by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

Rose Scovel is a personal friend and fellow member of St. Paul's Indianapolis. It has been inspiring to watch her journey to better health since her Type II Diabetes diagnosis. See her story here:

Read more about Rose's fitness journey.

by Sue Hacker Nelson   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/friday-roundup-051614">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:

No, this picture isn’t scandalous from The Deacon's Bench
Over the past few days, some readers have asked me what I thought of this image, showing a new clothing line for women ministers in England. Some of the response around Facebook has been brutal, with a few commentators calling it “heretical,” “scandalous” and “blasphemous.”

Why Aren't Teens Reading Like They Used To? from NPR
Harry Potter and The Hunger Games haven't been big hits for nothing. Lots of teens and adolescents still read quite a lot. But a roundup of studies, put together by the nonprofit Common Sense Media, shows a clear decline over time. Nearly half of 17-year-olds say they read for pleasure no more than one or two times a year — if that. That's way down from a decade ago.

You Have 5 Minutes to Evacuate… from the American Red Cross
Within two minutes, a firetruck is rolling down your street announcing a mandatory evacuation for the area and you have five minutes to get out of your house. You have five minutes…what do you take? 

The Mistakes We Make Communicating with Elders (and How to Fix Them) from Lifehacker
Effective communication requires you to tailor your message to your audience. When it comes to older adults, many of us tend to treat them like children, or invalids. Here are the most common mistakes we all make, and how you can avoid them.

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


by Sue Hacker Nelson   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/called-to-a-ministry-of-healing">Called to a Ministry of Healing</a></h1>

The following is the sermon by the Right Rev. John Rabb at the Episcopal Health Ministries Conference Closing Eucharist on May 10, 2014 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

All of us have those moments in life and in ministry that we call “the teachable ones,” where something occurred that has had a lasting impact on us. I began my ordained ministry as a chaplain at The Massachusetts General Hospital. I had moved through the certification process in Clinical Pastoral Education, believing my ministry was to be in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling. As a Myers-Briggs INTJ, I had learned to be “in touch with my feelings,” and to not begin stating how I felt with “This is what I think I feel…” During this time, I was part of the teaching team for seminarians. I was confident in my work and given the oversight for pastoral care on the burns unit.

Our work consisted of many things, but at that time the chaplains were to leave notes from each visit in the patient’s charts, a mark of the seriousness with which pastoral care was taken. I was finishing up my notations one day when I heard that unmistakable voice; “Chaplain, we need to talk!” The voice was that of one Dr. John Burke, head of burns surgery, and a person who was respected and a bit feared, for he was blunt and did not suffer fools gladly!  I thought; “My gosh, what I have I done?”  

He sat down and told me that my notes did not give him or the others sufficient insight into how the patients were doing spiritually and even emotionally. He looked at me and said; “We doctors, along with the nurses, technicians and therapists can do our part but as to whether or not a patient is actually healing, it depends on the wholeness of the patient. Many of these people are, to begin with, broken in many ways. (As a fact, over 75% of the burns patients are involved in self-destructive behavior- usually addictions.) You as a chaplain are critical to the healing.” He made his point and exited and I realized that I was doing what often does happen – the spiritual healing, the religious healing is seen as an auxiliary and not as an essential. Thank you John Burke for setting me straight!

Health ministry is about wholeness. Healing is about wholeness, meaning and hope. It is about how people find the deepest meanings of life. Those doing healing ministries of all kinds are not simply doing kind and good things, not an “add on,” but are part and parcel with what it means to bring the fullness of love and grace to people who are hurting – physically and mentally. Further, pastoral care, the great umbrella for so many ministries, needs to shift to being much more concerned about what ultimately counts and matters. I noted that 75% of our burns patients were involved in some form of self-destructive behavior. Why was there a fire? Often because one’s abuse of substance led to loss of judgment.

If we look at Jesus’ ministries of healing, they are always linked to the fullness of faith and meaning. While today’s gospel is the well-known Good Shepherd and does not contain a specific healing action, it does give us a framework for our work in healing ministries. The shepherd is first of all intimate with the flock and the herd, seeing that no danger will come. As Jesus is intimate with us he asks us in healing to stay close, to be present and to see that no harm will come. This is why health care has to involve keeping safe from violence – guns or anything – and seeing that there is adequate health care and resources. We are not simply called in when there is a crisis, but are there to see that we avoid crises when we can. To be pastoral is not just to be kind, nice and available, but to risk, work and even fight for those we are called to care for and love!

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was in the United States in early years of the work on what in time would become the heart of pastoral theology. Bonhoeffer correctly saw problems with this new “pastoral theology.” He noted that it had two flaws; 1) it was too much like a “fire fighter,” rushing in only when there is a crisis and not being present in all aspects of life, and 2) that it ignored the reality that God is involved in all aspects of our life. Bonhoeffer is right – as he usually is – that too often we bring in pastoral care and healing only as a response to a crisis rather than have it be part and parcel with how we see God working with and caring for God’s people in all ways.

