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November Newsletter

Dear Health Ministries Network Community,

Welcome, November, and all that it brings! While this includes shorter days, wet and windy weather and increasing time indoors, it may also bring time with family, a time of gratitude and deepening spiritual practices. At Health Ministries Network, we are keenly aware of the importance of this time of reflection, as we celebrate a Season of Gratitude and Hope.

On Saturday, November 6th at 5pm, we will kick off our first annual "Season of Gratitude and Hope," presenting a Zoom video compilation of reflections on Gratitude and Hope by our Board, partners and volunteers. This time of reflection is both a "thank you" for your participation and support as well as our time of reflection as we enter into the winter season. We hope you'll join us. However, if you miss us, we'll be posting the video on YouTube as well as video shorts on social media throughout the month of November.

November is also Indigenous Heritage Month. This is an important time not only for our Coast Salish People and other indigenous people in our area and across continents, but it is an important time--a critical time--for all of us. While indigenous peoples have stewarded this land since time immemorial, today, we must join together, share and work together to preserve the land and water that sustains all of us. This stewardship is love. And I believe that it's the love that resides at the center of our faith.

For our November meeting, we'll feature the Whatcom Asset Building Coalition (WABC). Do you wish you could find all your good resources to support the social determinants of health, from healthcare to financial safety to housing all in one location? While HMN sits on the Resource Roundtable that is developing just such a database for Whatcom County, WABC resources will be feeding into this database in the upcoming year. Please join us to learn where you can find resources--in many languages!

As a veteran, I want to wish all those who serve and have served in our US Armed Forces a Happy Veterans Day on November 11th. Today, we pause to honor your service and the sacrifices that you have made and continue to make for us. Thank you..

And finally, please see our updates on our HMN Board activity and new board members, Ask a Nurse and the BP Self-Monitoring Program. Please stay connected. Wishing you continued peace, health, and compassion in service. Take good care today!

Yours in gratitude and hope,

Sarah Lane

Executive Director


Thank you to Sonja Wingard, who hosted and welcomed the HMN Board to her farm, where she has started a new nonprofit, Unbridled Spirits, in which she hosts groups and schools and shares horse therapy and healing on this land. The Nooksack Tribe has shared with her that this land, which Coast Salish Peoples have stewarded since time immemorial, is a healing place and a passageway from Everson to the water's edge. It rests between two mountains that have served as guides through the historically treeless valley. Since she began practicing animal therapy here 22 years ago, this calm land has brought healing and a reconnection of the body and soul to thousands. HMN is grateful that she has shared this space with our HMN Board, where we filmed snippets for our Season of Gratitude and Hope.


November 6th!

A Season of Gratitude and Hope!

Two years ago, we met in person for the annual Spirit of Giving celebration. Last year, that in-person celebration could not happen due to COVID-19. We missed everyone, but even with the distance between us all, we seem to have grown closer.

We've made phone calls, written letters, had window visits and prayed with one another.

We've attended monthly meetings and faith community leader events and trainings. And we've helped older adults access vaccinations, started the Ask a Nurse program and supported partner programs. While the community has contracted in some ways, we've also expanded, reaching faith communities, nurses and health ministers well beyond our four counties.

We are grateful, and we are very hopeful. So during the month of November, we invite you join us in a Season of Gratitude and Hope with us from wherever you find yourself!

Join us on November 6th, wherever you are, and look for video shorts on Facebook and through email during the month of November! Please contact Sarah Lane for a link or with questions at


HMN November Meeting: Whatcom Asset Building Coalition & Spiritual Check in with Dick Cathell

Are you looking for resources in Whatcom County? Hygiene or housing? Financial or Food? Whatcom ABC has brought together many resources in a one-stop shop that is available to you, not only in English, but also in other languages. Join us for an overview of this great resource with Heidi Knickerbocker of the the Whatcom ABC!

We will also be spending some good time with Dick Cathell, reconnecting with our spiritual and emotional selves in this long time of pandemic. We want to know how to serve our nurses, health ministers and all volunteers better. Enjoy some time catching up! Bring a cup of tea or your lunch, and join us for a time of coming together, sharing, learning and growingby Zoom on November 19th from noon until 1:30pm.

Please contact Sarah Lane with questions or for a link at


Health Ministries Network: New Board Members!

It is with great pleasure that we introduce our two newest board members, Dick Cathell and Sunny Garza, to the HMN Board of Directors.

Do you know Dick Cathell? Our guess is that, if you've been a Faith Community Nurse or Health Minister for a while, you know Dick, Chaplain and former director of our Parish Nurses at PeaceHealth! He continues to nurture our roots. He serves anew as a spiritual advisor to our board. And he keeps our director on her toes in the best ways!

Did you know that HMN serves Whatcom, Skagit, Island and San Juan Counties? While we try to provide resources that serve our community well no matter where you are, we know how important it is to hear from those who serve in particular locations. And so we are just tickled to have Sunny Garza from Skagit County join us!

Rev. Dick Cathell, Ph.D., Whatcom County

Over the last 39 years Dick has served as a healthcare chaplain in Okinawa, Denver, Kansas City, and Bellingham, WA. He has provided professional support to patients and their families through major traumas as well as, following up with nurses and doctors with debriefing opportunities. For 5 years he was the administrator for the Health Ministries Network previously and is delighted and honored to now be back on the board of directors. He has served on multiple boards in the past, including The Association of Professional Chaplains, The Coalition of Ministries in Specialized Settings, our local Marina Advisory Committee, etc. Hobbies include racquetball, boating, and trumpet.

