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March Newsletter

Dear Health Ministries Network Community,

Happy March and Happy Spring! t is Women's History Month, Kidney Health Month, and . . . spring! Well, not quite yet. However, it will arrive very soon. The days are getting longer, and the buds are getting ready to burst.

This past month, I've talked to more of you--thanks for these conversations. I appreciate getting to know you and what you're doing, the joys and the challenges. We've had opportunities to work with PeaceHealth to get come of our nurses and health ministers and others vaccinated. And I've also had an opportunity to "compile our data" from last year, and through pandemic:

In 2020, of the 159 nurses that we have subscribed to our network, we have 30 who submitted hours. In 2020, Faith Community Nurses and Health Ministers who are affiliated with Health Ministries Network reported:

  • Service to 26 faith communities.

  • 1,562 hours of volunteer service, a value of $67K (based on $41.43, US Bureau of Labor and Statistics hourly rate for RNs)

  • 58 individual referrals to outside support services

  • 80 individual visits/calls related to palliative care

  • 51 individual visits/calls related to transitional care (from hospital to home)

  • 551 individuals served in Advance Care planning through individual and group classes

  • 801 individuals served in support groups

And the narratives you provided heighten the richness of our story. Thank you!

This month, we'll hear from the Skagit and Whatcom Family YMCAs. They will talk about wellness programs they are offering, particularly their focus on older adults and how they might work with faith communities. Whether you're in the four-county area or not, your local or remote YMCA can serve you!

Please also see good below for opportunities to contribute your knowledge of your faith community to help Whatcom County shape choices about childcare and mobile vaccinations. See lots of good information, including a fascinating article from UW on insomnia (thanks to Joni Hensley for sharing!).

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

With gratitude,

With gratitude and joy,

Sarah Lane

Executive Director


HMN Monthly Meeting - New ZOOM Link!

Friday, March 19, 11:00 AM – 12:00 PM

Come and share in our monthly Zoom Meeting, featuring the YMCA! We'll hear from both the Whatcom and Skagit YMCAs and learn what they've been up to, what they're currently offering in 2021 and how they might serve your community. From YMCA Diabetes Prevention to Better Bones and Balance, from yoga to weight training and from wellness through fitness to wellness through community, the YMCA continues to serve our communities. And if you're not in these two counties, there's bound to be a YMCA near you--or one that can serve you remotely during this time.

Please bring questions and stories to share at the Zoom Meeting!

Please email Sarah Lane for the Zoom link or questions


Motivational Interviewing (MI): The Language of Change with Dr. Stephen Rollnick

Motivational Interviewing hosted by the Faith Community Health Network (OR)

Starts Wednesday 3/10, 3-7pm

Thank you to Faith Community Health Network and co-leads, Deb Fell-Carson and Tawni Pfaff, for offering this excellent distance-learning opportunity in MI, which includes topics such as: MI techniques and best practices, integrating MI techniques, behavior change and challenges. No CEUs offered.

Please email Deb Fell-Carson for the Zoom link:


HMN Foundations Course Updates - Bellingham & Oregon

Is a Faith Community Health Ministry in Your Future?

Thank you to Carol Nicolay, Foundations Course Coordinator, who hosted a number of Foundations Course informational sessions to prospective students! We had a number of attendees who are considering signing up. Let's keep these potential health ministries volunteers in our prayers as they discern.

If you know anyone who might be interested in our course, please let Carol know. And if spring seems to be too soon for someone to join a Foundations class, know that our Oregon partners are offering a class in the fall! Please see the information below.

Bellingham (Remote) Foundations Course. 10 Apr-12 Jun, Health Ministries Network is offering a hybrid Foundations for Faith Community Nursing for active and retired nurses with weekly online curriculum and monthly zoom conferences. This year a parallel Foundations for Health Ministry is being offered for lay members of faith communities. Nurses and Health Ministers work together to open the door for important conversations about health and wellness of the mind, body and spirit. The program is open to all religions, faiths and beliefs. Nurses and health ministers serving diverse communities are encouraged to apply for scholarships.

For more information: or contact Carol Nicolay or text 360-510-9797

Oregon (Remote) Foundations Course. Oct-Nov 2021. Faith Community Health Network is partnering to offer the 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 will be six sessions held on Zoom from 8am – 5pm on Mondays and Tuesdays: October 18-19, November 1-2, and November 15-16, 2021, providing nearly 40 hours of supported instruction. Course cost is dependent on grant funding. The Foundations Course is open to all faith traditions.

For more information, contact: Deb Fell-Carlson, BSN, RN, COHN-S, MSPH, Foundations Course Coordinator and Lead Educator, at or text 541-248-0595.


Two Opportunities to help Whatcom County Assess the Needs of Families and Individuals

How many need mobile vaccination teams?

Do you know of an individual in Whatcom County who is interested in getting a COVID-19 vaccination but is unable to leave their home to obtain one, even with transportation or scheduling assistance? Whatcom County seeks to form mobile vaccination teams and needs to determine how many individuals might need this service. If you know someone (only numbers, no names) , please email Sarah Lane here:

Help Whatcom County & WWU discern childcare needs for families

United Way of Whatcom County is partnered with WWU to learn more about child care needs for families in Whatcom County. They need your help to hear from parents and caregivers about their priorities, whether they have a child in child care or not. Please share this with your networks

Calling all Whatcom County Parents and caregivers! Western Washington University is studying childcare needs and wants to hear from you. Whether you use childcare or not, your input is important. To complete the survey, follow this link:<>.

