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March 2022 Newsletter

Dear Health Ministries Network Community,

Though February was a short month, much has happened locally and abroad--and all of this within the scope of our practice of love and prayer. At HMN, we continue to put spiritual health first, as our Faith Community Nurses, Health Ministers and Community Health Advocates support their faith communities and particularly individuals who face challenges remaining connected to community. Let us continue to support each other well through this season of Lent, transition into spring.

In February, partnering with the Mt. Baker Foundation and Whatcom Family YMCA, we successfully kicked off the YMCA Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program (BPSM) at our Ask a Nurse clinic at the East Whatcom Regional Resource Center. The program is also offered at the Bellingham Senior Activity Center. We hope that this pilot program across Whatcom County invites a long-term commitment to this empowering program, and we are happy to be a part of it. If your faith community is reinvigorating its health ministry, please feel free to get in touch, and we will support your FCNs with a free blood pressure monitor.

We continue to work with Chuckanut Health Foundation's Aging Well Whatcom, not only through the Ask a Nurse grant, but also as an active member of Aging Well Whatcom's Steering Committee. The group is in the process of updating the Aging Well Whatcom Blueprint. A lot has happened in the past two years, and this changes the landscape of growing older. Stay tuned to learn more about the changing landscape for all of us who are aging in Whatcom County.

Nationally, it is Kidney Health Month. And the latest news on kidney health? Diabetes, high blood pressure and chronic kidney disease are inextricably linked. However, we know that these comorbidities don't appear overnight. They are a process, just like our health. Since we, humans, were designed for health and healing, we will focus on ways to grow healthier in these areas. We encourage you to take advantage of the educational and enlightening talk coming on March 8th by Dr. Bill Lombard (see below) to support your kidney health.

It is also Women's History Month. This month, we honor women and the trailblazers who continue to make equity and equality possible for women of all colors, ages, faith communities, nationalities, sizes, professions and so many other things that make each of us unique and wonderful. As we know, it takes more than honor and celebration to empower, and so this month, as with each month that celebrates those who are often underserved, we can take time to think about how we might uplift, empower and love each other as we should love ourselves.

Worldwide, we pray for the Ukraine. We pray for the people of the Ukraine and for peace in Eastern Europe. We pray for an end to war. And we also pray with our local Ukrainian and Russian-speaking communities are hurting here, in Whatcom and the Pacific Northwest. The sunflower is the Ukrainian national flower--big, bright, beautiful and always looking to the light. The photo here is of a volunteer sunflower that popped up in my garden last summer. Despite the chaos around it in my haphazard garden, it stood tall, above the rest and exercised its fortitude and resilience. We wish this for our Ukrainian neighbors as well.

Please stay connected. Wishing you continued peace, health, and love. Take good care today!

Yours in gratitude and hope,

Sarah Lane

Executive Director


Tammy Bennett, Healthy Living Director at the Whatcom Family YMCA, and Holly Telfer, Faith Community Nurse from St. Paul's Episcopal Church, education and support Mt. Baker Foothills community members with education and programs on healthy blood pressure and diabetes prevention, two key factors affecting kidney health and our overall quality of life. Thank you to the Mt. Baker Foundation and the Whatcom Family YMCA for this great partnership in caring.


HMN March Meeting: WTA Presents

This month we welcome spring, the further lifting of some COVID restrictions and getting out a bit more. WTA buses are here to support your need to get out as well as our community's efforts to reduce the number of cars on the road. Do you have questions about how to plan a bus trip or schedule paratransit in Whatcom County? WTA's Janet Malley and team will be talking with us via Zoom at our monthly meeting!

It will be a friendly time of sharing! Bring stories to share from your faith community!

Everyone is welcome! Please join us via Zoom on Friday, March 18th, 12-1:30pm.

Zoom link:

Meeting ID: 870 3130 1954

Passcode: 780083

One tap mobile

+12532158782,,87031301954#,,,,*780083# US (Tacoma)

+13462487799,,87031301954#,,,,*780083# US (Houston)

Please contact Sarah Lane with questions at


HMN February Meeting Notes

Thank you all for coming together--we visited FCNs/HMs whom we hadn't seen in two years. It was good to connect and to see that health ministries are continuing to thrive. They are also transforming to allow people to connect well with community or to take rest.

What do we conclude from this meeting?

Community is so important. We will do more of this gathering and sharing as the weather gets warmer and the waves of pandemic become ripples.