Sunny Garza, RN, Skagit County

“Hi all— very delighted to join the Health Ministries Network Board. I am a Registered Nurse at United General Hospital with passion for holistic care in every person I encounter. Faith Community Nursing as well as Health Ministries Network drew me in because spiritual care is truly so important for every individual! I also have interests in refugee care and community outreach as I will return to the Middle East this month to work in a medical outreach clinic in Egypt. It is so important as a collective whole to focus on the well-being of all people near and far, the little acts of nurture and kindness truly make the world of a difference for the recipients. Have a blessed holiday season, HMN!”


Health Ministries Network's office and many of our faith communities reside on the traditional lands of the Coast Salish People, to include the Nooksack Tribe and Lummi Nation. While many of our nurses are located around the PNW and may live and work on land traditionally stewarded by other Indigenous Peoples, I encourage you, wherever you are, to take a little time this month, to listen to this introduction to Coast Salish History, as presented by the Holocaust Center for Humanity.

Ways in which we love and honor one another are by listening and offering gratitude. Please join me this month in listening and offering gratitude to those who have stewarded this land since time immemorial:


This presentation will focus specifically on research studies and how to conduct a study using equitable research best practices. The presentation will be followed by a panel discussion with several SoN Investigators who are conducting community-engaged research.

This event will focus specifically on equity in research studies and will assume that participants have a basic understanding of anti-racism principles and language. For a refresher, please watch Promoting Equity in Nursing Care by Dr. Rebecca O’Connor (Center for Health Sciences Interprofessional Education Research & Practice; first register here, then access the content here).


Rebecca O'Connor

Equitable Research Panel moderated by Mayumi Willgerodt. Panelists include Jennifer Sonney, Anita Souza, Butch de Castro, and Jenna Van Drannen.


HMN Monthly Meeting - Blood Pressure and Our Partnership with the Whatcom Family YMCA and Mt. Baker Foundation

In October, our guest speaker was Tammy Bennett, Healthy Living Director for the Whatcom Family YMCA. Click here if you missed it! She shared with us LOTS of good information about blood pressure and an opportunity for Whatcom County volunteers or members of faith communities to get trained as Healthy Heart Ambassadors (HHA) and start up a BP Self-Monitoring Program with the support of the YMCA, The Mt. Baker Foundation and, of course, Health Ministries Network! Contact Sarah Lane at for more information about becoming an HHA or bringing home BP monitoring to your faith community.

BP Monitors for Faith Communities from Mt. Baker Foundation. Mt. Baker Foundation knows the connection between blood pressure, diabetes and kidney disease and wants to support our faith community nurses in Whatcom County by providing funding for BP monitors for our nurses in faith communities. Would you like to re-invigorate or initiate a BP monitoring program in your faith community? Please contact Sarah Lane if you would like to do this and need a new or expanded selection of monitors (XL and child). Sarah will work with you to order a new monitor for your faith community. Priority goes to those located in Whatcom County and our four-county area as long as funding lasts. Again, please contact Sarah Lane if you'd like more information.


Mental Health Resources Available to Faith Communities

This past week, HMN received three great resources to support mental health and build resilience in ourselves, our families and our faith communities.

The first is called "Practice the Pause." To watch an overview of this resource by Sarah Lane, please click here. If you'd like to connect with this invaluable resource in English or Spanish, please click here or contact Sarah Lane for hardcopies.

The second resource is a new app from Sanctuary Mental Health. Not familiar with Sanctuary Mental Health? Click here to learn more about what they offer.

And the third is a resource provided by one of our Faith Community Nurses, Barbara Cheyney, from St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Mt. Vernon. To link to this PDF, please click here.


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.

In 2016, CDC partnered with the American Diabetes Association, American Medical Association, and Ad Council to launch Do I Have Prediabetes, the first national prediabetes awareness campaign. The campaign’s humorous public service announcements (PSAs) encourage millions of people to find out their risk by taking a 1-minute test at DoIHavePrediabetes.orgexternal icon. The campaign website also links to sites nationwide that deliver the National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) lifestyle change program.


An Opportunity to Assist with Whatcom County Vaccination

Whatcom County Health Department has shared the following opportunities for volunteers to assist with upcoming local vaccination clinics:

Volunteers Needed for Vaccination Clinics with Medical Teams International


  • Fridays November 5, 12, 19 and December 3 at Lynden High School from 4-7pm

  • Saturdays November 13, 20 & December 4, 11th at Everson Elementary School from 10-2pm

Volunteer Needs for each date: (Spanish-speaking preferred)

  • 3 volunteers to assist with patient intake and registration

  • 3 volunteer vaccinators (MD, PA, ARNP, RN, MA-certified) for each clinic

Anyone who would like to sign up to volunteer for one of these clinics should complete an online application here: and email to be scheduled for the clinic.


COVID-19 and Vaccination Resources from HHS

The federal government is committed to ensuring children age 5 through 11 have access to COVID-19 vaccines if authorized by the FDA and recommended by CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). (The ACIP’s next meeting Nov. 2-3).

Any COVID-19 vaccine for children age 5 through 11 is subject to the very same multi-step testing and approval process as all other vaccines─ including those routinely recommended for childhood vaccination.

CDC has now issued booster recommendations for all three COVID-19 vaccines. Booster eligibility criteria are based on which vaccine you received initially.

CDC updated their vaccination pages for Moderna, Pfizer-BioNTech, and Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen COVID-19 vaccine to reflect the full list of ingredients in the vaccines.

CDC updated the list of underlying medical conditions associated with higher risk for severe COVID-19 to include Substance Use Disorders (SUDs), and mental health disorders. See recommendations for action here.


From Alzheimer's Association and UW


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:


FCNs, Dennis Taylor and Barbara Cheyney from St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Mt. Vernon, sitting with the Día de los Muertos altar, which is a combined dedication between two faith communities who share this space, St. Paul's and Iglesia Episcopal de la Resureccion in Mt. Vernon.


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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