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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.

Pastoral Letter From Bishop O’Neill Regarding Aurora Shootings
Bishop O’Neill reached out to the Aurora community earlier this week; his words provide comfort and a call for something we can all do to aid collective healing: pray.

When Food Causes You Pain
The food we eat can dramatically help or harm us--our digestive system houses 70 percent of the immune cells in our bodies! You have the power to heal illness just by reducing inflammation. CNN Health explains how.

Honey Helps Wounds Heal
Honey does more than add a little sweetness to tea. It helps wounds heal! Here’s how.

10 Miracle Healing Powers of Grapes
The health benefits of grapes can be traced back to a substance called resveratrol, found in red and purple grapes. Here’s how it improves your health.

Ohio Healing Garden Welcomes Patients, Public
Seidman Cancer Center, on the main campus of University Hospitals of Cleveland, has set up a healing garden, much to the delight of patients--and the community. Here's how the idea grew.

What kind of topics are you most interested in? We’ll work on finding information you can apply in your congregations and health ministries. Have a great week!



Terra Hoskins contributes to the NEHM and NEAC blog on a freelance basis. Drawing from her background in sales, communications and Internet marketing, she helps organizations create an online presence and use the Internet to expand business. Follow Terra on her blog: http://terrahoskins.com/ and on Twitter: @terrahoskins.

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Like many, I'm always learning more about The Episcopal Church and how its governing principles are set. But since the 2012 General Convention was set to start in Indianapolis July 5-12 and I was currently working on communications projects for CEO of National Episcopal Health Ministries (NEHM) Matthew Ellis, I was invited to check it out.

For those of you who have never attended, it is a massive event. The exhibit area was packed with booths showcasing everything emblematic of church activities: books, robes, nonprofits with related causes, even jewelry. Like an oasis, the NEHM booth sat in the center offering free back massages. It was a definite hot spot, so people waiting their turn lounged under a gazebo. A nice place to catch up, but we didn’t have time to hang out. I followed Matt as he checked in on teams managing booths for NEHM and the National Episcopal AIDS Coalition (NEAC). Then it was time to testify.

Matt had defined 14 provisions that related to the missions of NEHM and NEAC. These are proposed ideas that bubbled up from congregations around the world. All of these provisions are addressed and voted on at the General Convention. And, like the Bill on Capitol Hill, there is a progression of voting stages until the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies place their votes. It functions much like Congress.

Testifying happens at an earlier stage, when a committee hears all of the arguments for and against a provision. I thought this could get heated, but I was surprised by how systematic and fact-oriented the process went. Example: Matt approached the committee and stated why he was in favor of provision A134: Refocus the Mission of the Jubilee Advisory Committee for Poverty Alleviation—namely that partnerships in the church would help in the effort to address the structural causes of domestic poverty. The committee's questions were pretty targeted, and Matt was able to quickly convey how the Jubilee partnership provides a forum to tap into the church’s communications structure and speak to the church’s authority.

This conversation really centered around organizational issues. How to execute this plan globally or increase awareness about national and local resources. It’s the same issue most global companies face.

I didn’t get to see the outcome of this provision but after testimonies were completed, committees either pass the provision along to the House of Bishops and House of Deputies or discharge them. I sat in on the House of Deputies. It was just as efficient but on a much grander scale. And even though serious business was decided here, there was room for personality: on the floor, each diocese was represented by a distinct marker. Southeast Florida was recognizable by its pink flamingo!

Testifying happens at this level, too, but it was managed very systematically. And sometimes amendments or new provisions were created on the spot. In this case, the entire house would take a break and sing a hymn or canon. This kept people on the floor engaged until the amendment could be presented, and it was actually pretty calming.

Something I imagine all found welcome as they worked through 460 resolutions in seven days to decide the Episcopal Church’s stance and plan of action for the next three years.
Terra Hoskins contributes to the NEHM and NEAC blog on a freelance basis. Drawing from her background in sales, communications and Internet marketing, she helps organizations create an online presence and use the Internet to expand business. Follow Terra on her blog: http://terrahoskins.com/ and on Twitter: @terrahoskins.


by Matthew Ellis   |   comments

Here are the resolutions we are following at General Convention, with updates as of 3:30 p.m. p.m. Thursday, July 12:

A163: Monitoring HIV Guide: SC on Health 10 - Social and Urban Affairs, HBEnglishATT_GUIDE.pdf  Proposes that The National Episcopal AIDS Coalition establish baseline data for current practices throughout the church using its guide, HIV, Health & Holiness: A Guide for the Episcopal Church. 

