by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/join-us-for-a-free-course-in-understanding-violence">Join us for a free course in Understanding Violence!</a></h1>

Sue Nelson and I are taking this free course from Coursera entitled 'Understanding Violence' beginning September 3. The course is offered by Emory University. To be clear, Episcopal Health Ministries is not sponsoring this course. However, we do expect it to be very worthwhile and invite you to join us as participants!

Register for the free course here!

Violence is a leading cause of death, disability and health care use in the United States as well as worldwide. Although significant progress has been made in the last few decades, there remains a great need to further reduce the frequency of violence and its long term effects.  Violence causes approximately 50,000 deaths each year and over 2.5 million injuries in the U.S. each year, with an estimated annual cost of $70 billion. Furthermore, violence does not occur in a vacuum; the consequences are also felt through other medical conditions and health behaviors and individuals, families, and communities affected by violence are often irreparably altered.

Violence is a complex problem and can only be understood and reduced though a multidisciplinary approach.  The course will cover the epidemiology of violence; roots of violence including biological, psychological, and social causes (e.g., economic deprivation, religious factors); specific types of violence; media and the arts portrayal of violence; the business/economic impact of violence; physical and mental consequence; and ways to control and prevent violence in our communities, including criminal justice and public health approaches.  Through these perspectives, the course will deepen our understanding of violence in local, national, and global contexts. 

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the problem of violence in the U.S. and globally, as well as the long-term effects.
  2. Analyze the causes of and associations with violence from a multidisciplinary perspective.
  3. Explore different solutions and programs for the prevention of violence.
by Sue Hacker Nelson   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/friday-roundup-081514">Friday Roundup</a></h1>

Each week, we highlight stories from our newsfeed on Prismatic. No account is required to see what we think is worth reading, so visit our profile often! We update it daily so there is usually something new to check out. Here is a sample of what we liked this week:

Elephant Mosaic In 5th Century Synagogue Uncovered from HuffPost
There are many amazing characters and creatures described in the Hebrew Bible, but elephants are not among them. Imagine the surprise of a team of archaeologists who were in the midst of their fourth summer of excavations at an ancient synagogue in Israel’s Lower Galilee when they discovered elephants in a mosaic panel where they expected only to find biblical scenes.

13-year-old girl destroys batters to send her team to Little League World Series from For the Win
Mo’Ne Davis tossed a shutout in Philadelphia’s 8-0 win over Delaware, sending her team, the Taney Dragons, to the Little League World Series. The 13-year-old struck out six batters and allowed only three hits and three walks in her incredible performance.

A Prayer for Those Suffering from Depression from Spirituality & Practice
An estimated 21 million Americans experience some form of depression every year. It is an emotionally, physically, and spiritually depleting disease that can lead to suicide. Robin WilliamsWe are still reeling from the news of the suicide of Robin Williams who valiantly struggled with depression for many years.

Let us know which articles you liked (or didn't) in the comments!


by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/retirement-toolkit">Retirement Toolkit</a></h1>


It's scary that once we retire we're supposed to live decades—maybe even 40 years or so—without a paycheck. The Department of Labor, Social Security Admininistration, and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid want to help you plan for the kind of retirement you want.

This PDF "toolkit" offers a timeline for the changes you should prepare for as you get closer to retirement age. It also attempts to explain Medicare parts A, B, C, and D, and lists several other free publications to help you understand 401(k) fees, filing retirement benefit claims, Social Security benefits, and more.

This 8 page guide provides a wealth of information and is a terrific resource for discussing retirement planning with those at any age. If you have anxious parishioners, share this guide with them and encourage them to use the resources listed here. Peace of mind is an important contributor to overall health!

Download the Retirement Toolkit here.

by Sue Hacker Nelson   |   comments

Each week, we highlight stories from our newsfeed on Prismatic. No account is required to see what we think is worth reading, so visit our profile often! We update it daily so there is usually something new to check out. Here is a sample of what we liked this week:

How Turbans Helped Some Blacks Go Incognito In The Jim Crow Era from NPR
In mid-20th century America, the turban was a tool that people of color used for "confounding the color lines," writes Manan Desai, board member of the South Asian American Digital Archive.

It is amazing what happens when you tell kids they are more than their grades and test scores from PRI
When elementary students from Barrowford elementary school in the English town of Nelson received end-of-year test results in the mail, they also got a letter from the principal. It reminded children not to get too hung up over the exams, because “these tests do not always assess all of what it is that make each of you special and unique."

Are You Leading a Zombie Parish? from the Episcopal Church Foundation
In case you haven’t noticed, zombies are becoming more popular these days. Gone are the old-time zombie movies with their slack-jawed, shuffling zombies. Nowadays the undead are appearing in zombie action movies, zombie romantic comedies, and zombie Bollywood flicks.

Let us know which articles you liked (or didn't) in the comments!


by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/the-quickstart-guide-to-a-decluttered-home">The Quickstart Guide to a Decluttered Home</a></h1>

Leo Babauta of has several suggestions for helping you declutter your home. Why should you declutter? Leo says:

Decluttering my home has meant a more peaceful, minimal life. It’s meant I spend less time cleaning, maintaining my stuff, looking for things. Less money buying things, storing things. Less emotional attachment to things.

I just experienced this last night. Like many, we have a 'junk drawer' in the kitchen that acts as a catch-all for stuff we don't know where to put elsewhere. Every once in a while, it becomes overwhelming. Last night was one such instance. 

I needed something out of the drawer, but it wouldn't open properly. Something had been turned upright, blocking the drawer from opening. By the time I finally got the $%#$ drawer open, I was frustrated and annoyed to a degree that was honestly unreasonable. I decided to clean the drawer right then and there.

Some questions that came up:

  1. Do we need 3 pairs of scissors in this drawer? After all there are only 2 people in our house, so the odds of needing 3 at any time are pretty slim. 

  2. Why are there batteries in here? We have a place for batteries. This isn't it. 

  3. These rubberbands are broken. Can't we toss them at this point? 

On and on it went, until the drawer was pared back down to a reasonable set of contents. Now I open the drawer easily, I see exactly what I need, and I'm able to get to it without hassle. I feel a sense of peace when I open the drawer and don't see everything we've tried to hide for the last 6 months.

Does this sound weird or unreasonable to you? I bet we all have a 'junk drawer' of our own in life. Hopefully, it's small and manageable. However, the more clutter, the bigger the reward and satisfaction for cleaning it out. Now, read that article and declutter something in your life. 

The Quickstart Guide to a Decluttered Home via