• Health Ministries Network

September 2019 Newsletter

Director's Note, Interview with Bellingham Covenant Wellness Ministry, Did you know?, Upcoming Events, Devotional, and Prayer list.

Dear HMN community,

I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of you over the last year, and look forward to building more connections going forward in my second year as director of HMN. I feel grateful to work with a fantastic and caring board; Sampson, our talented and steadfast communications coordinator; members of the community who care about the health of their neighbors; and the inspiring, joyful and devoted faith community nurses and health ministers who share God’s love each day. Thank you for a great first year.

Looking ahead, we have an exciting Fall Kick Off on Friday, September 20 at the Whatcom Center for Philanthropy. We’ll allow ample time for connections and networking, followed by a roundtable and small group discussion on successes and challenges within your health ministries. We’ll be joined by Heather Flaherty, Executive Director of Chuckanut Health Foundation; Kevin Park, Director of Mission, and Rachel Lucy, Director of Community Health, for PeaceHealth in the NW Network. Each of these folks started their current role this year, so this will be an excellent opportunity to get to know you and your work. See you there!

Just a friendly reminder that we’ll be using hours submissions to determine the 2019 Angel awards, to be celebrated at the Spirit of Giving on Saturday, October 19. If you haven’t already, get up to date with your hours submission here: https://www.healthministriesnetwork.net/hours

And finally, I hope you'll scroll through this month's newsletter -- it is full of resources including a Dementia Ministry Toolkit, local programming for seniors and Hepatitis info!

Walk in love,


Executive Director



From left to right:

Katie Meeks, FCN

Dotty Marston, HM

Debbie Johnson, FCN

Kathy Sellereit, HM

Diane Hawkins, FCN (not present)

Bellingham Covenant Church

What kind of things do you do in your health ministry here?

Kathy: Our main focus continues to be the monthly blood pressure / ask-the-nurse clinic. We wanted to expand beyond just blood pressure, so as to encourage anyone at any age to feel free to speak with a nurse about a medical or personal issue. Other things that we have done are:

  • Educational programs - nutrition and exercise

  • Annual blood drive

  • Advance Directives

  • A six Sunday series on caregiving

  • A monthly caregiver support group for anyone who is caring for a loved one with dementia

Three of your team members just graduated from the Foundations Course. How has their joining shifted things?

Kathy: We have new energy and focus. It's nice that we already had a base, so we’re not starting at square one. The ministry began in 2012 and initially we did a lot, but circumstances and commitments changed for team members. I was thrilled when Debbie, Katie and Diane decided to take the Foundations Course to become FCNs.

For those of you who just finished the foundations course, how it did prepare you for doing health ministry? Was it valuable?

Katie: I think it was. I just moved here almost exactly one year ago from North Carolina. I wanted to do health ministry there, but it was not established. I had already been thinking about some things that I wanted to do, like putting up a bulletin board with different health topics and maybe sharing some of the hospital visits with our pastor. We did meal trains for people who were getting home from the hospital or having babies. The foundations course gave context and broadened my idea of what health ministry is.

What’s upcoming for your health ministry?

Dotty: Katie is going to work on first aid kits. A mental health class has been approved. We have an official church “Blessing’’ on the calendar, we’re making business cards, and we’ll be doing more home visits.

Kathy: We are doing some tentative planning for the upcoming year. One idea would be to offer a 1-hour class on a specific health topic each quarter. It’s important to know the make-up of your congregation and what the needs are. This requires observing and talking to the pastoral staff and congregants. It’s also helpful to know what resources are in the congregation, i.e. counselors, P.T./O.T.’s, Dietitians, etc., whose expertise we can draw on.

Katie: I did labor and delivery, so my thoughts are geared toward young families.

Kathy: I thought that if Katie was able to connect with a new mom, they might be able to ask questions about postpartum or what to expect. Diane would like to focus on end-of-life and senior-issues and be part of a visitation ministry.

Debbie: So much of our focus has been on the aging faith community members and now we have had a real influx of young families, which is great. I just met with the youth director and director of children's ministry. They're saying that we need re-branding. We're discussing getting a brochure together as well as business cards. So, we’re working on visibility and awareness. The other thing we talked about was putting together a binder and webpage of resources available in the community. They also talked about using a Bellingham covenant email address instead of our personal ones. That way families might be more inclined to contact us with questions, and we’d all be able to respond at one address.

Kathy: We are in the process of searching for a new senior pastor. Dotty and I had the opportunity to meet with several members of the search committee to convey our thoughts on how important this ministry is in the life of our congregation, and that it could be an asset to a senior pastor.

Have you had a pastor who's been supportive of the program in the past?