  • Action is to concur. 

A164: Utilization of HIV/AIDS Resources: SC on Health 10 - Social and Urban Affairs, English Advocates for the use of HIV, Health and Holiness as a guide for the compassionate treatment of persons infected with HIV, helping them achieve greater spiritual, mental, and physical health in their communities.

  • Committee recommends to concur, discharge.

A165: HIV/AIDS Health Ministry Education: SC on Health 15 - Education, HDEnglish Encourages ongoing programming and education as part of parish health ministry, compiled by the National Episcopal AIDS Coalition (NEAC) and National Episcopal Health Ministries (NEHM). 

  • Action is to concur.

A166: Week of Prayer for Healing of AIDS: SC on Health 13 - Prayer Book, Liturgy and Church Music, HBEnglish Urges parish and dioceses to participate in National Week of Prayer for the Healing of AIDS during its annual observance: the first Sunday in March.

  • Committee recommends to concur.

A167: HIV Welcoming Parish Initiative: SC on Health 12 - Evangelism, HDEnglish Proposes that the HIV Welcoming Parish initiative, launching October 2012, serve as a tool to reduce stigma associated with HIV and for parishes to become certified as a HIV Welcoming Parish.

  • Committee recommends to concur.

A039: Improve the Church’s Health Care Outreach: Health Care SC on Health10 - Social and Urban Affairs, HBEnglish Proposes forums and partnerships to educate parishioners about health care reform law and increase local health care access through partnerships with community centers.

  • Committee recommends to concur - discharge.

A040: Establish the Church as the Moral Voice of Health Care: Health CareSC on Health 10 - Social and Urban Affairs, HBEnglish Seeks moral commitment supporting full implementation and funding of health care reform law in the United States, including support of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA).

  • Committee recommends to concur with amendment, floor changes.

A140: Advocate for Maternal and Infant Health: Health Care EC Committee on the Status of Women09 - National and International Concerns, HDEnglish Proposes the Office of Government Relations partner with international and domestic efforts to encourage legislation, programs, services and advocacy for improving maternal health and infant development.

  • Action is to concur.

A085: Asset Based Community Development: Economic Development SC on Social Justice & Public Policy10 - Social and Urban Affairs, HBEnglish Calls for congregations to partner across social and economic boundaries to share resources and engage congregants for service, witness and empowerment.

  • Committee recommends to concur - discharge.

A137: Strengthening Families: Family Planning EC Committee on the Status of Women10 - Social and Urban Affairs, HBEnglish Proposes health insurance providers used by churches, dioceses and church-related agencies provide coverage for infertility treatment, as costs can range from $1500 per cycle to $12,000.

  • Action is to concur. 

A013: Study Genetically Modified Food Crops: Genetics SC on Anglican and Int'l Peace with Justice Concerns09 - National and International Concerns, HDEnglish Calls for policy allowing Office of Government Relations to respond to Congressional farm bills and other federal policy or legislation. These issues may address global economic development, environment, sustainable agriculture, health and nutrition.

  • Action is to concur.

B008: Focusing on Those Living in Poverty: Poverty The Rt. Rev. J. Michael Garrison10 - Social and Urban Affairs, HBEnglish Calls for agendas for all meetings in 2013 to begin with question: “How will what we are doing here affect or involve those living in poverty?”

  • Action is to concur, discharge.

C038: Relief for the Homeless and Poor :Poverty Bethlehem10 - Social and Urban Affairs, HBEnglish Proposes that parishes and dioceses discern the Church’s call to homeless and poor today, seeking to “change systems that limit society’s potential for achieving a just distribution of the necessary means of life.”

  • Committee recommends to concur - discharge.

C086: Poverty El Camino Real 10 - Social and Urban Affairs, HBEnglish Seeks to uncover the cultural and economic systems that keep individuals locked in persistent poverty, its root cause, and work with communities to advocate for change.

  • Committee recommends to concur - discharge.

Are there any other resolutions you think we should be tracking? 

Stay tuned for updates throughout the convention. Follow us at @episcopalhealth and on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/episcopalhealthministries.org.