Just a couple of notes. First, some of you said you'd be up to mentoring nursing students/young nurses, and so I'll continue to talk with Bill Lonneman and other educators on this possibility.

And we continue to acknowledge the need for caregiver support, particularly around dementia and chronic illness. With this comes the need for rest and respite. We will continue to keep our finger on the pulse of resources.

I am not posting a video of this meeting because this was a time to share and catch up, and personal stories were shared.

Please contact Sarah Lane with questions at


Is a Faith Community Health Ministry in Your Future?

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 communities facing the many challenges of today.

From 9 April-11 June 2022, Health Ministries Network is offering a distant learning Foundations for Faith Community Nursing for active and retired nurses and a parallel Foundations for Health Ministry course for lay members of faith communities. The course includes pre-course orientations, weekly online curriculum, and monthly Zoom webinars, providing a total of 38 hours of supported instruction and introduction into a welcoming health ministry community. The Foundations Course is open to all religions, faiths and beliefs. Nurses and health ministers serving diverse communities are encouraged to apply for scholarships.

For more information, go to or

Contact: Sarah Lane, or call 360-632-2372.

NOTE: Our website is currently under construction, and so the 2022 Foundations Course Application and Diversity Scholarship Application are not available online. We will make an announcement when these are available at our new website. In the meantime, please download the applications here, complete, scan and email or mail to Sarah Lane, 800 E. Chestnut St., Ste 101, Bellingham, WA 98225. If you have any questions about how to complete these applications or whether you qualify for a scholarship, please contact Sarah Lane at or 360-632-2372.


March 2022 Event: Caring for the Human Spirit Virtual Conference and the Westburg Symposium

Click here to register


Prediabetes is not benign


Updates in Transitional Care Series

The Updates in Transitional Care Series assists the participant to discover best-practice, research-based methods to enhance the care of people experiencing transition from one level of care to another by encouraging collaboration between the hospital and faith community in order to encourage wholistic health.

Dr. Deborah Ziebarth, PhD, MSN, RN-BC

Deborah has more than 40 years of nursing experience in ICU, tribal nursing in Somalia, East Africa, Faith Community Nursing, and as a Community Benefit Manager for a large hospital system. She is the current Chair of Nursing for Herzing University-Brookfield campus, a faculty member for the University of Spirituality and Theology, and is Board Certified in Faith Community Nursing. Dr. Ziebarth has developed several of the WI Position Statements and the WI Transitional Care Program, facilitating three 2-year research studies in Transitional Care.


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.


"Preventing chronic kidney disease (CKD) and its complications is possible by managing risk factors and treating the disease to slow its progression and reduce the risk of complications. To keep healthy kidneys, it is important to control those risk factors for CKD that can be modified."

Here are two easy tests to help you determine whether you are at risk:


Supporting Mental Health

In advance of this evening’s Presidential State of the Union address, the White House released a fact sheet on the Administration’s strategy to address the nation’s mental health crisis. Join the briefing call March 2, at 3:30p.m. ET here.

"A More Christian Approach to Mental Health Challenges"

What would it look like if the end goal of mental health care was “living life in all its fullness” (John 10:10), rather than “conquering” illness? In this interview with Plough magazine, Sanctuary Ambassador John Swinton explores the connections between mental health care and spirituality. He discusses how discipleship and friendship can be helpful models for reframing living with mental health challenges as a journey—complete with hills and valleys—rather than a battle.


COVID-19 Information, At-Home Tests and Vaccination Perspectives

COVID-19 County Check Tool is a new tool to help communities decide what prevention steps they need to take based on the latest data. Levels can be low, medium, or high and are determined by looking at hospital beds, admissions, and the total number of new COVID-19 cases in an area.

Check your county’s COVID-19 Commmunity Level to determine the right prevention steps for you and your community.

At-Home Test Kits: Availability and Resources

There are a few different ways to get free at-home COVID-19 tests right now.

  • You can now order 4 free at-home tests to be delivered to your door:

  • WA State is also offering mail-order tests:

    • English - Home - Say Yes! To Covid Test (

    • Spanish - Inicio - Say Yes! To Covid Test (

  • The EWRRC at 8251 Kendall Rd. in Maple Falls will continue to have a stock of at-home tests to be given to community members as needed. They are open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9-noon and 1-4pm. Thursdays they are open noon – 7pm. Call for questions: 360-599-3944.

  • Other community locations, such as libraries, may have a limited supply of tests to share with the public. Call your local library to check.

Since COVID is a reportable condition and knowing the full scope of test results gives us valuable information about trends and spread, we ask that folks who take home tests report their positive result here: COVID-19 Report Form (

Changes in Mask Mandates. We will keep our eyes on and our hearts around changes in mask mandates in Washington, Oregon and across the US. We continue to hold those who are at risk in prayer as requirements change. Here is a good resource from Yale Medicine that offers some support on changes in masking guidance and those who will continue to mask.

Best Practices for Faith Communities. Tuesday, March 8th from 11:30-12:30. Requirements and best practices for COVID-19 safety are changing rapidly. Please join us for a special session with Dr. Paul Cieslak to talk about best practices for faith communities in this next season. This will be an interactive session, so please come with lots of questions!

  • Join using this link

  • Weekly calendar invitation here

Feel free to pre-submit questions by emailing:

Vaccinations in Whatcom County. Please go to the March vaccination schedule for Whatcom County, if you are seeking COVID-19 vaccination. To download a calendar in English or Spanish, please click here.

Why Faith Communities in Oregon Have Gotten Vaccinated:

The Jewish Federation of Portland has released a "Get the Shot" video of Jewish leaders talking about their decision to be vaccinated. You can check out that video here.

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon asked faith leaders from across Oregon “why they – as people of faith – chose to get vaccinated. The reasons are as varied as the leaders themselves, but their answers all grow out of a sacred conversation between their community traditions, public health information, and a deep concern for the common good." The video is available here.

Faith 4 Vaccines, a national multi-faith movement has also compiled a number of stories from faith leaders along with resources for equitable vaccine distribution on their website here


Whatcom Family YMCA Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring Program & Diabetes Prevention Program

BPSM: High blood pressure is often referred to as “The Silent Killer” because there are typically no warning signs or symptoms. High blood pressure is a key, modifiable, risk factor for both heart disease and stroke, which are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. This 4 month program will help you gain the skills needed to manage/or lower your blood pressure.

For more information or to register contact Tammy Bennett, or 360-255-0490.

Diabetes Prevention. The YMCA’s Diabetes Prevention Program (new class starts April 11th) helps adults at high risk of developing type 2 diabetes adopt and maintain healthy lifestyles by eating healthier, increasing physical activity and losing a modest amount of weight in order to reduce their chances of developing the disease. This program is made possible by a partnership with Unity Care NW. Click here for more information.


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

Thank you to FCN, Bev Bishop and Northside Park Project Coordinator, Rhonda Rische, for allowing us to share this information. HMN will be setting up a date to gather and visit in person, bless and be blessed by this space. The following information was taken directly from the Northside Community Church website. To visit the website directly, please click here:

"Northside Community Church has been actively inclusive to individuals and families who have children with special needs for many years. As a core value, this is something our faith community is passionate about.

The vision behind Northside Park is an extension of our heart for people. Whatcom County is blessed to have many great parks and playgrounds. However, none are purpose-built with play for all as the central goal. While many have one or two therapeutic swings or some wheelchair ramp access, none are truly accessible by all kids regardless of physical ability.

We are excited that Northside Park will be the first!

Situated on 10 acres of land and a centrally located in Whatcom County at the intersection of Hannegan Road and Kline Road, Northside Park will offer access and facilities that are open to everyone. The park will feature poured rubber surfaces throughout to accommodate wheel chairs and assistive walking equipment. Most play features will be accessible by kids regardless of ability. Whatcom County’s first wheelchair swing and wheelchair merry-go-round will be offered. These are just some of the many play features we hope to make available for all kids. For parents with kids who are prone to wander, the park will offer a secure fence and a single entrance point. ADA Bathroom facilities will also be on-site.

Why a Church? It’s an understandable question but one we like to answer with “why not?” Isn’t it great when organizations and individuals use their resources to fill voids in our community? That’s what we’re trying to do. We have a great location and the space to accommodate a park and moreover our hearts desire is to welcome people with all abilities. We hear from so many people how much of a blessing it is to receive support through our Buddy Break weekend respite program, Sunday sensory space, and the sensory space we host every year at the Northwest Washington Fair. We hear about the positive and meaningful impacts of what being inclusive means for individuals and families. Northside Park is the next step in our journey. It is a major undertaking to build a community park but our desire to show love and care for our community compels us to action. Will you partner with us?"


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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