You might remember that a few weeks ago we announced that we have refreshed the website. We didn't buy a whole new car, but we did put a new engine under the hood and added a great stereo system. I guess what I'm trying to say is it looks similar but works MUCH better.
Now that we have addressed some structural issues with the site, we have been working hard to add new resources for you. Here is a rundown of just some of what we have been doing while you have been sleeping.
Top 10 Recent NEHM Activities:
Hired Sue Hacker Nelson: I've always believed it is critical to hire great people. Well, we found one. Sue has jumped right in and is doing a terrific job. Technically, we hired her with the title Front Office Manager. More accurate is probably Jack of All Trades, Master of... well, All Trades. She is amazing and I hope you are coming to the conference where you can meet her!
We are having our national conference May 9-11 in Baltimore! If we have been working on 1-9 while getting ready for the conference, just how awesome do you think this conference experience is going to be? Exactly, so be there! Registration information is here.
Kicked the blog into overdrive (just check out April!): One struggle I have always had is finding the time to slow down and allow the creative thought process the open space it needs to work well. Hiring Sue has freed up mental energy knowing someone else is here to help us stay on track. I think our blog is an important avenue for discussion and I'm thrilled to have more time to write for it. Terra Hoskins is a wonderful contributor and has several posts this month worth reading as well.
New Media Section: Let's be honest, this section of our site has always been a bit underutilized. For a while, we thought we would post interesting online articles about health ministries but soon found the links were often broken at the source and it was a lot of work to maintain. This is MUCH better. The Media section is now a list of blogs, social media channels, newsletters and websites that relate to health ministries and the Episcopal Church. Because they are not links to individual articles, we can scour the web for the best information sources and it will always be current. I am really excited about this and guarantee there is already something great waiting for you here.
New Resources: I am sure you have already spent worthwhile time checking out the redesigned section. However, we have added many new resources in the past few weeks, including items tagged with the following: Veterans, Mental Health, Disability, Violence, and Aging, among others. Take another look!
New Diocesan Liaisons: We have several new diocesan liaisons in the pipeline and will be announcing them soon!
Westberg Symposium: I met with several longtime friends in health ministry and also made some new ones in Memphis. I learned about some exciting new initiatives, which will be shared in the coming months. We also laid the groundwork for some potential new partnerships. Marge Hanna Zeig blogged the conference here.
NEHM Promotional Items: We have ordered several NEHM promotional items for our conference. We are excited for you to see them! After the conference, we will be making them available to those of you who were unable to join us.
Which of these items is your favorite? What do you want to see us work on after the conference is over? Let us know in the comments!
Chances are high that there are members of your parish who have been the victim of some sort of crime. While we often think of victims in terms violent crimes such as murder or rape, far more people are victimized through non-violent means, such as identity theft or property crime, each year.
During 2011, the rate of violent victimization increased 17%, from 19.3 victimizations per 1,000 persons age 12 or older in 2010 to 22.5 in 2011. The rate of property crime increased 11%, from 125.4 per 1,000 households in 2010 to 138.7 in 2011. (Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Criminal Victimization, 2011, October 2012)
Victims of crime can face both physical and emotional trauma. While the former is typically straightforward, the latter varies widely from person to person and may manifest itself in different ways – even years after the event. Understanding victimization can help.
Among many other symptoms, victims of crime may develop trust issues, have trouble sleeping, or have flashbacks. They may feel denial or become angry.
Then people can be re-victimized by law enforcement, the legal system, friends and family who either question the validity of their statements or who imply that the victim brought the crime upon themselves. Accepting and believing are the first steps anyone can take to help a victim cope.
The National Center for Victims of Crime provides a variety of resources for both victims and the people who care about them. There is also a section on talking to children about tragic events.
A significant part of providing service to victims of crime is self-care. NCVC also provides resources for caregivers to ensure they remain resilient in their work.
Since 1981, National Crime Victims' Rights Week has been observed in April to bring awareness to the rights and needs of victims of crime. More information including posters you can use today can be found at the Office for Victims of Crime website and at the National Center for Victims of Crime.
From the Diocese of Bethlehem (PA):
At 3:00 p.m. on Good Friday, representatives of the group met at a local farm and joined to walk the “final mile” together, although the goal had already been reached. Relationships, which up to that time had largely been in cyber-space, were deepened through the sharing of hand-shakes, hugs, and words of “well done”. Foundations of friendships were laid during the event, and at our Good Friday meeting. Much of the conversation that day centered not on the exercise we had all undertaken but, rather, on the spiritual insights gained through the provided meditations and scripture passages.