¡Llamando a todos los padres y cuidadores del condado de Whatcom! Western Washington University está estudiando las necesidades de cuidado infantil y quiere saber su opinión. Ya sea que use el cuidado de niños o no, su opinión es importante.Para completar la encuesta, siga este enlace:<>.


HMN Prayer Team Opportunity

During the past month, we've had a number of calls come in for prayers for FCNs and HMs. It feels impersonal to send an email to everyone in a newsletter, requesting prayer. And yet this is so important. Would you like to lead or participate in an HMN prayer team for our organization? If so, please contact Sarah Lane here:


HMN Webinar for Faith Community Leaders Recording

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to attend and participate in our Faith Community Leaders Lunch Break via Zoom in February! Thanks to Faith Community Leaders who sent representatives to share in our community time, learn about how Health Ministries serves everyone in faith communities, from leaders to members to our greater community. Thanks to our dedicated Faith Community Nurses and Health Ministers who presented and shared.

From our beautiful dedication by Dr. Emily Gibson to our fun "Tops and Tips" for mask wearing and Woods gift card giveaway, it was a renewing hour together. To follow up, we're including links to the meeting, notes and upcoming 2021 Foundations Course for FCNs and HMs. Please don't hesitate to contact us to learn more or to let us know what would serve you well as leaders during this challenging time. Click on the video link below.


Recording Available: February HMN Meeting with Dr. Lombard

Thank you to Dr. Bill Lombard of Mt. Baker Foundation for the informative and resource-filled presentation on kidney disease awareness. We spent well over an hour together, discussing the prevalence of kidney disease, as well as its silence. The cover photo here says it all. Here is a tool with which you can empower your Faith Community members and friends to check out their kidneys at home! Check it out: March is Kidney Disease Awareness Month and has been endorsed as such here Washington State and in Whatcom County, thanks to the efforts of Mt. Baker Foundation and others. Thank you to Micki Jackson for coordinating this brilliant presentation. Meeting Video. The meeting video is now up on YouTube. Please feel free to watch that by clicking on the link here or below. Thank you so much!


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 director@healthministriesnetwork.netto add your own.


It's Kidney Healthy Awareness Month


It is easier to treat and slow progression if caught in its early stages. It is relatively easy to diagnose. Talk to your doctor at your next visit and ask for a urine test. Take the one minute kidney risk factor quiz


Crisis and Chaos: A Framework to Recovery

Presented by Brookdale Senior Living and Jaclyn Pritchett, PHR, SHRM-CP

This year 2020 was one of the most challenging and unpredictable years many of us have faced in our lifetime. From leading on the frontline through a global pandemic to disruption of routine in all aspects of our lives personally and much more, we have been hit with crisis after crisis. It is important for medical professionals to identify, process and take action in order to achieve crisis recover00and to realize there is a cost over time if we don’t. Join us as we discuss the psychological impacts of crisis and a framework to help you form strategies for crisis recovery.

Wednesday, March 10, 4-5pm, by reservation only. To confirm your RSVP and receive the Zoom meeting ID, call 360-647-1254.


In UW News, co-author, Jake Ellison shares: "In a study involving patients in the Kaiser Permanente Washington system — the Osteoarthritis and Therapy for Sleep, or OATS study, published Feb. 22 in JAMA Internal Medicine — the researchers found that effective treatment for insomnia can be delivered in a few short phone calls." This is such an important study that we just had to share. To read the entire article and to learn more, please link to the UW article here.


Silverado presents: Dementia Education Series

During the month of February, Silverado offered a helpful dementia education series and has made this available to us. Please see the video links below.

Topic: Dementia 101

Meeting Recording:

Access Passcode: 1fi1!!g2​

Topic: Learning the Dementia Language

Meeting Recording:

Access Passcode: uJq@ev3p

Topic: Managing Dementia-Associated Behaviors

Meeting Recording:

Access Passcode: y^c9H$mN​


HEAD (Health Education About Dementia) 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.


Move 4 A Cause

Dementia Support Northwest

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 CHW Meeting

Friday March 26, 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.


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:


VSED Resources NW

VSED Resources Northwest, founded in 2020, is a new non-profit organization that seeks to increase awareness of and access to the end-of-life option Voluntarily Stopping Eating and Drinking, or VSED. Our members used the months of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic to create an easy-to-access website at

This website is designed to assist individuals who wish to explore the option of VSED, and offers personal stories, management guidelines, and an extensive reading list. In addition, the site gives practical suggestions such as how to talk with a health care provider about VSED and how to select equipment and supplies for the VSED process. All website documents are downloadable and printable for ease of sharing with medical staff and family members.

We at VSED Resources Northwest are committed to the idea that a compassionate death is a human right, and further believe that everyone should have choice, information, and assistance regarding end-of-life options. To that end, we offer a free initial consultation, access to caregivers and death doulas experienced with VSED, referrals to complementary health practitioners, coordination with local hospices, and a lending closet of available equipment. Donations help us maintain our website, create new educational videos and literature about end-of-life care, and provide financial assistance for families who need to hire professional VSED caregivers.

We invite you to visit our website, support our mission, and help spread the word about our organization's goals and resources.

For more information about VSED:

Phone number: (360) 919-6363


Creative Offering

“In my own life, as winters turn into spring, I find it not only hard to cope with mud but also hard to credit the small harbingers of larger life to come, hard to hope until the outcome is secure. Spring teaches me to look more carefully for the green stems of possibility; for the intuitive hunch that may turn into a larger insight, for the glance or touch that may thaw a frozen relationship, for the stranger's act of kindness that makes the world seem hospitable again.”

by Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak: Listening for the Voice of Vocation


Support HMN

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

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