Thursday morning, I’m headed to Memphis, TN to attend the Church Health Conference sponsored by the Church Health Center from April 4-7, 2013. I’ll be joining about 400 people from throughout the country as we gather to learn more about how to better serve people though various church health ministries. This year’s conference will also include the Westberg Symposium for Faith Community Nurses. Many faith community nurses, or parish nurses, will be presenting workshops and poster sessions on research, best practices for ministry, education updates and other pertinent information on faith community nursing.
Dr. Scott Morris is the founder and medical director of the Church Health Clinic. I blogged about his book, Health Care You Can Live With, about a year ago. I look forward to meeting him and his staff and taking a tour of their Center.
Former UN Ambassador, Andrew Young, will be speaking on Friday when he presents “Continuing the Legacy of Healing.”
On Saturday morning, I’ll be leading a workshop – Connecting the Dots Between Faith and Health: A Biblical Perspective.
Here’s a link to the agenda for the entire Church Health Conference.
I’ll try to provide a recap of the conference when I return.
Hope you have a blessed day!
Church Health Conference Highlights and Recap
What a blessing it was to be in Memphis for four days at this year’s Church Health Conference. I met some wonderful people and reestablished some connections I had made from previous gatherings. Here are some of the highlights I want to capture and communicate to you.
Dr. Scott Morris – “We (all in the audience) are called to be initiators and change agents.” “Our country has developed an unholy love affair with medical technology… in lieu of loving and caring for people with compassion.” “If you don’t understand what love looks like, you can’t understand what health looks like.” “A curriculum that addresses healing is needed for seminaries.”
Kendra Hotz and Matt Mathews – From their talk, At the Foot of the Cross. Their talk was one of the highlights for me at the Church Health Conference. “Our health ministries need to ‘go where Jesus went.'” “Christians are called to teach the truth with power.” “The messages of love, compassion, grace, etc. get under the skin, into the blood vessels and then into the emotional heart. That’s how healing occurs.” “Jesus brought salvation not only to our souls, but to our bodies in this life.” “The empty tomb represents God’s acceptance of us – our worth.”
Ambassador Andrew Young – “I realized that many physical illnesses had spiritual roots.”
Stacy Spencer, Pastor at New Directions Church in Memphis, in his talk No More Excuses – “Ministry is finding a need and meeting it.” “Monies for doing ministry work follow the ministry – the transformations that are brought about by its work.”
Mary Chase-Ziolek, Professor of Health Ministries and Nursing at NorthPark Theological Seminary – “What do you model (personally) about faith and it’s connection to health?”
William Cope Moyers, Vice President of Public Affairs and Community Relations at Hazelden – “Addiction is a disease with origins in the brain.” “The solution for addiction is a higher power (God), community and personal responsibility.” “The truths of God can not fall into a heart until it is open through brokenness.” “You people are catalysts or bridges – change agents – for those who need a spiritual solution for their disease.” “We need to trust that God will do in us, what we and others can not do for us.”
Church Health Conference – Connections and Collaborations
Micki Thomas, FCN, RN, a Faith and Health Ambassador from St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Greenwich, NY who completed her training in 2012, was there. It was great to meet her in person after having her as a course participant for 11 weeks.
Gayle Jones, FCN, RN, registered for the Faith and Health Ambassador Course that begins April 16 and will be looking to bring the PathWay 2 Wholeness initiative to her church in the DC area – First Baptist Church of Glenarden.
Debbie Duke will explore if Samford University’s Congregational Health Ministries program might fund the participation of a group of Faith Community Nurses in a future Faith and Health Ambassador Course.
Kimberly Johnson and her husband will be exploring how their Great Body Company Wellness Center in Kingsport, TN might collaborate with our ministry to provide training for their staff.
Laura Herr and her husband in Cartersville, GA will discuss how we might collaborate on an initiative.
Becca Cartledge, RN, Parish Nurse Coordinator at the University of Indianapolis, will be speaking with her peers to determine if the PathWay 2 Wholeness Bible Study might become a course offered at the university.
Ann Kaiser, FCN and Coordinator of the Parish Health Program at Catholic Charities in Natchez, MS is considering how we might collaborate on a training initiative.
Alyson Briesch, MSN, FCN at Breisch Health Education, LLC and I will have some discussions on how our ministry and initiatives might be an equipping ministry for Faith Community Nurses in support of their training and professional growth requirements in accordance with the Scope and Standards for their nursing specialty.
Church Health Center Visit
On Monday, after the Church Health Conference, I stayed an extra day so that I might be able to visit the Church Health Center Medical Clinic and Wellness Center and have some more in depth discussions with several of their staff members. Thanks to Ann Langston, Director, and her coordinating efforts, I had a terrific and fruitful time there.
I had some wonderful and insightful discussions with Ann and some of the staff. John Shorb and I talked about publications and various forms of effective communications. He was the first editor of their Church Health Reader. Lisa Carson gave me a great tour and orientation of the Wellness Center. Sharon Moore and Laura Todd spoke to me about their health education programs and Bible studies. Sterling McNeal explained their local outreach efforts and their Congregational Health Promoter initiative. Richard Murphy is their Fitness Center Director. We had a wonderful discussion about his view of discipleship and mentoring. Stacy Smith has been responsible for the transition of the International Parish Nurse Resource Center to the Church Health Center. We discussed how our ministry might support the education of Faith Community Nurses and how the PathWay 2 Wholeness Bible Study might be a viable resource for them to have for their local churches. And Kelly Kraisinger, Development Specialist explained aspects of their funding and showed me around the health clinic and shared its history with me. These people and their peers are doing some great work at serving the under served community in Memphis at the Church Health Center. I look forward to working with their staff in the future as we explore how our ministry might be able to support their efforts.
The City of Memphis
I joined a few conference attendees on Saturday for a plate of fried chicken at world famous Gus’s Fried Chicken. After all, how can you spend a few days in Memphis without enjoying some of the food they are famous for? Be forewarned, the chicken was very spicy and I was told that they don’t use any measuring device when they add cayenne pepper to the batter!
Sunday morning found me attending a spirit-filled church service at Bountiful Blessings Church and listening to a great message about the joy of the Lord by Pastor Milton Hawkins. On Sunday afternoon, I was able to catch a AAA baseball game to watch the Memphis Redbirds play the Oklahoma City Redhawks. The home team lost a thrilling game, 14-10, in two extra innings. After the game I had an egg roll filled with BBQ and cole slaw at Cooky Canuck. And finally, on the way home while in the Memphis airport, I ate a tasty pork BBQ sandwich.
The trip to Memphis for the Church Health Conference was terrific! I was able to connect with many talented people who are passionate about faith and health, learn some new things, visit the Church Health Center facility, ‘taste’ a bit of real Southern cooking in Memphis and was renewed in a wonderful church service.