The Dove | September 2018
A publication of the Holy Cross Faith Community Nurse Program, serving faith community nurses, health ministers, clergy, and partners in faith and health.
Dear Faith Community Partner,
With a heart full of gratitude for all that you do to minister to others in such diverse ways and with prayers that the blessings continue to overflow, I share the following meditation with you:
A congregation is
People who grow together in faith,
Work together in hope,
Worship together in love,
Bear one another's sorrow,
Forgive one another's faults,
Share one another's joy,
Need one another,
Love one another,
Support one another,
Look for God in one another,
See God in everyone,
Live as individuals,
Are separate…. Yet one, and
Are joined by God's presence
Living in each other!

-Ernst H. Nussmann

I am encouraged by this reminder that all of us in our network are separate, yet one, and joined by God's presence. As we continue to unfold and reflect upon the 25-year story of the Holy Cross Faith Community Nurse Program, know that we are holding each of you in our hearts and prayers. My prayer this season is that we may continue working together in hope and growing together in faith to transform not only those who are served, but also those who serve.

Autumn blessings,

Emeline Mugisha, Director
Holy Cross Faith Community Nurse Program
Join Us for Our 25th Anniversary Celebration!
Registration for our 25th anniversary celebration (Friday, October 26 at 5 p.m.) is underway and we cannot wait to see you there. Since this is our milestone event for the year, we hope to have a full house of both old and new friends with a shared interest in the integration of faith and health in our communities. To do this, we need your help. Please continue spreading the word by inviting your faith leaders and health ministry team members to this event. Please also ensure their registration by either forwarding this email invitation to them or adding them to your registration as guest at the bottom of the registration page. You may register up to two guests from your faith community.
Partner Spotlight: Ruth Manchester, Saint Luke Lutheran Church
Hunger Ministry Offers Classes on Nutrition to Foster Healthy Eating
Helping families who need food assistance has been a longtime ministry at Saint Luke Lutheran Church, Silver Spring, Md., where Ruth Manchester has served as a faith community nurse since 2001. The church has a food pantry that is kept stocked through generous donations of food—as well as a steady stream of contributions to buy food—and staffed by volunteers of all ages. Understanding that healthy eating—not just food alone—would benefit families the most, Ruth utilized a grant from the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) to offer nutrition classes to Spanish-speaking parents who come to the pantry. Ruth held the sessions during Bible School so that parents could join their children on a bus that was provided to bring the children from the Langley Park, Md., area to the church. Fourteen adults attended the classes, which were taught by a University of Maryland extension agent. Instruction focused on how to cook nutritious, low-cost meals, particularly using the items in the food bags provided by the pantry. As an added incentive, participants received grocery store gift cards (including a bonus gift card if they had perfect attendance) funded by the ELCA grant. Ruth plans to offer another class for English-speaking parents in the fall.

In addition to playing a very active role in the beginning years of the Holy Cross Faith Community Nurse Program as a member of the initial Parish Nurse Task Force, Ruth Manchester served as a faith community nurse coordinator during the program's growth years.
Our 25th Anniversary: Remembering the Growth Years

By the time the Holy Cross Faith Community Nurse (FCN) Program had reached the end of its first decade, it was clear that the program had been embraced by the area's faith communities and was on solid ground. Following founding manager Jeanne Nist's retirement in 2002, Carmella Jones became the second manager, and later the program's director. During the next 14 years under her leadership, the program would continue to steadily expand, both in the number of faith community partners and in its breadth of services. To train the growing number of nurses interested in earning a faith community nursing certificate, Carmella initiated an on-site Foundations of Faith Community Nursing course and years later, a hybrid course with on-site and online learning. Supporting Carmella during the growth years were three FCN coordinators: Ruth Manchester, Sue Roach and Elizabeth "Liz" O'Connor. Sue was tasked with establishing a Theological Reflections group to offer faith community nurses ongoing spiritual support, which met an important foundational priority both then and now. Upon Ruth's retirement, Liz took over the weekly email initiative that Ruth created to provide resources to FCNs and health ministers and also worked to expand and formalize the program's spirituality and health library.

In 2016, the program underwent a transition in its organizational structure at Holy Cross Health, moving from Mission Services to Community Health, and prepared to welcome new leadership.

