Caring for all

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Faith Community Health Ministry program affiliated with Carolinas HealthCare System (CHS) serves these faith communities to promote health, wellness and healing through education and spiritual support.
Led by trained faith community nurses or faith community health promoters, patients learn that self-care and helping others are parts of responsible stewardship. In this role, they teach individuals how to communicate with their doctors, other healthcare providers, religious leaders and their families.
Patients are encouraged to learn how to manage chronic medical conditions, prevent illness and enjoy a healthier lifestyle. Since many people regularly attend meetings within their faith community to seek a better life through fellowship, these meetings are also natural connection for wellness.
“One approach we have implemented over the past year with our faith community partners is called Live Abundantly,” shares Pam Hurley, RN,Director of Faith Community Health Ministry.  “The Live Abundandantly program helps members in making choices that will maintain or improve physical, emotional, or spiritual health through structured challenges around exercise, nutrition and other initiatives  We have witnessed many success stories this past year such as stated by Preston Karriker, 82 who states that he now meets at the church to walk and that this has allowed him to get to know others in the church better.  Also, Mike Bebber from Concordia Lutheran states that the program has allowed him to be able to ask questions regarding health issues and that it is helpful to him to “have a go-to person” in the church. Henry Goodnight also from the same church states that he now walks three times a week and receives education about health related topics as well.  Carolyn Hogan, a member of Kannapolis Church of God, states that prior to the Live Abundantly program she could only walk a short distance without becoming short of breath and that now she has lost over 30lbs.  she can walk two miles a day.  She states that this is “nothing short of a miracle”.
Helping those in need
Faith community nurses have several roles: health educator, advocate, referral source and integrator of faith and health. They train volunteers to take on various roles with the health ministry team. Every faith community with a health ministry has unique programs that address its particular needs. “It’s an idea that makes a lot of sense,” says Carol Hovey, RN, BSN, health ministry coordinator. “Prevention has to take place out- side of the hospital. The hospital doesn’t usually have the long-term relationship with patients that a faith community has with its members
For information about creating a health ministry in your faith community, call 704-403-4484 or visit to watch a video about the program.