Kathy: Yes, from the very beginning. The challenge for any wellness ministry is to create a vision within the congregation, and that takes time, visibility and patience in prayer. For this ministry to grow and flourish, you need the support of a pastoral staff who sees the value in it.

What challenges are there with your health ministry?

Kathy: All of the team members would love to have a designated space for the wellness ministry. We adapt office space for the monthly BP/Ask-the-Nurse Clinic, but it’s not as private as we would like it to be.

Dotty: We were talking about space to store resources. Then we could just go and grab them as opposed to having to bringing them with us every time.

Katie: It's difficult to put things into full action at this point because we don't know what things are going to look like when we have a new pastor.

Kathy: We need to talk with staff about having a line item in the annual budget. We haven’t asked for it in the past, but we would like to have money available to purchase resources that could enhance the ministry.

Dotty: We squeaked a little bit and they did buy an AED for the church.

Why do you want to do all of this? What's the point?

Debbie: Well, I can't not. This is a calling. Not doing so would be like not breathing. For many of us that continue on, whether we're at work or doing it on a volunteer basis, it’s part of our make-up. It's the gifting that we have.

Katie: Once you become a part of a church and you get to know people and you start to love people, it's just a natural thing to want to provide care. For the compassionate, empathetic person, it's hard to be a part of somebody’s life and not want to help. We just happen to be qualified.

Debbie: At a level of care where we have the resources to refer them to.

Dotty: And the trust factor is already there. We've been in many of their homes. We can often see how the family functions.

Debbie: I think that's the beauty of the faith community nursing. You have the relationships and the trust. Sometimes you know more than you would in a clinical setting.

Does anyone want to share a story of health ministry making an impact?

Dotty: I do weekly home visits to a couple in their late 80’s and early 90’s. My main goal is to help the wife continue her conversational speech therapy and improve her daily living activities. On a recent visit she told me she felt “lazy,” so we've been trying to find things that she likes to do. I went to Hobby Lobby and found these (felt "faith" signs for coloring, pictured below). She caught on and does several a week. It’s really helpful because I can use them as packable gifts on our mission trips.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with the network?

Kathy: You don't know how a ministry is going to grow and develop. It's organic, it depends on what you feel called to do, what your church makeup is, and what the perceived needs and wants are. A few things that we tried just didn’t fly. It’s important to be gentle with yourself and seek God's leading.

Debbie: You have to see what the congregation responds to and be aware that what they respond to in January might be totally different than what they respond to in February.

Kathy: I love being a part of the broader network and appreciate the monthly Health Ministries Network meetings on the third Friday of the month. It’s great hearing from other faith community nurses and health ministers about what they are doing in their faith community and what has been successful.

Interviewed by Sampson Alvarado on August 13, 2019.

Did You Know?

The Health Ministries Network website is full of health ministry resources.

View a list of active faith community nurses and health ministers on our congregations and volunteers page, including a downloadable pdf of our directory.

Dementia Ministry Toolkit Now Available

Due West United Methodist Churcn in Marietta, GA developed a congregational dementia ministry toolkit that is available online. It includes resources for congregations who want to further support people living with Dementia and their caregivers. It includes advice on support groups, home visit dos and don’ts, draft language for church bulletins, and much more. Check it out!


Live Well, Live Today - Chronic Disease Self-Management (CDSM)

The YMCA is very excited to announce it will be hosting "Live Well, Live Today," Chronic Disease Self-Management (CDSM), in partnership with The Whatcom Council on Aging, the Bellingham Senior Activity Center and the NW Regional Council. Classes will be held from 11:30am - 2pm on Thursdays, 19 September - 24 October 2019 in the Fourth Floor Conference Room at the Bellingham YMCA. Participants can register at the Bellingham Senior Activity Center.

Community Health Worker (CHW) Network invites FCNs and HMs

The Community Health Worker(CHW) Network is continuing despite WAHA's closure. The Whatcom Family and Community Network will soon be new fiscal sponsor. All FCNs and HMs are absolutely invited to participate in the Network! Meetings are on the 4th Friday of the month, 9-11am. The location changes, with a different organization hosting each month. Contact Megan.Stephenson@ucnw.org for details.

Hepatitis A Informational Fliers

With some recent outbreaks of hepatitis A in Washington, the Whatcom County Health Department wanted to share some information that is helpful for those who don’t have access to sanitation, restrooms, and handwashing facilities. The following fliers contain information on how to prevent the disease, which includes access to vaccinations here in Whatcom County.

