• Health Ministries Network

May 2019 Newsletter

May 1, 2019. Director's Note, Interview with Lummi Island Congregational Church FCNs and HMs, Did you know?, Upcoming Events, and Devotional.

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

Dear HMN community,

On Sunday, May 5, 10 new talented and passionate faith community nurses will graduate from HMN’s 2019 Foundations Course. They will serve in Whatcom, King, and Chelan counties across seven congregations and communities, with a keen focus on spirituality, professionalism, holistic health and community. This annual course would not be possible without generous funding from the Chuckanut Health Foundation, the Jean Billings Tischler Fund, and PeaceHealth. We are grateful for their support of this model of community-based caring.

Please note that we will not hold a monthly meeting in May because many folks will be attending WWU’s Palliative Care Conference on May 17. Next month, we’ll hear about YMCA programs for chronic illnesses and health (June 21), and then we will take a break from our monthly meetings for the months of July and August, returning in September with a Fall Kick Off.

Blessings to each of you,


Executive Director



Lummi Island Congregational Church faith community nurses and health ministers.

Elaine Granger, HM (left)

Jane Phillips, FCN (back left)

Dorothy Hanson, HM (front middle)

Lisa Wochos, HM (back middle)

Joan Moye, HM (front right)

Ingrid McGarry HM (back right)

Noelle Maher, FCN (not present)

Rev. Jamie Kepros (not pictured)

Lummi Island Congregational Church

How long has Lummi Island Congregational Church had a health ministry program?

Elaine: Since about 1996; that was when we started talking about it.

Who is involved with the health ministry team currently?

Ingrid: All of us. Elaine is kind of emeritus, and then there’s Noelle Maher as well.

How does the congregational church organize its health ministry team?

Ingrid: Well, Jane is in charge but we all sort of have different roles.

Lummi Island Congregational Church Sign

What kinds of things do you all do in your health ministry?

Jane: Today’s lunch group is called Elderberries, which is a weekly meetup for older folks on the island that was started by FCNs. We also do home visits and arrange transportation. We provide rides to medical appointments for those in need, and we pay the ferry fares for car, driver, and passenger to encourage our volunteer drivers to continue this valuable service. Lisa takes the elderly folks down to the ferry office once a month so they can buy their ferry passes.

Lisa: It’s kind of a social event, actually, and we all go to Lori's for tea afterwards.

Joan: We have a lot of donated mobility equipment that we lend to folks as needed. We keep all of it organized in a converted railroad container. We have wheelchairs and transport chairs and bedside commodes and knee trolleys and shower chairs and crutches and hospital beds and lots of other stuff, too.

Dorothy: There’s an oxygen machine as well.

Lisa: It’s a really big service for us; the most used service, really.

Jane: In the container we also keep $35 Fred Meyer gift cards, which we’ll give out to people who need to buy some groceries or whatever. We also have an account at the island store for urgent food needs. There are two homeless people that pretty much everyone knows on Lummi Island. During the big snow storm we put some money on our account under their names just so they could get some hot food. We’re not the only organization on the island that does these types of things though, there’s also the Lummi Island Community Association and Meals on Wheels.

Lummi Island Congregational Church faith community nurses and health ministers

Dorothy: Some of us participate in prayer shawl ministry. We knit shawls for folks who have experienced a loss, for newborn babies, for the dying, anyone who needs comfort.

Elaine: When my mother-in-law died, Ingrid and Lisa came and sang and played guitar, and that was really lovely.

Jamie: As the pastor at Lummi Island Congregational, one gift this group has given me is rarely having to have to arrange for pastoral backup. If I need to be gone, I pretty much know there will be someone there to support anyone who might need help.

Lisa: We once financed a generator for someone who uses an oxygen machine. It’s not uncommon for us to lose power on the island so we wanted to make sure there wasn’t a lapse in oxygen for them.

Jane: In most of what I do here, I function as a support person. We recently lost a Lummi Islander who wanted to stay in their home. I offered some support, and together with the caregiver, we were able to keep this person at home.

Elaine: One of this group’s primary functions is to get people the care they need to be able to stay on the island until death.

Lisa: Yes, that’s a huge service that we do. Most people just want to be able to stay in their own home.

Jane: Just knowing there’s someone to call that won’t generate a record or a bill can make people feel more at ease.

Lummi Island Congregational Church faith community nurses and health ministers.

How do people find out about these services? How do you find out about needs?

Lisa: We sometimes publicize the equipment in the community newsletter so people can find out about it that way, but there’s also a lot of word-of-mouth sharing.

Jane: The Mermaids, for one.

The group laughs.

Elaine: The Mermaids are a somewhat secret social group on the island. There’s a limited number of members, so someone has to die for you to get in. They’re a weight loss group.

Dorothy: It started in 1966.

Ingrid: They’re a weight loss group that gets together to eat.

The group laughs.