Today’s first lesson from the second chapter of Acts is one that really riles people. If you quote as it is written and do not say where it comes from, you are likely to hear objections when people heard the words:

All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions
and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need.    Acts 2:43

There is an account of a person arriving late to church and not hearing the introduction of the Book of Acts but hearing these words and complaining; “Why that’s socialism!!” Really? Jesus precedes that issue by a good one thousand and nine hundred years! We are called as shepherds, healers and pastors to create an alternative community, one that fully reflects to a broken and hungry world what God is doing and what God expects!

This reading from Acts is critical for us because it starts from the reality of the abundance of what we have and what God gives us. So often I will hear, as I am sure you all do, that we cannot take on healing ministries because; “Our church is too small."  "We have so few resources as it is.”  “We do not have the people necessary.” The list can go on and usually does, but those who believe see in common the richness and abundance of God’s blessings and not the scarcity!

Healing ministries are not less than the gospel in action; where God’s people care for God’s creation and those in need; all kinds of needs. Healing is about finding the fullness of life and meaning. We all know people who find healing even in death or with major physical limitations. We also know that a fully healthy person, physically, can be a very unhealthy person spiritually! I believe that the church needs a new pastoral imperative. We need to move from a simple focus on membership, on mere human desires (to be distinguished from genuine human needs) and doing kind things. The problem here is that it is not enough.

Rather, we should as people in healing ministries be about the hard work of proclaiming the truth, working for the fullness of life for all people and striving to change the world! John Burke was right. Healing is about the wholeness of life. And there cannot be wholeness if we ignore violence, hatred, poverty and degradation. There cannot be wholeness if people have lost hope and meaning. Our work, my sisters and brothers, is to fully call the people of God to the gospel life, to life of being true shepherds and pastors!

A woman had been hospitalized with a serious illness. The chaplain, faithfully, came each day and always assured her how much God cared for her, forgave her and loved her. One day she looked up at the chaplain and said; “Do you care for me, do you forgive me and do you love me?” The chaplain was caught off guard and simply restated how much God cared for her. She then said to him; “If you show me you care for me, you forgive me and you love me then I shall surely know that God does!” This is our ministry!


Photo via The Frederick News-Post.

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/recovery-ministries">Recovery Ministries Gathering: June 26-28</a></h1>

The major theme of this conference will focus on the role the church can and should perform as part of the healing journey from addiction to recovery. Presentations will include a systems perspective of the dynamics of addiction in our church communities with a focus on the role the family plays in the spiritual foundations of recovery.  The conference will conclude on Saturday morning with participation in a training workshop for clergy of the diocese of Western NY, a model for you to take back to your own city, parish or diocese.    

For more information, visit Recovery Ministries of The Episcopal Church

Start: 06/26/2014 at 10:00 AM (EDT)
End: 06/28/2014 at 12:00 PM (EDT)

Trinity Episcopal Church, 370 Delaware Ave, Buffalo, NY

Day Rate - Local Participants - $70.00 (USD)
Includes Seminars and Lunch but not Dinner.
Full Registration - $175.00 (USD)
Includes all events, and meals.

Scholarship Assisted Registration (upon approval) - Free
Scholarship assistance is available as funds permit. By selecting this registration type, a member of the host committee will contact you to help determine your need.

Episcopal Health Ministries featured an excellent recovery workshop at our conference in New Orleans last week. We also offered a 'Friends with Bill' meeting (AA). We support the mission of Recovery Ministries of The Episcopal Church!

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:

3 Southern Comfort Food Recipes to Slow Down and Savor from The Art of Manliness
As kids, Momma would always allow my sister Ashley and I to pencil our dinner ideas into a monthly calendar. For her, such a practice created one less thing to think about – no more “what’s for dinner” questions. Ashley and I also ensured that pizza and taco night were a weekly occurrence.

How To Do What You Don't Want To Do from Lifehack
We all have to do things in life we don’t want to do. For me, it’s laundry, cooking and exercising. For others, it’s something else. Some of these things we need to do on a daily basis, while others are more long-term goals. In a world where every person seems to be a procrastinator, how do you find the willpower to do those dreaded activities in your life?

Episcopal churches look to help communities after deadly storms from Episcopal Digital Network
Episcopal Church dioceses and congregations are helping their neighbors cope in the aftermath of deadly spring storms that lashed a wide section of the Midwestern and southern United States and killed at least 34 people, 15 of them in Arkansas.

To Get Help From A Little Kid, Ask The Right Way from NPR
Motivating children to stop playing and help out with chores isn't exactly an easy sell, as most parents and teachers will attest. But how you ask can make all the difference, psychologists say.

Stanford study finds walking improves creativity from Stanford News
Steve Jobs, the late co-founder of Apple, was known for his walking meetings. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg has also been seen holding meetings on foot. And perhaps you've paced back and forth on occasion to drum up ideas.

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