December 8, 2020

Welcome to Faith Community Nurse Quarterly, a newsletter with updates on resources, programs and events to help strengthen your practice in your faith community.
Meeting Recaps
By: Sue Cox BSN, RN- BC
Faith Community Nurse Network Manager
Advocate Health Care

December 2 Meeting

Our end-of-the-year Holiday gathering was missing the usual delicious meal and raucous book exchange of past years, but this gathering had its own special flare.

Shonie led us in a time of centering, using elements of the Enneagram personality system, highlighting the unique gifts we all bring to the world around us. We were able to honor and celebrate those in our group who will be leaving their Faith Community Nurse positions: Marjorie Mayfield, Deb Stankiewicz, and Sheila Cusack. We have been blessed by their presence, their many gifts, and the creative and loving ways they have served their congregations.

And we welcomed new Faith Community Nurses Jean Larson and Nancy Beck into the group!

In lieu of the usual book exchange, participants brought “one minute book reviews" to share. The compilation of all those recommended reads is a fantastic list, which you can see below. Shonie wrapped up the meeting with her beautiful singing voice, bringing a few tears alongside a reminder of the wonderful support in our FCN network group.

Our next meeting will be CPR training on January 27th.  
October 14 Meeting

Sara Skinner, Psy.D., licensed Clinical Psychologist with Advocate's Childhood Trauma Treatment Program (CTTP), shared the extensive resources and programs available for children and families. 
The CTTP has three main areas of focus: 
1) Provide specialized and empirically evidenced-based clinical treatment for children, adolescents and families who have experienced trauma. 
2) Train graduate students in the area of trauma-focused clinical work. 
3) Address prevention by increasing knowledge within the community about childhood trauma, offering guidance of how appropriately to react if abuse is suspected. 
Sara will return to our network group in 2021 and provide training for the Stewards of Children workshop.
August 26 Meeting

Jamie Aten, Executive Director of the Humanitarian Disaster Institute, addressed safety and security issues for our houses of worship. Jamie shared that faith communities are not necessarily good at assessing their risk. For example, most think that active-shooter situations are highest on the list of possible disasters, but floods are at the top of public health threats to most congregations nationwide. 
In his work, Jamie encourages congregations to:
1) Think about their roles in the community. What is the congregation's gift and how can that be strengthened to be an asset for the community during a crisis? 
2) Get buy-in from the congregation in terms of disaster preparedness. Make sure everyone is on board with the effort to create a plan and communicate that plan clearly. 
3) Enhance neighborhood relations. Get to know local resources, other congregations and businesses nearby. Strengthen relationships at every opportunity. 
4) Make adaptability a goal for the congregation.

See Jamie's highly recommended resources from FEMA as well as the Humanitarian Disaster Institute. Click here to see some of the resources Jamie has written.
New From the Humanitarian Disaster Institute

The Humanitarian Disaster Institute is offering a new online Spiritual First Aid training and certificate course, designed to help you offer virtual peer-to-peer spiritual and emotional support during COVID-19 and other disasters.

It draws on 15 years of research and is designed for lay leaders, church leaders, first responders, and anyone who would like to provide support to those who are struggling during the pandemic.
Recommended Reads From Your
Faith Community Nurse Colleagues
News of the World, by Paulette Jiles
(Pat S.)

Incarnation: Rediscovering the Significance of Christmas, by Adam Hamilton (Pat S.)

Broken Mary: A Journey of Hope, by Kevin Matthews (Diane T.)

The Greatest Generation, by Tom Brokaw (Kathie B.)

Untamed, by Glennon Doyle (Sheila C.)

The First Free Women: Poems of the Early Buddhist Nuns, by Matty Weingast
(Sheila C.)

The Art of Communicating, by Thich Nhat Hanh (Ganiat S.)

Finding Your God Given Sweet Spot: 7 Steps to a Purpose Filled Life, by Pam & Tom Wolf (Shonie P.)

Still Life, by Louise Penny (Deb S.)

Cormoran Strike series, by Robert Galbraith AKA J.K. Rowling (Deb S.)

American Dirt, by Jeanine Cummins
(Jean L.)

Maisie Dobbs series, by Jacqueline Winspear (Sheila C.)

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders & the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann (Marcia S.)

The Great Influenza, by John Barry
(Dawn D.)

Praying Our Goodbyes, by Joyce Rupp (Dawn D.)

Barking to the Choir: The Power of Radical Kinship, by Greg Boyle
(Kirsten P.)

The Dutch House, by Ann Patchett (Kirsten P. & Julie R.)
As Bright As Heaven, by Susan Meissner (Julie R.)

The Litigators, by John Grisham (Kim R.)

Have a Little Faith, by Mitch Albom
(Kim R.)

We Must Be Brave, by Frances Liardet (Margie M.)

The Other Half of Church: Christian Community, Brain Science, and Overcoming Spiritual Stagnation, by Jim Wilder & Michel Hendricks (Margie M.)

Enjoy Every Minute: And Other Ridiculous Things We Say To Moms, by Becky Baudouin (Margie M.)

Coming Home, by Rosamunde Pilcher (Ann G.)

The Shell Seekers, by Rosamunde Pilcher (Ann G.)

September, by Rosamunde Pilcher
(Ann G.)

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice & Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson
(Nancy R.)

Gentle Rebel: The Life & Work of Granger Westberg Pioneer In Whole Person Care, by Jane Westberg & Jill Westberg McNamara (Nancy R.)

The Mystery of the Walking Pumpkin, by Nancy Romancheck (Nancy R.)

The Light Between Oceans, by M.L. Stedman (Nancy R.)

One Mindful Day at a Time: 365 Meditations on Living in the Now, by Alan Wolfelt (Kathy O.)

Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande (Sue C.)
Faith Community Nurse Provides 'Great Gift'
Pat Shapiro, Faith Community Nurse with Advocate Aurora Health, recently received this "Kudos" from one of her colleagues:

I am incredibly grateful to Pat, my parish nurse, who reached out to me upon hearing of my father's placement in hospice. 

I had a question about the safety of seeing him as he was housed on a unit with known COVID-19 patients - this created turmoil for me as I wanted to be with my father, but certainly didn't want to become infected (dad did not have covid).  

When I described the scene and PPE used, Pat assured me that I would be safe to go.  With her reassurance, I was able to be with my dad as he passed yesterday.  This was a great gift to me, knowing that he did not die alone. I will be always grateful for Pat's support.  

Thank you, Pat - and all Faith Community Nurses - for the great gifts you bring as you minister within your congregation and community.
Faith Community Nurse Recognized For Her Service
Faith Community Nurse Lashondria “Shonie” Purnell recently received a Certificate of Appreciation for Achievement in Ministry from the Chicago Police Department 4th District Faith Based Committee.

The Department recognized Shonie for the support she has provided through her spiritual care, prayers and singing. The Department also acknowledged her grief and loss support, as well as the faith-based resiliency programs she offers to those who have experienced trauma, crime and damaging effects of gun violence.

The programs include a Prayer Support Line, which allows participants to release their burdens, receive comfort and express gratitude, and a weekly resiliency program called "What's Next?" that combines evidence-based scientific studies with encouragement from faith-based resources.

Shonie serves through the South Chicago Loving and Healthy Community Collaborative, a partnership between Advocate Aurora Health, Claretian Associates and faith-rooted partners.

Congratulations, Shonie!  
The Blessing Hidden in Grief
Submitted by Sheila Cusack, Faith Community Nurse, Christian Brothers of the Midwest

What to do with our losses? . . . We must mourn our losses. We cannot talk or act them away, but we can shed tears over them and allow ourselves to grieve deeply. To grieve is to allow our losses to tear apart feelings of security and safety and lead us to the painful truth of our brokenness. Our grief makes us experience the abyss of our own life in which nothing is settled, clear, or obvious, but everything is constantly shifting and changing. . . . But in the midst of all this pain, there is a strange, shocking, yet very surprising voice. It is the voice of the One who says: “Blessed are those who mourn; they shall be comforted.” That’s the unexpected news: there is a blessing hidden in our grief. Not those who comfort are blessed, but those who mourn! Somehow, in the midst of our tears, a gift is hidden. Somehow, in the midst of our mourning, the first steps of the dance take place. Somehow, the cries that well up from our losses belong to our songs of gratitude.