Hepatitis A Health Warning

Cleaning to Kill Hepatitis A

Parent-Child Assistance Program

The Parent-Child Assistance Program (PCAP) serves pregnant and parenting mothers and their children for 3 years of case management services. We have the capacity to serve many more mothers and think you can help these families connect with much needed support and service. Here’s how, just call Brigid Collins with their name and phone number and we’ll do the rest! (360) 734-4616 in Whatcom County or (360) 428-6622 in Skagit County. To learn more about the PCAP program and it's evidence, click here.

HB 1175 Effective July 28, 2019 - Advance Directives

HB 1175:

  1. Allows a notary to finalize a health care directive (commonly known as a living will). Please note: two witnesses can still finalize the health care directive.

  2. Includes extended family members and close friends in the hierarchy of decision-makers.

View the updated advance directive, and decision-making hierarchy, at www.honoringchoicespnw.org/1175law.

Additional resources:

Changes to the updated Advance Directive

HB 1175 FAQs

Upcoming Events

Realities of Advanced Medical Interventions

Wednesday, September 4, 6 - 7:30pm

St. Luke's Health Education Center, 3333 Squalicum Parkway, Bellingham

Rebecca Rech Cutler, BSN, RN, CRRN, CHPN, will present in frank terms the meanings of advanced medical interventions, and what their outcomes could mean for patients in the short and long term. Advanced care planning, advance directives, and the importance of palliative care are discussed. Interactive, Q&A. Rebecca has experience as Whatcom Hospice & Home Health nurse.

Realities of Advanced Medical Interventions

Tuesday, September 10, 6:30 - 8pm - United Church of Ferndale, 2034 Washington Street

Wednesday, September 11, 2 - 3:30pm - The Willows, 3115 Squalicum Parkway, Bellingham

Thursday, September 12, 9:30 - 11am - Anacortes Senior Activity Center, 1701 22nd Street

William Lombard, MD, long-time Whatcom County nephrologist, will present in layperson's terms the meanings of advanced medical interventions, and what their outcomes could mean for patients in the short & long term. This is an interactive session that includes Q&A. The importance of advance directives, palliative care, and the POLST are discussed. INFO: Micki Jackson, (360) 201-7840.

Lynden Faith Community Nurse Meeting

Thursday, September 12, 7 - 9pm

Location: TBD Contact: Bev Sterk, (360) 220-0813, darylsterk@msn.com. Hope to see you there.

At the End of Life: Agency, Role and Responsibilities of the Physician/Advanced Practitioner Friday, September 13 - Saturday, September 14 University of Washington Physicians and advanced practitioners have the privilege and duty to care for patients at the end of life. Sometimes their actions factor into a patient’s death. These cases have clinical, legal, ethical, sociocultural, spiritual, and psychological dimensions that are often challenging for physicians and advanced practitioners to navigate. At this conference, we'll set the stage for ongoing discussion of these practices and the issues physicians and advanced practitioners caring for dying patients often face. Click here for course details and to register.

Make your Wishes Known: The Realities of Medical Interventions

Saturday, September 14, 11am - 1pm First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham The Program is sponsored by the FCCB Called to Care Team. Program includes lunch and handouts for completion of advanced directive and power of attorney for healthcare and POLST. RSVP to the church office 360-734-720 or email office@fccb.net. Click here for a printable flier.

Advance Directive Workshop

Tuesday, September 17, 6:30 - 8pm United Church of Ferndale, 2034 Washington Street Tessa Whitlock, a certified Advance Care Planning facilitator, will lead this workshop. She guides participants through completion of an Advance Directive that is consistent with their healthcare goals, values, and beliefs. This interactive workshop is for all adults age 18 and older. FREE notary service is offered for those who complete their Advance Directive. Info: Celeste Hilde 360 303 2042.

Health Ministries Network: Fall Kickoff!

Friday, September 20, 11am - 1pm Whatcom Center for Philanthropy, 1500 Cornwall Ave Suite 200, Bellingham, WA

Please join us for a for our Fall kickoff meeting, which will include a round table discussion with: Heather Flaherty, Executive Director of Chuckanut Health Foundation; Kevin Park, Director of Mission for PeaceHealth in the NW Network and Rachel Lucy, Director of Community Health for PeaceHealth in the NW Network Light lunch provided. Free and open to the public. Parking Info: Please use spots marked “guest” or “WCP.” There is street parking as well.

Honoring Choices: Who will speak FOR you, if you can’t speak for yourself?

Saturday, September 21, 11am – 1pm First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham The Program is sponsored by the FCCB Called to Care Team. Program includes lunch and handouts for completion of advanced directive and power of attorney for healthcare and POLST. RSVP to the church office 360-734-720 or email office@fccb.net. Click here for a printable flier.

Advance Directive Workshop

Sunday, September 22, 2 - 3:30pm The Willows, 3115 Squalicum Parkway, Bellingham Tessa Whitlock, certified Advance Care Planning facilitator, leads this workshop. She guides participants through completion of an Advance Directive that is consistent with their healthcare goals, values, and beliefs. This interactive workshop is for all adults age 18 and older. FREE notary service for completed Advance Directives. Info: Micki Jackson 360 201 7840 or micki98226@aol.com.

Aging Well Whatcom

Friday, September 27, 8 – 11am Northwood Hall, 3240 Northwest Ave, Bellingham Join us for breakfast and a community conversation. 8am doors, 8:30 - 11am. RSVP at (360) 671-3349 or agingwell@chuckanuthealthfoundation.com. Some communities are better to grow old in than others. Please be a part of the first Aging Well Whatcom Summit and help make Whatcom a more age friendly community. Join us as we share the first iteration of our blueprint for aging well and what we have learned about how to best support our elders and create an optimal environment for aging well.

Whatcom Community Health Worker Network meeting

Friday, September 27, 9 - 11am Roosevelt Resource Center, 2303 Moore St, Bellingham Community Health Workers of all industries (health, social service, community service, mental health) are welcome to network, learn, and share resources. September meeting at Roosevelt Resource Center, 2303 Moore St, Bellingham. Monthly meeting location rotates around CHW workplaces. Email whatcomchwnetwork@gmail.com to be added to the listserv. Join us!

HMN: Spirit of Giving: Annual Recognition Lunch

Saturday, October 19, 11am – 1pm First Congregational Church, 2401 Cornwall Ave, Bellingham Please join us as we recognize faith community nurses and health ministers for their outstanding service, honor a Clergy Champion, celebrate our generous community and raise funds for Health Ministries Network. Reserve your spot today! sampson@healthministriesnetwork.net or 360-788-6408. Click here for event details.

Upcoming Events allows anyone to share relevant events with the network. Add an event to the HMN calendar at www.healthministriesnetwork.net/calendar


Courtesy of Rev. Dr. Cindy Bauleke, Health Ministries Network Board of Directors Spiritual Adviser

I’ve always loved the story of Jesus commanding the winds and water in the midst of the storm. He had been sleeping in a boat, when his disciples, fearful for their lives, wake him, desperate for help, and he calms the storm. The church is often compared to that boat rocking on the sea. We too go through storms and get fearful. As I write this there are literal storms as Hurricane Dorian is threatening the Bahamas and parts of the South East of the United States. There have been two more mass shootings in the last two days. People are anxious about their safety, tariffs, the economy, the fate of the earth, as well as so many personal concerns. Often, these anxieties mount and actually impact health. Yes, the storms rage in our times, too.

The thing about being in this boat is we are not alone. Our communities of faith are made up of a wonderful diversity of people, with so many gifts. In community none of us need face the storm alone. As a faith community nurse or health minister, you may be the one that others turn to when they are in the midst of the storm. You have compassion and wonderful skills to help these people. Yet as part of a community, you are not alone in your call to ministry. There are people in your community who pray for you and your ministry. And while much of what you do is confidential, regular meetings with your rabbi, pastor, priest, or other, Health Ministries Network can be a safe place to process the challenges of this ministry. None of us should be doing this alone, the toll is too high.

Even if you are not the personal relationship kind of believer, in the midst of the storm you may look for help the same place the disciples did. However, you relate to God, Spirit, Jesus, or what ever name you prefer, and this can bring courage and peace in the midst of the storm. Others may well look to you for this peace. I know how easy it is in the midst of ministry to neglect spiritual self-care. This isn’t good for me or for you. Whether you find peace in sacred readings, community, or creation I encourage you to schedule this on your calendar, as if you had an appointment with yourself and find the support you need from others. When the storms come you may be rocked, but you will be ready.

Rev. Dr. Cindy Bauleke

Spiritual Adviser

Health Ministries Network Board of Directors

NEW: Prayer List

Pam Colyar’s dad, Joe, for healing and comfort as he approaches his 89th birthday.

Pam Colyar's nephew just diagnosed with stage 3 or 4 colon cancer.

Maureen Terich, FCN of Sacred Heart Catholic, La Conner has cancer and asks for your prayers.

The prayer list allows anyone to share needs with the network. Interested in adding your own? Please be sure you have the permission of the recipient and send your requests to sampson@healthministriesnetwork.net.

Health Ministries Network (HMN) is a non-profit in Bellingham, WA affiliated with the Chuckanut Health Foundation.

HMN logo full size.png

800 E. Chestnut St., Ste 1A

Bellingham, WA 98225



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