Thanks to all who participated, but especially to National Episcopal Health Ministries for the development of a truly excellent physical/spiritual program!
Each week, we’ll share interesting health and healing-related stories in the news. Following is a round up of articles about physical, emotional and spiritual health and healing that could be applied to health ministries.
The Rev. Amy McCreath of Church of the Good Shepherd in Watertown, Mass., recounts her feelings and the messages of support that poured in as events unfolded following the Boston bombing last week.
In times of crisis, we all have the power to lift up and support others—sometimes in ways we don’t realize. Read how clergy, congregations and community expressed support and prayer for those affected.
When something traumatic happens in a community, it may not always be clear how you can be most helpful. Following last week’s tragedy in Texas, the Diocese of Texas is organizing people and resources to serve. Stay connected to the diocese as information becomes available about immediate needs.
A crisis doesn’t have to happen in your own community for its members to be affected, and any situation that produces stressful, overwhelmed feelings can be deemed traumatic. It’s the “subjective emotional experience of the event” that renders an event traumatic.
Health ministers can provide tremendous relief for those experiencing emotional and psychological trauma. Visit helpguide.org for information, resources and support in organizing offerings for your health ministry and Psychology Today for step-by-step breakdown of the recovery process.
Sometimes you can be of comfort to others just by standing in your faith. James Hilleson, director of pastoral care and chaplaincy services at IU Health BMH, explains why your belief provides consolation.
Maintain your strength and focus by recharging; here are 20 Bible verses to help comfort.
Terra Hoskins contributes to the NEHM and NEAC blog on a freelance basis. As principal of Hoskins Interactive, an inbound marketing consultancy, she helps organizations improve the quality of website traffic needed to expand business. Follow Terra on her blog and on Twitter: @terrahoskins.
A few years ago, I attended a conference with Bruce Strade, at that time the executive director of Northwest Parish Nurse Ministries (now lead by our friend Deborah Patterson). Bruce and I spent a lot of time solving the problems of the world, but one comment he made really struck a nerve with us and lead to a lot of discussion. Bruce, from Portland, OR, said:
"We just struggle to get people into church. They'd rather spend a beautiful Sunday morning out on their bikes."
As we lamented the problems associated in ministering to a community that would rather be a part of God's world outside than talking about it inside (ha!), we brainstormed ideas for a bike ministry. This led to my cleverly titled blog post, "Bike Ministry".
Wheels in Motion
Today, I came across a Facebook post from a friend in a diocese where they have captured the exact spirit of our discussion. The Tour de Harbor in Long Island is just the kind of activity we had envisioned for bike enthusiasts. They have described it perfectly at their website Episcopalride:
You are invited to join Bishop Larry and Jeanne Provenzano in celebrating National Bike Month and the start of summer with an invigorating 20 mile bike tour of six Episcopal parishes on Long Island’s North Shore on May 19 (Pentecost Sunday). The Tour de Harbor is a ride from Hempstead Harbor to Cold Spring Harbor.
Commencing at Trinity Church, Roslyn at 2:00 p.m., the route includes visits to St. Luke’s, Sea Cliff; St. Paul’s, Glen Cove; St. John’s, Lattingtown; Christ Church, Oyster Bay and St. John’s, Cold Spring Harbor. The ride begins with a blessing of the bikes and concludes with a brief, contemplative Eucharist at St. John’s, CSH at 5:00 p.m. with a pasta dinner following.
You don’t have to cycle to participate! We also need volunteers at each parish to assist with the pit stops, to help shuttle cyclists, to drive SAG (support and gear) vehicle and to help with dinner. To register for the Tour de Harbor, please fill out this online form: http://tinyurl.com/stjcsh519.
A 20 mile bike ride! A shared meal! A contemplative Eucharist! The bishop is participating! Opportunities for non-riders! Probably the greatest logo ever!
One goal of this blog is to share the really cool things we see happening around the Episcopal Church and hope that they will inspire your own ministries. You might not do this exact same type of bike day, but maybe it will get your own wheels turning and help you come up with something that is right for your community. For one, I am thrilled to see the Diocese of Long Island putting this one into action!
Matthew Ellis is the CEO of National Episcopal Health Ministries.