December 10, 2021
Dec. 8 Holiday Gathering
These are your fellow faith community nurses posing with smiles during the Zoom Holiday Gathering on December 8th. While we were missing the festivities of past years, when a delicious meal was shared and books were stolen from one another during a raucous grab-bag game, the on-line gathering felt wonderfully "homey" and celebratory in its own way. 

Each participant was asked to share two things about the past year: 1) a one-minute review of a book or music they discovered and enjoyed, and 2) a brief description of a new food or recipe indulged in. From fiction to biography, from sacred music to pop, from polenta to macaroons, a plethora of great finds were shared enthusiastically with one another. 

The gathering closed with Shonie's beautiful voice giving song to the season. Stay tuned for a listing of those great food-music-recipe recommendations to be shared at a later time.

Wishing you and yours happy holidays!

Sue Cox BSN, RN- BC
Faith Community Nurse Network Manager, Advocate Aurora Health
Nov. 10 Retreat Recap
By: Sue Cox BSN, RN- BC, Faith Community Nurse Network Manager, Advocate Aurora Health

If a virtual retreat experience has the ability to restore one's soul, then spending a morning online with Advocate Chaplain Staycie Flint will certainly not disappoint.

Staycie has been leading online wellness retreats across the Advocate Aurora system since the pandemic began. She is pastoral and therapeutic, she is creative and wise!
Staycie Flint
During our retreat morning, we explored resilience as being about how we recover, not just about enduring. We were reminded about four types of recovery: Psychological Detachment, Relaxation, Skillful Play and Control. Through reflection, journaling, coloring and small group conversation (mixed with some incredible music), Staycie created space for exploration around these types of recovery.

We were also challenged to fine-tune our ability to "hear" our inner emotional voice. Per Staycie, our bodies always show up first when it comes to emotions. In other words, we can often experience discomfort, stress, fatigue, GI symptoms, etc, when we're struggling internally. So learning to pay attention to our bodies, and give credence to our inner voice, can be a key step in movement toward wellness. Spending a morning being gently guided by Staycie was a gift, indeed!
Health Ministries Association Conference Recap
By: Julie Ruchneiwicz, RN, BSN, Executive Director, HMA

We have just completed our 30th Annual National Health Ministries Association Conference! However, this year, it was also our very first conference held virtually.

On Sept. 26, 1990, we held the initial HMA conference in Northbrook, Illinois, minutes from my home. Little could the history-making pioneers of our association have known that history would be made again in 2021. Our 2020 conference was planned, but canceled because of the pandemic and we made the responsible decision to host our 2021 conference via Zoom.

The speakers graciously accepted our invitation to present virtually and we worked hard to educate ourselves on all things Zoom. We were prepared and it showed. Our conference was amazing and fulfilled the high expectations that have always been associated with HMA. We promised to educate, encourage and excite about the future of health ministries and the work being done and we believe we delivered!

I am so proud of our Board of Directors, our Conference Chair, Nancy Durbin, MS, BSN, RN-BC, and her committee, and Kristina Heaton, our Office Manager. Everyone went above and beyond to present high-quality and engaging sessions. I, for one, will miss our afternoons together.

Ironically, the title of the original HMA conference, in 1990, was “We Need Each Other’s Time, Energy and Enthusiasm to Build our Association.” Nothing could be truer today. We spoke about investing in HMA, in all aspects, and we urged members to reflect on that message and then act in a way that works for them.

The keyword in that first conference title is BUILD, and we need to be constantly building up HMA. Recruit a new member, sign up for a committee or the Board, send us articles/blogs on what fascinating work is being done, or give us ideas for ways we can better support your ministries. If you have any brainstorming you would like to share, please contact me or anyone on the Board.

Remember, “Whatever good things we build will end up building us!”
‘A lifeline for so many’
Maria looks forward to every other Thursday when she can attend Let’s Talk!, a support group for moms.

“It’s something special I do for myself,” said the mother of two young children. “I always make time for it.”

Maria, like other participants, have benefitted from Let’s Talk!, a bi-weekly virtual group sponsored by Advocate Aurora Faith and Health Partnerships that offers encouragement, self-care tips, and education for participants at all stages of motherhood.

Each session includes a centering activity, such as deep breathing exercises, sharing time, and education on a different health and wellness topic. Past topics have included COVID precautions, child development, potty-training, and vaccination. Moms of older children oftentimes mentor new mothers, sharing their tips, experiences, and insights on what they might expect as their child grows.

“Everyone is so wonderful,” Maria said. “It’s nice to connect with other moms and share our feelings. We’re like an extended family.”

Nilda Garcia, Advocate Aurora Health Faith Community Nurse, and Amy McNicholas, Mental Health Specialist and Illinois Faith and Health Partnerships Manager, co-facilitate, bringing their expertise in nursing and mental health to each session.

“Amy knows how to make each session end on a positive note,” Nilda said. “She really listens and points out the positive things the moms are doing in their children’s lives. They really enjoy what she has to say.”

‘Knowledge is Always Power’: 53205 Residents Learn Best Nutrition Practices Through HEAL Program
By Ana Martinez-Ortiz

When Joella Holloway found out she had diabetes, she took a proactive approach to her health. She started coming to Cross Lutheran Church’s Healthy Eating and Active Living Program also known as HEAL.

In class, Holloway learned how to read the labels on food and ways to manage her diabetes such as walking. Since joining the class, she’s lost 10 pounds. Holloway is one of 20 or so participants who visit Cross Lutheran Church’s Bread of Healing Empowerment Ministry.

The class is offered at Cross Lutheran Church, 1821 N. 16th St., the first and third Wednesday of every month at 10:30 a.m. In the ministry’s HEAL program, attendees enjoy a healthy meal, discuss nutrition and healthy eating habits and exercise.
Linda Radder breaks down the tortilla soup recipe; her goal is to have participants help prepare the meals. (Photo by Ana Martinez-Ortiz)
The classes are led by Linda Radder, a faith community nurse for Advocate Aurora Healthcare.

The HEAL program began several years ago when the American Cancer Society and its partner Kohl’s Healthy Families approached Cross Lutheran Church with an opportunity to be a part of the pilot program. Radder explained that the American Cancer Society had done a needs assessment and found that the 53205 ZIP code is a food desert – residents lacked access to grocery stores and to healthy foods.

In its first year, the church received $25,000 for the program and $35,000 in its second. This year, it received $30,000. The grant covers the cost of food, exercise bands and pedometers and gift cards.

Diane Currie (top left), Joella Holloway, Bernadette Williams (bottom left) and Yvette Smith enjoy coming to the bi-weekly classes for the lessons and the companionship. (Photo by Ana Martinez-Ortiz)
Advocate Aurora Local Services Guide
Ever have a congregational member look to you for a referral for services? Or have a family that needs extra support and you aren’t sure where to send them? Need to know more about programs that are available in the neighborhood you are serving? Advocate Aurora Health recognizes the need for an up-to-date, reliable, tested list of community services that are easily accessed with a click of a button.

The Advocate Aurora Health Local Services Guide, powered by NowPow, allows you to find free and low-cost options for food, safe housing, child care, transportation and more.

This resource can help you support the people you serve and it’s provided free-of-charge to you!

News from the Westberg Institute
Subscribe to Faith Community Nurse Journal, Perspectives

Perspectives: Nursing Spiritual Care and Faith Community Nursing Practice is a publication of the Spiritual Care Association Nursing Division and the Westberg Institute. It features research news, educational articles and practical stories about the different aspects of faith community nursing practice along with spiritual care information and resources for nurses in all practice settings. Perspectives is published twice annually with occasional special themed issues and is a free benefit exclusively available to SCA members.

Click here to learn more.

March 28-30, 2022
Santa Fe, New Mexico

The Westberg Institute, in partnership with the Nursing Division of the Spiritual Care Association is proud to present the 2022 Westberg Symposium at the Caring for the Human Spirit Conference.

The International Westberg Symposium is the premier gathering of faith community nurses that provides an international platform for nurses who are serving as FCNs or parish nurses in communities around the world.

Theme: Embracing a Bright Future: diversity in faith community nursing practice

Diversity is multifaceted. Culture, race, religion, and practice setting are only a few of the influences faith community nurses combine to provide wholistic care. Along with diversity, the multifaceted aspects of healthcare also influence the future of our specialty practice.
News from Faith Community Nurses International

Faith Community Nurse International offers continuing education videos on a variety of topics, such as advance care planning, fall prevention, telehealth, mental health and more.

You can enjoy free video offerings, as well. Even though they do not offer CEs, they still offer valuable content.
International Journal of Faith Community Nursing Accepting Submissions

The International Journal of Faith Community Nursing (IJFCN) is the official journal of Faith Community Nurses International (FCNI). The foremost purpose of IJFCN is to support the ministry and practice of faith community nurses worldwide through publication of scholarly articles about innovative faith community nursing practice, current faith community nursing research, and evidence-based practice. In addition, IJFCN supports the development, sustainment, and advancement of health within diverse faith traditions.

Currently, we are accepting submissions for the upcoming spring 2022 issue. Authors may submit manuscripts until April 1, 2022 to be considered for this issue. Address questions regarding submissions to Dr. Liz Sturgeon at

Back Issues of e-Newsletters Available
See the latest toolkits from Faith and Health Partnerships:

Mental Health Quarterly, includes articles on coping with seasonal affective disorder, managing holiday stress, mental health resources, and more.

Celebrating the Holidays Safely English and Spanish versions

Promoting Health Equity for All:
English and Spanish issues.

Click here to access back copies of the Faith Community Nurse e-newsletter, COVID-19 updates, mental health e-newsletter and other Faith and Health Partnerships publications.
Nurse Dolls Available
By Marcia Smith, Faith Community Nurse

An 83-year-old woman I was privileged to know over the last five years recently passed away. She was a delightful person and told me many stories, including those about her years as a nurse.

She also showed me many of her treasures that she collected over the years. I promised to help find homes for some of her prized possessions. These include wonderful nurse dolls of historic figures, such as Florence Nightingale, Clara Barton, a WWII navy nurse and others, as well as toy nurse dolls.

If you are interested, please contact me at or 773-743-1820. Any or all these dolls (and accessories) are yours for free, you just need to pick them up from me.

Thank you!

Marcia Smith
A sampling of just some of the nurse dolls available.
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
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