by Matthew Ellis   |   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:

Choosing a Healthy Breakfast Cereal via WebMD
How healthy is your breakfast cereal? Here are 8 great-tasting picks.

Faith Leaders Who Made a Difference via The Lead
Faith leaders who made a difference by speaking out for justice and a better world for all. Episcopal priest the Rev Canon Sally Bingham of Interfaith Power and Light is one of those noticed by Huffington Post.

Defining and Honoring Lay Ministry in the Church via The Lead
I am struck today by Laurie Gudim's essay at Speaking to the Soul regarding lay vs. ordained ministry. This is a topic close to my heart, as a layperson doing fulltime church work.

Don't Set Goals, Make New Habits Instead via The Discipline of Innovation
The problem with goals is that most of them are too big, and they take a long time, and that requires work.  That’s also what makes them worthwhile!  But on a day-to-day basis, you need to figure out how to build the habits that will eventually get you to your goals.

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


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:

Church of the Nativity Undergoes Facelift via Yahoo! News
As visitors descend upon Bethlehem this holiday season, they will notice a different look for the Church of the Nativity. Wrapped in scaffolding, the basilica located at the site traditionally regarded as Jesus' birthplace is undergoing a much-needed facelift after 600 years.

Striking Minimalist Posters Reveal What It's Like To Struggle With A Mental Disorder via The Huffington Post
To combat the ever growing silence surrounding mental health struggles like depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, artist Patrick Smith chose a simple path. Draw them. His series of minimalist posters capture the essence of various personal afflictions, translating everyday conflict and pain into simple shapes and colors.

One year later, church remembers Sandy Hook victims via Episcopal Digital Network
One year after the shooting at a Connecticut elementary school where 20 children and six adults were killed, Episcopalians across the nation participated in memorial services and spoke to the need for tighter gun control.

Wisconsin Researchers: Poverty Influences Brain Development in Children via Diane Ravitch's blog
Poverty may have direct implications for important, early steps in the development of the brain, saddling children of low-income families with slower rates of growth in two key brain structures, according to researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

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


tags Blog
by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

Our organization has been known as National Episcopal Health Ministries (NEHM) for nearly two decades. This past October, our board of directors voted unanimously to become known as Episcopal Health Ministries. We've alerted you to this change in previous emails but thought it warranted a longer explanation. 

The Episcopal Church serves nine provinces throughout the world. Some of those who identify with the Episcopal Church outside of the United States include Haiti, the Virgin Islands, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador and more. The Episcopal Church is careful to be inclusive of these members outside of the United States. 

Likewise, Episcopal Health Ministries serves the Episcopal Church, including those members outside of the United States. However, the word 'National' implies that we serve only the US. To say that we serve those outside the US is not simply a statement of policy. We have explored projects in Haiti and worked with the Anglican Health Network. Volunteers in our network often participate in international ministry, including my own work in Kenya.

In addition, our website is visited by many people from around the world, providing them resources and ideas that are then adapted to their local communities. Our conference last year even attracted a participant from the Virgin Islands.

It is important in our work with the Episcopal Church that we are seen as a full and vibrant partner. More than once we have been asked by church staff about the inclusion of 'National' in our name and whether that meant we serve only the US. 

To clarify our organization's role in supporting the entirety of the Episcopal Church, we have decided to stop using 'National'. From this point forward, we will be known as Episcopal Health Ministries. We are working now on new logos and updating our materials. As you know, we are a very small staff so this will be done gradually in the coming weeks for the items with high visibility and as soon as possible thereafter for remaining items. 

Please know that we remain committed to improving physical, mental and spiritual health in our communities, wherever they may be. We are grateful to share this ministry with you. Have a blessed Advent!

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

This is a bit late, but I've had several people locally request that I share my experience with No-Shave November with the larger Episcopal Health Ministries community.

What is 'No-Shave November'? 

No-Shave November is a unique way to raise cancer awareness. What better way to grow awareness than with some hair? The goal of No-Shave November is to grow awareness by embracing our hair, which many cancer patients lose, and letting it grow wild and free. 

St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Indianapolis, IN decided to use this concept to raise funds for the Crane House, a unique, court-ordered alternative sentencing, work-release program dedicated to serving non-violent female offenders with pre-school children. In lieu of jail or prison, the program allows women from Marion and surrounding counties to serve their sentences with their children. St. Paul's has been a longtime supporter of this organization.

St. Paul's brought in over $1,000 for Crane House through this Fun-raiser! 

And the winner is... 

One of the fun things about this month is seeing men who are clean-shaven the other eleven months of the year with facial hair. I certainly fall into that category. In fact, this was the first time I had ever attempted to grow an actual beard. Thankfully, it came in well and I was able to wear my beard with pride. I even won an award for the Bushiest Beard, which is really the only award that matters if you think about it. 

Does the Beard Remain? 

No. My wife didn't care for it and insisted it go away on December 1. Honestly, I was just getting used to it but I was ready for it to be gone also. 

For more information, including Before & After pictures visit:

No-Shave November a Hairy Hit via St. Paul's

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/dark-christmasadvent-service">Dark Christmas/Advent Service</a></h1>

The holidays are not so easy for everyone. It seems all around you, others are having fun, enjoying family and friends, and celebrating. For many, this pressure to have fun and enjoy the holidays only compounds their sense of isolation and loneliness. As a church, it is critically important that while we celebrate this Advent season, we also minister to those for whom this is a difficult time of year. 

Many families are marking the passing of a beloved family member or lamenting the rupture of a lost relationship. The Christmas season is marked by ritual. While these rituals bring us comfort, losses experienced many months or even years ago take on new significance when viewed through these changed rituals. How do we recognize these losses and provide a safe way to mourn in this time of Christmas cheer? 

This is an important service for our church, both in the sense of a liturgical happening and a ministry. If you would like to offer a service, here are a few resources to get started:

Please let us know in the comments below how your parish is supporting those who grieve during the holidays.

O Lord, support us all the day long, until the shadows lengthen,
and the evening comes, and the busy world is hushed, and the fever
of life is over, and our work is done. In your mercy, grant us a safe
lodging, and a holy rest, and peace at the last. Amen.