bishop.

Do you have a story of when health ministry made a difference in somebody's life?

There is a lady here at NCC who, at age 40, had a stroke. She wasn’t able to get around anymore and needed extensive care for daily living. She lived with her mom until her mom got too old to take care of her and put her in a nursing home, but she never felt at home there and was very unhappy.

She had a son who didn’t live here and was really interested in having her come live with him, but her mom wouldn’t have it because he was clear across the United States and she wanted her daughter close by. I said she needed to go because it wasn’t working for her to live here.

So, I worked with the son and got her over there and now she is doing so great. She goes to an exercise gym and walks her dogs everyday now, has dropped 100 pounds and was even able to get on the plane and come visit us. Before she wouldn’t even leave the house.

Health Ministries Network (HMN) is a non-profit that initiates, develops and supports faith based health ministry in northwest Washington.

What programs or activities make up your health ministry?

I am part of the Sew and Sews, as we call ourselves here at Northside Community Church (NCC), and we make and donate things such as quilts, lap robes, scarves, bibs, changing pads, and burp clothes to various places including a pregnancy clinic, hospice house, homeless mission, cancer center, and Skookum kids. I also keep a health information bulletin board up to date in our foyer and have had a workshop for Advance Directives and end of life planning. My husband Andy and I do hospital and home visits and senior lunches. We also volunteer for a women’s Cold Weather Shelter at Fountain Church, Skookum kids, and NCC’s Buddy Break.

Health Ministries Network (HMN) is a non-profit that initiates, develops and supports faith based health ministry in northwest Washington.
Sew and Sews prepare blankets at NCC.

What is Buddy Break?

Buddy Break is our respite program for kids with special needs and their families. Once a month, we have a bunch of kids, we call them V.I.P.s, and volunteers, we call them Buddies. My husband Andy and I have been Buddies since the program started here about five years ago.

We work really hard to create a good match between a V.I.P. and a buddy, and we basically transform NCC to active rooms for those three hours. All the chairs are broken down and we have lots of different toys and games. We have a barrel that kids can roll around in. We have a little bouncy house. We have a ball pit. We also have a quiet space too, because if kids get pretty amped up, it's good to have a place where they can go and calm down. We have a preschool room where kids can do some imaginary play with a kitchen or a little store, trains to make a town and that kind of thing. Llamas, horses, and trained dogs occasionally visit. Sometimes older V.I.P.s go bowling. With lunch in the middle of those three hours, we just hang out and have fun.

While the kids play their families can go out and do something fun or get something done that can be difficult to do with their child such as grocery shopping, couples can go on dates, whatever they would like to do for three hours.

Because of this program NCC is in the process of funding and planning to build a playground for special needs kids which will be really valuable resource to the community.

Health Ministries Network (HMN) is a non-profit that initiates, develops and supports faith based health ministry in northwest Washington.
NCC's first Buddy Break in 2015.

What’s upcoming in your health ministry?

I’m going to focus on body and self-image and plan to educate about food, exercise and sexual health. I’d like to get our silver sneakers group up and running again and do a presentation about diet and weight management.

Health Ministries Network (HMN) is a non-profit that initiates, develops and supports faith based health ministry in northwest Washington.
Bev Bishop and Rhonda Rische, Buddy Break organizer.

What challenges are facing your health ministry?

I first began Parish nursing and I had a big team, but for the most part it’s now just me and I can only do so much. I’d really like to find some other folks to be involved.

Another challenge, at least with Buddy Break, has been my voice. I’ve had a couple bouts with cancer that have damaged my voice box and I had to rest my voice for a while and wasn’t able to participate in Buddy Break at the same level.

Interviewed by Sampson Alvarado on January 10, 2020.


Courtesy of Pastor Ted Swinburne (left), Northside Community Church

As humans, God’s image-bearers, one of our greatest honors and privileges is to care for other humans. Our caring should not be based on another person’s age, gender, ethnicity, social status or preferences. Our caring is based upon every person’s worth as an image-bearer of God. This removes the weight we bear when we try to base any action or inaction on who or why. Every person is worth being cared over and cared for.

I am thankful to have the Health Ministries Network as a part of our community. Your mission of serving and facilitating the care of others is vital to the health of Whatcom County. I appreciate the view of the wholeness of each person, that we are not just bodies that come and go but that we are persons with emotions and that God knows and cares for each of us. Thank you for your selfless service to your community.

Northside Community Church, of which I am the lead pastor, is blessed to have Bev Bishop as our FCN. She truly is an example of a channel of divine care for our congregation. She reaches out selflessly and enthusiastically to anyone in need. She acts as the hands and feet of Jesus to the people of Northside and beyond. In fact, she sees Jesus as her model in how to love and care for others. She is an example for all of us.

At Northside, our mission is to be “Passionately following Jesus and Compassionately loving all”. In order to carry out this mission, we must be concerned about the whole person, not just what they believe, but also how they live and how they are loved. Having a community that experiences care is vital. Having a person who cares about our health and our soul and is a valuable gift. Having an FCN in our congregation is a godsend for our congregation and for me as their pastor.

I pray this blessing for those of you involved in health ministries as taken from Isaiah 61,

“May the Spirit of God empower you for the mission set before you,

to bring good news to the sick and hurting,

to bind up the brokenhearted,

to proclaim freedom to those who are stuck in the prison of the challenges of life,

to comfort those who mourn, to present hope in the midst of hopelessness,

to offer the option of praise instead of despair.

May you be strong like oaks of righteousness as you represent God to the community that He has called and given you the privilege to serve.”


Ted Swinburne

Northside Community Church

Support HMN

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


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page