From Henri Nouwen’s Life of the Beloved
Back Issues of e-Newsletters Available
A Review of Current COVID-19 Treatments
Thank you to the Partnership Center for Faith and Opportunity Initiatives, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, for providing this review of current COVID-19 treatments.
What treatments for COVID-19 are approved for use? As of Nov. 23, the FDA has approved one treatment for COVID-19, the antiviral drug Veklury (remdesivir), for use in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older. Five other treatments are currently authorized for Emergency Use - including convalescent plasma and monoclonal antibodies.
What’s the difference between convalescent plasma and monoclonal antibodies? Basically, monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-made proteins that mimic the immune system's ability to fight off harmful antigens such as viruses. Convalescent plasma is from patients who have already recovered from COVID-19 and may contain antibodies against the virus.
What other treatments are in development? FDA created the Coronavirus Treatment Acceleration Program (CTAP) to expedite the development of therapeutics. As of Oct. 31, there were more than 370 active trials and more than 560 development programs for therapeutic agents in the planning stages. Visit the CTAP’s dashboard
Why is there a national call for plasma? As COVID-19 infections spike nationwide, the demand for convalescent plasma is outpacing donations. Americans who have recovered from COVID-19 in the last three months can donate now. Visit local blood collection center, American Red Cross or America’s Blood Centers or visit to become a donor.
COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Distribution Updates
CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recently met and voted on general recommendations for how to prioritize vaccine distribution when supply is initially scarce.

CDC then published the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report with their vaccine priority recommendations to jurisdictions. Bottom line: The 24 million vaccines will first take care of the 21 million healthcare workers and then approximately 3 million seniors and frail living in long term care facilities second.

The 64 jurisdictions are working on distribution plans and will use these recommendations and their own best judgment to develop allocation plans based on what makes sense in their circumstances. 

Dec. 10, FDA’s Vaccine Advisory Board will meet to discuss an emergency use authorization request for Pfizer’s vaccine.

Dec. 17, FDA’s Vaccine Advisory board will review the clinical trial data submitted by Moderna for emergency authorization of its vaccine.

What can we do? When vaccines become available, it’ll be our turn to get vaccinated and encourage our communities to do the same. Read and share the CDC’s website and videos with quick things to know about the science of vaccines. 
News from the Westberg Institute

April 12-14, 2021

Building upon last year’s successful virtual conference, we are excited to bring you another robust virtual experience in 2021! By bringing together the expertise of professionals from diverse disciplines, the Symposium and Conference will provide attendees an environment that builds knowledge, creates interdisciplinary connections, and opens new paths for the delivery of spiritual care.

Do you need a tool to introduce the specialty practice of faith community nursing to your faith community? Would you like to know more about faith community nursing and how health ministry works in communities of faith? Then this short webinar created by experts is for you!

Faith Community Nurses: A Short Discussion for Faith Communities about the Benefits Health Ministry Provides is a nine-minute presentation that describes the role of faith community nurses and the benefits they bring to communities of faith. This webinar is free and we encourage you to share this educational resource with other nurses and communities of faith. A downloadable handout is also available for your use.

Westberg Institute has partnered with the Spiritual Care Association (SCA) Nursing Division to open a new eight-module educational series: Leadership & Coordination for Faith Community Nurse Practice.

Participants can receive 1.5 CNE credits for each module. Complete all eight modules and receive 12 CNE credits, a certificate of recognition, and a lapel pin as an SCA Westberg Institute affiliated FCN Coordinator.

The Westberg Institute has partnered with the Spiritual Care Association to offer faith community nurses three chaplaincy certification options:

  1. Spiritual Care Generalist Certificate
  2. Credentialed Chaplain (CC)
  3. Board Certified Chaplain (BCC)

Upcoming Events

Dec. 8, 10:00 a.m.

Sponsored by Advocate Aurora Health

Advocate Aurora Health and AgeOptions have partnered to offer this educational opportunity for faith leaders. The webinar will include information on:

  • what social isolation is, the dangers of social isolation and how it is different from loneliness,
  • what faith communities are already doing to combat social isolation in older adults,
  • how Area Agencies on Aging can help strengthen what congregations are doing, including updates on how area agencies have responded to COVID-19,
  • available resources for individuals and organizations that serve older adults. 

Dec. 8, 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Sponsored by the Religion Member Interest Group of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Health Ministries Association

Join HMA’s own Alison Breisch, MSN, RN-BC, along with Mary Niester, MPH, RD, as they explore the relationship between faith and health, especially how Registered Dietitians and other qualified nutrition professionals can be vital resources in a health ministry program. Click here to read more about the presentation and the speakers.

Dec. 10, 9:00 a.m.

Sponsored by The Lutheran Foundation and RemedyLIVE

The holidays can be a stressful and emotionally challenging time of year for many people in a "normal year," and this holiday season will bring its unique set of stresses and feelings of anxiety, loss and grief due to the current pandemic.

This webinar will explore some holiday challenges, emphasize the importance of acknowledging and legitimizing our feelings, help participants recognize some signs and symptoms of emotional struggle, and offer practical coping strategies, including self-care and self-compassion tips.

Dec. 10, 1:00 p.m.

Financial exploitation and fraudulent scams aimed at older adults result in the loss of billions of dollars every year. These crimes often go unreported because victims are scared, embarrassed, or don’t know who to call. The U.S. Department of Justice National Elder Fraud Hotline, managed by the Office for Victims of Crime, provides services to adults aged 60 and older who experience fraud and exploitation to help them report the crime and access appropriate resources. This webinar will offer an overview of the National Elder Fraud Hotline and answer frequently asked questions about the available services.

Dec. 15, 7:00 p.m.

Sponsored by the Chicago Archdiocesan Commission on Mental Illness

This year, probably all of our Christmas celebrations will be different than in years past. All are invited to join us for a virtual hour of prayer & reflection in preparation for Christmas. We are especially reaching out to anyone living with a mental health concern and their loved ones.

Dec. 16, 2:00 p.m.

Sponsored by the CDC Foundation

CDC Foundation President and CEO Dr. Judy Monroe, and CDC Principal Deputy Director Dr. Anne Schuchat, will discuss the current COVID-19 response, including the latest information about vaccines, and vaccine distribution plans. A local expert will also speak about vaccine-related challenges and opportunities. 

Feb. 4, 11:00 a.m. -12:30 p.m.

Sponsored by Hospice Foundation of America

When a death embodies both trauma and loss, the ensuing traumatic bereavement poses special challenges and demands more than mere grief facilitation. Drawing on cutting-edge information from psychology, traumatology, and thanatology, Dr. Rando identifies 12 essential core strategies for effective clinical intervention after deaths from acute natural causes, accident, disaster, suicide, or homicide.
Support Groups

  • Tuesdays from 8:30-9:00 a.m.
  • Thursdays from 6:00-6:30 p.m.

Sponsored by Advocate Aurora Health

The Prayer Support Line allows us to come together in unity to release our burdens, receive comfort and express our gratitude to God for holding us close during this pandemic.

The Prayer Support Line is a place where we can join with others in prayer for health, healing and spiritual care with the expectation that God will meet us and provide us with encouragement.

  • Wednesdays, through Dec. 30
  • 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Sponsored by Advocate Aurora Health

“What’s Next?” is a weekly resilience program that combines evidence-based scientific studies with encouragement from faith-based resources. Participants will gain tools to:

  • build resilience amid the difficulties of life
  • learn from their experiences
  • use the knowledge they gain to nourish themselves and the world around them

Attend any or all sessions. LaShondria Purnell, RN, a faith community nurse with Advocate Aurora Health, facilitates "What's Next?" and looks forward to learning alongside you.
Exploring Grief Groups

Lake Forest, Illinois
6:00-7:30 p.m. on Mondays, Jan. 4-March 1

North Shore (Illinois)
7:00-8:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Feb. 4-March 25

Are you or someone you know grieving the loss of a family member, partner, or friend? If so, find comfort and support in our Exploring Grief Groups, which are now offered virtually. Local congregations have come together to sponsor this program, making it available at no cost to participants.

Our Exploring Grief Groups provide a confidential, educational, and nonjudgmental environment. They encourage attendees to cope with their loss and continue to find meaning in their lives. These groups are facilitated by professional counselors.

To register for Lake Forest group, contact Denise Kitanovski at 847-446-6955, ext. 422 or

To register for North Shore group, contact Joellen at 847-446-6955, ext. 419 or

  • Tuesdays through Jan. 12, 2021
  • 7:00-9:00 p.m.

Sponsored by Grace Lutheran Church, River Forest, Ill.

GriefShare is a special weekly seminar and support group designed to help you rebuild your life after losing a loved one. Our group is led by caring people who have experienced grief and want to help you through the difficult days ahead.

To register, call 708-366-6900 or email
Philosophy of Faith Community Nursing

Faith community nursing is a recognized specialty practice that combines professional nursing and health ministry. Faith community nursing emphasizes health and healing within a faith community. The philosophy of faith community nursing embraces four major concepts: spiritual formation; professionalism; shalom as health and wholeness; and community, incorporating culture and diversity.
~Westberg Institute
Wishing you and your loved ones a healthy, happy holiday season!
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