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I am thrilled to announce a new contributor to NEHM: Terra Hoskins. One message I heard at our national conference in May was the desire for more focused communication. As a result of those conversations, I have asked Terra to generate content for our blog, assist with managing our social network communications, and provide support for our overall communications strategies. You will be hearing much more from Terra in the coming months. Here is her first blog post for NEHM. Welcome, Terra! 
-Matthew Ellis, CEO of NEHM

 “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
- Proverbs 17:22

It seems downright silly that by telling a joke, watching a comedy or sharing a story, you could be fighting disease and healing. But laughter is a powerhouse when it comes to good health.


When you laugh, you fight inflammation, stimulate endorphins and boost your immune system, among other benefits. It’s the one prescription celebrated integrative physician Dr. Frank Lipmann says he’s happy to disperse. 

How does laughter make you well? The medical community has researched physiological and psychological effects of laughter; the science behind laughter’s transformative nature is interesting, but you reap the benefits whether or not you understand why it works. The biggest surprise to me was finding out that you actually experience greater healing power when laughter is shared.

Laughter is healing; laughter is social.

Incorporating laughter into a health ministry is like adding vegetables to a healthy meal: it makes a healthy thing even healthier. As you develop your health ministry, think of ways to bring together people of all ages to have fun. In a group setting, laughter is bound to happen:

  • Group storytelling. Create a story one person--and sentence--at a time. The story will get more ridiculous, and the fun is to see what each person adds.
  • Volunteering at the Humane Society. Animals are great healers and comforters. And they can be silly when they’re happy. What makes them happiest? The opportunity to play with you!
  • Children’s performance. Kids say and do the darndest things; whether its singing, a play or sports-related, watching kids put on a show can be hilarious.
  • Sing-a-long with the older adults. My grandmother couldn’t converse with me or remember who I was due to dementia, but I watched, stunned, that she sang every lyric to every polka the assisted living activity director played. Watch the elderly light up and get swept up in the laughter of their memories.
  • Improvisation games. There are many good ones to choose from, but improvisation helps people engage and create funny situations. The trick is to be in the moment and free your mind. Whether you play or just watch, there is guaranteed laughter.
  • Game night. Any excuse to bring people together and relate brings the potential for laughter. Whether you play Pictionary, Trivial Pursuit or Go Fish, the act of connecting provides emotional healing, a sense of belonging.

These are just a few ideas you may want to consider. What ideas are generating belly laughs in your health ministry?

Terra Hoskins contributes to the NEHM and NEAC blog on a freelance basis. Drawing from a background in sales, communications and Internet marketing, she helps organizations create an online presence and use the Internet to expand business. Follow Terra on her blog: http://terrahoskins.com and on Twitter: @terrahoskins.

by Matthew Ellis   |   comments
<h1><a href="/blog/a-gift-from-indianapolis-to-general-convention-cleaner-air">A Gift from Indianapolis to General Convention: Cleaner Air!</a></h1>

Headquartered in Indianapolis, I've watched in dismay as Indianapolis has tried for years to enact smoke-free air policies similar to those in nearly every other major city in America (and then some), while failing each time. It has been a real struggle, for reasons that were at times impossible to decipher. However, as of June 1, Indianapolis is now smoke-free in (almost**) all workplaces, including bars and restaurants! 

When I started working with NEHM in 2007, one of the very first groups I was asked to join was the Hoosier Faith & Health Coalition. This group of statewide health agencies and faith communities has worked hard to address tobacco use in our state, which has one of the highest rates of tobacco use in the country. We worked hard in coordination with groups like Faith United Against TobaccoCampaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, SmokeFree Indy, and Indiana Tobacco Prevention and Cessation to educate legislators and public about the need for smoke-free communities. We have participated in events like Kick Butts Day and Knock Tobacco Out of the Park, among others. 

It's been a long, difficult process but I'm thrilled to let you know that when you come to General Convention in our beloved city, you will be able to walk into any bar or restaurant without breathing smoke-filled air. We're still getting used to it ourselves, but the response appears to be overwhelmingly positive so far. 

Vinny DeMarco of Faith United Against Tobacco has been one of the national leaders on this initiative. It was a real joy to be with him in Washington DC for the Let's Move! meeting and to be able to share with him that Indianapolis has taken tremendous steps toward protecting our workers and communities. 

So when you come to General Convention, know that you will have one advantage our friends who visited during the Super Bowl earlier this year did not: cleaner air!

Don't forget: If you are a nurse who would like to volunteer with NEHM during General Convention, please let us know!

**The 'almost comprehensive' refers to the fact that some cigar and hookah bars, as well as some private clubs, are exempted from the ordinance. 

Some resources in addition to those linked above: