Jan
20
2015
by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 1/20/15

Contact: The Right Rev. John Rabb
Chairman, Board of Directors                      
Episcopal Health Ministries
410-461-7793
jrabb@stjohnsec.org

Staff Changes at Episcopal Health Ministries

EHM appoints team of board members to manage transition


Indianapolis, IN: The Board of Directors of Episcopal Health Ministries, facing the reality of the funding environment, has concluded that we can no longer maintain our current staffing.

In appreciation for the excellent work done by Matthew Ellis, CEO, and Sue Nelson, Office Manager, we have made appropriate arrangements for them to be able to seek other opportunities while assisting the board’s transition team with essential duties.

We are all quite grateful for Matt’s leadership for these past eight years and it is with thanks and sadness that we take these actions. The board remains committed to health and wellness and is exploring our next steps for a volunteer-driven ministry. 

We have appointed a team of board members to manage this transition. I ask for your prayers during this time of discernment.

About Episcopal Health Ministries: EHM promotes health ministry in Episcopal congregations, assisting them to reclaim the Gospel imperative of health and wholeness. We provide resources and links to national partners, highlighting new program models and connecting health ministers throughout the church.

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Jan
16
2015
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:

The Doctor Who Championed Hand-Washing And Briefly Saved Lives from NPR
This is the story of a man whose ideas could have saved a lot of lives and spared countless numbers of women and newborns' feverish and agonizing deaths. You'll notice I said "could have."

Vicar of Dibley to be made a bishop? from Episcopal Cafe
The one-off special, which has been filmed this weekend in central London locations and is named The Bishop of Dibley, will see Dawn reprise the role of Geraldine Granger.

Make-Up and Medicine in the Middle Ages from Medievalists.net
It’s easy to differentiate between cosmetic and medical procedures in the present day but if we take a look back at the Middle Ages, the distinction wasn’t always so clear. Thanks to several prominent medical writers, we can get a glimpse of how medieval medicine viewed the use of cosmetics, and how some of these products were used.

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


                    

Jan
13
2015
by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/the-episcopal-church-and-addiction">The Episcopal Church and Addiction</a></h1>

The events surrounding the death of Thomas Palermo in Maryland are tragic for all. I don't pretend to know anything about the circumstances that involve Bishop Suffragan Heather Cook and this collision so I will refrain from any comment on the specific situation. 

However, I would like to add my voice to others in the Church who are concerned about the prominent role that alcohol plays in our gatherings. Episcopal Health Ministries has long been conscious of the pressures of social events and the need for a response to those struggling with addiction in these situations. 

We have held an annual national conference for our organization since 2008. Several years ago, we were asked to include time for a 'Friends of Bill' meeting during our gathering. We provided a simple room and time on the agenda for this meeting. Later, as our conference closed, we were discussing the impact of the conference and take-aways for participants. I was surprised and honored to have several participants speak of their deep gratitude for this simple gesture. 

We have included time for these meetings at every conference that followed, always with a similar, if private, gratitude. 


I remember these conversations and how they alerted me to the near-constant presence of alcohol at many church gatherings. It is with these reflections in mind that I read these two blogs this morning:

An essay by William A. (Bill) Doubleday reprinted in Episcopal Cafe notes: 

I have long been troubled by the number of Episcopalians – clergy, seminarians, and laity – who regularly or occasionally drink to serious levels of excess. I expect most readers of this article can recollect Bishops, Priests, Deacons, Professors, Lay Leaders, Congregants, Family Members, and others whose lives were marred and probably shortened by the excess use or abuse of alcohol. I suspect we all are acquainted those who struggle with being Adult Children of Alcoholics or with serious Co-dependency Issues. I would be remiss if I did not say that dependence on illegal drugs or prescription medications usually echo the negative dynamics of Alcoholism, often coupled with more complex issues of illegality and criminality. Process addictions such as gambling, shopping, credit card use, and a variety of others, also should not be overlooked.

Dean Mike Kinman of Christ Church Cathedral in Missouri:

I know that my own Diocese of Missouri had an active alcoholic as a bishop when I first arrived here as a college student in 1986. His name is Bill Jones. I know there was an intervention done at the end of his tenure and that he lives now in courageous long-term recovery but that our diocese has never truly addressed his alcoholism – or the systems of dysfunction that led us to call him, sustained him and did not magically disappear when he left office.

I know that our own Christ Church Cathedral was serving alcohol at Chapter meetings when I arrived here. I know that consumption of alcohol was a central part not just of Cathedral social events but committee meetings. I also know that when we brought Dale Kuhn from Care and Counseling in to do two sessions with the Chapter and two more with the congregation on the topic of addiction and family systems, there was a great deal of pushback and some people left the congregation.


The statements in these blogs ring true in my own experience, which includes a significant number of national church meetings, including General Convention and other committee work. Most of these involved a very real presence of alcohol in the evening. To be clear, I am not saying that everyone (or even anyone) was intoxicated to excess or inappropriate. I'm simply stating that alcohol was conspicuously present, and nearly every time. 

What do I mean by conspicuously present? I mean that nearly everyone had a drink in their hand and if for some reason you did not, then it was assumed you needed one and regular offers would be made to get you one. If you were drinking a non-alcoholic beverage, you would be asked to explain why you weren't drinking. It seems odd to have to explain why you aren't drinking while you are actually holding a beverage, but I don't make the rules. 

Perhaps I noticed this culture more because it had been pointed out to me by friends but I also know that I noticed it because I am one of those people who, for the most part, doesn't drink. This is not because I am addicted to alcohol. The primary reason I drink very little is that I often get crushing headaches after the slightest bit of alcohol. It is not unusual for me to have no more than two beers with friends over the course of an evening and wake up the next morning with a terrible migraine. This often gets worse during times of stress, dehydration, and travel, which means at most job-related events I choose to abstain entirely so I can be at my best for the actual work to be done. 

The second reason I avoid alcohol at these times is because of a certain... self-awareness. I often have strong opinions on politics, current events, and the New England Patriots (I'm against them). It is not always appropriate to voice these in an uninhibited manner. I have a hard enough time controlling my comments and behavior when completely sober; the last thing I want to do is overstep my bounds because of impaired judgment. 

All of this to say that we definitely have a culture of alcohol friendliness, if not outright abuse in our church. It's an open secret that many of our clergy struggle with issues related to addiction. So do many of our lay leaders, congregants, and other church employees. 

I hope that the recent events in Maryland are provoking thoughtful reflection and conversation in all parishes, dioceses, and national meetings on the role of alcohol in our community. It would be all too easy to look at the extreme events in Maryland and believe they don't apply to us. I would argue differently; these events, while unusually severe, are not an anomaly. They reveal a significant cultural practice that is often at odds with our stated values.

Perhaps this is a good time to reconsider the role of alcohol in the Church? 


Episcopal Health Ministries has compiled several resources on addiction. I would commend to you in particular the work of Recovery Ministries of The Episcopal Church

Jan
09
2015
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:

Flu season takes another turn for the worse from CBS News
This year's already worrisome flu season has taken a turn for the worse in recent days. The latest update issued Monday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows influenza is now widespread in 43 states -- up from 36 states the previous week. Six children died of the flu last week, raising the total number of childhood fatalities for this year's flu season to 21.

These stroke victims can't speak, but they're still singing from PRI
“Welcome to the Stroke a Chord choir, my name is Tim Adams.” Adams, a 49-year-old lawyer from Australia, was training for a marathon about four years ago when he suffered a massive stroke. He survived, but the stroke damaged the part of his brain that controls speech. The condition is known as aphasia.

How To Cook Every Winter Vegetable from The Huffington Post
Vegetable season comes twice a year: in the summer when we froth at the mouth for fresh veggies like corn and tomatoes, and in the first weeks of January, when New Year's resolutions are fresh and naive minds are optimistic about following them. With the holiday season officially behind us, it's time to at least pretend you're going to be eating healthy food for a while, and if you play your cards right, you may even trick yourself into enjoying vegetables (if you haven't yet gotten on board with the best food trend in recent years: vegetables rule).

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


                    

Dec
26
2014
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 to Roast Chestnuts on an Open Fire from The Art of Manliness
You’ve probably heard the “Christmas Song” hundreds of times in your life, and you’re well familiar with that opening line about “chestnuts roasting on an open fire.” But how many of us have actually partaken in this holiday tradition? If you’ve never had a warm roasted chestnut, you’re missing out. In today’s video I show you how to roast chestnuts on an open fire.

Choosing where to donate to charity is tough. Here's a simple guide to help. from Vox
It's the holiday season, and for many households that means it's time to decide on a charity to donate to this year. According to the Blackbaud Charitable Giving Report, 17.5 percent of charitable giving happens in December — over twice the share you'd expect if giving were spaced evenly throughout the year. If you still need to pick a cause for 2014, here are a few pointers: do your research first, give abroad, and consider just giving cash.

A Family's Long Search For Fragile X Drug Finds Frustration, Hope from NPR
For a few weeks last year, Michael Tranfaglia and Katie Clapp saw a remarkable change in their son, Andy, who'd been left autistic and intellectually disabled by fragile X syndrome. Andy, who is 25, became more social, more talkative and happier. "He was just doing incredibly well," his father says.

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