Sr. Rachel Callahan, who supervised the FCNP as chief mission officer during the growth years, attributes the strength and vibrancy of the program during this time to the leadership of Carmella Jones (pictured at right). "Carmella worked tirelessly to grow the network and forge the personal relationships necessary for that growth," remembers Sr. Rachel. "She is truly a caring woman of faith, and we all are so grateful to her for her contributions to this program."
Reflection: Biblical Wisdom for Health
Carmelle T. Norice-Tra, MD, PhD, Faith Community Health Volunteer
Bethel World Outreach Church
A few years ago, the health ministry at my church conducted a survey to identify the health needs and interests of our congregation. The most popular topic of interest, by far, was “What the Bible Says About Health and Diet." As we began to apply Biblical principles to health education in our ministry, the critical need for that application became all the more clear.

Something happens when scriptures about health and diet are elucidated. People seem to experience an "aha" moment that inspires and motivates them to properly sustain their bodies as an act of faith. Fitness activities and health seminars, which previously seemed irrelevant at church, become a means of full devotion to God’s purpose.

When I encourage a plant-based diet, for example, I like to use Genesis 2:9 (NKJV), “And out of the ground the Lord God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food .” I explain that God engineered vegetables and fruits to contain powerful phytonutrients, antioxidants, vitamins, etc., as necessary fuel for the complex biochemical reactions critical for health, healing and vitality. What God says is good is indeed good!

As faith community nurses and health ministers, it is important that we share the wealth of wisdom pertaining to health in the Bible. The unique combination of our professional training and spiritual discipleship enable us to minister in this capacity like no other.
Learning Opportunities
Tuesday, October 9
9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
55+ Transportation Expo
Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center, 1000 Forest Glen Rd., Silver Spring, MD
Hosted by Montgomery County

Thursday, October 11
10:30 to 11:30 a.m.
Caregiver College: Effective Communication Strategies
3680 S. Leisure World Blvd., Silver Spring, MD
Hosted by Inter-Faith Chapel at Leisure World and Arden Courts Memory Care

Friday, October 12
8 a.m. to 4:45 p.m.
Narratives of Healing: Presence with Others' Stories and Our Own — $100*
The Universities at Shady Grove Conference Center, 9630 Gudelsky Dr., Rockville, MD
Hosted by Montgomery Hospice
* Discount available for FCNs and faith community leaders. Click here for more details
Thursday, October 11
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Kick Off Breast Cancer Awareness Month
8401 Corporate Drive, St. 100, Landover, MD
Hosted by Hope Connections for Cancer Support

Saturday, October 20
8:30 to 10:30 a.m.
Race to Empower Montgomery County 5K/1K
751 Twinbrook Parkway, Rockville, MD
Hosted by Interfaith Works

Monday, October 22
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Montgomery County Villages 3rd Annual Gathering
Bohrer Park Activity Center, 506 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg, MD
Hosted by Montgomery County Aging and Disability Services
Additional Resources
Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays (various times)
Adult Children Caring for Aging Parents Support Group
Holy Cross Resource Center, 9805 Dameron Dr., Silver Spring, MD

Wednesday, Thursdays and Fridays (various times)
Caregivers of Ill or Aging Spouses Support Group
Holy Cross Resource Center, 9805 Dameron Dr., Silver Spring, MD

Friday, October 5
7 to 9:30 p.m., every Friday through November 9
Diabetes Self-Management Workshop (Spanish)
St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic Church, 7501 Adelphi Rd., Hyattsville, MD
Hosted by Holy Cross Health

Wednesday, October 24
6 to 7:30 p.m., every Wednesday through December 19
Grief Support Group (Eight-week session)
Holy Cross Resource Center, 9805 Dameron Dr., Silver Spring, MD
National Health Observances
Click the link below to view toolkit:

We Want to Hear From You
We are interested in hearing from you! Please feel free to share:

  • Feedback on this issue and future issues
  • Suggestions for health ministry stories, resources and inspiration
  • Learning opportunities or events sponsored by your health ministry

The Dove is published the last week of each month and features calendar events for the following month. For our October issue, please send events/classes that occur in November no later than October 15 to .
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Daria Berman, FCN Coordinator -
Betty Baklarz, FCN Coordinator -
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