Historical Perspective of Parish Nursing in Canada
Revised January 2022
The concept of parish nursing began in Europe, arriving in the United States in the mid. 1980’s, and spreading to Canada less than a decade later, as early as 1992. Thousands of nurses are currently active in the ministry. As interest in this ministry began to grow across Canada and as parish nursing began to be practiced in various locations, there was a need to bring the people and organizations involved together for the purpose of networking and establishing common purposes and strategies.
March 27, 1998
A conference call, organized by the Salvation Army and the Catholic Health Association of Canada, was held with 12 persons involved in parish nursing from across Canada. The topic of the meeting was: Parish Nursing: Is it time to look at it from a National Perspective? The group discussed how to further parish nursing nationally as a way for the church to be involved in developing healthier communities. It was agreed that those attending the Bethany Care Society Parish Nurse meeting in Calgary, AB in May would meet to continue the dialogue.
May 15, 1998
A meeting was held the day after the conference in Calgary, AB. The representatives from The Salvation Army and the Catholic Health Association of Canada facilitated the meeting. Eleven people were in attendance. The group formed itself into the Canadian Parish Nurse Ministry Steering Committee to oversee the organization of a national symposium in Toronto for August 1998. An invitation to known shareholders to attend the symposium was sent out.
August 21-23, 1998
An Invitational National Symposium on Parish Nursing held in Toronto. ON. Approximately forty persons, representing parish nurses, nurse educators, theological educators, faith communities and other interested organizations from across the country, participated in what is now recognized as the founding meeting for this national organization. At this meeting, discussion groups on Identity, Standards, Education, Structure, and Sponsorship/Funding were held. Fundamental initiatives were set into motion as a result of this founding meeting. The Canadian Parish Nurse Ministry Forum was established with a Coordinating Committee of eight persons elected for a one year term.
This committee was mandated to:
- pursue the feasibility of establishing national education guidelines for parish nursing education
- pursue the feasibility of establishing national standards of practice for parish nursing
- formulate a proposed structure for the governance of a new organization.
April 26-28, 1999
The Second Canadian Parish Nurse Ministry Forum, held in Calgary, AB. The same topics and issues discussed at the first forum were further developed and updated. Thirty one participants attended the forum. The forum defined and approved the mission statement, vision statement, guiding principles, and goals of the Canadian Parish Nurse Ministry Forum. It articulated a definition of the parish nurse, and the role of the parish nurse. It was decided that the forum would be represented by a six member coordinating committee.
June 23-25, 2000
Annual Convention at the University of New Brunswick, in Fredericton, NB. There were 51 participants. This convention finalized the work on Identity, and continued the work on Education, Standards of Practice, and Funding. In addition, draft by-laws were reviewed. The annual gathering would henceforth be called the annual convention of the Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry.
May 5-6, 2001
Annual Convention in Calgary, AB. By-laws for a new corporation were approved by the membership in attendance at Nakoda Lodge north of the city of Calgary. There were 45 in attendance. The Education Committee identified and presented the core learning competencies necessary for parish nurses. After discussion they were accepted and presented to the board as a working document for two (2) years. Standards of practice continued to be developed within these committees and further sharing and discussion followed.
December 24, 2001
The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry (CAPNM) becomes incorporated.
May 24 – 26, 2002
Annual Convention and General Meeting in Ottawa, ON. There were 88 in attendance at the Ottawa City Hall. Work completed to date on Education and Standards of Practice guidelines was reviewed and will continue to be developed. A Membership committee and an Archive committee were formed. Application has been made for Charitable Status.
May 30, 31, June 1, 2003
Annual Convention and General Meeting in Moncton, NB. There were 60 in attendance at the School of Nursing, Jacqueline Bouchard building.
The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry has been granted charitable status and is now a registered charity. A draft Standards of Practice for Parish Nurses document was received by the membership. Information packages were given to members to promote membership in CAPNM.
May 28 to 30, 2004
Annual Convention and General meeting in Saskatoon, SK. There were 87 in attendance at the Quality Inn. The annual report package sent to the membership early in May included The Core Learning Competencies and Standards of Practice for Parish Nursing, audited statements, and reports from the committee. Membership has risen to more than 140 members. The web page at www.capnm.ca continues to be developed.
May 27 to 29, 2005
Annual Convention and General Meeting was held at the 89 Chestnut St. Residence of the University of Toronto beginning with a Thursday evening Labyrinth walk followed by Friday and Saturday sessions. Our theme was “Celebrating: Unity in Diversity!” Worship, closing and sending forth were held in the Chapel and Hall of Trinity College of the University of Toronto. There were 95 in attendance. Our membership is now at 190 with 22 organizations included in that number.
Dr. Lynn McDonald was our Keynote Speaker, educating us about Florence Nightingale, and Dr. Anne Simmonds led us in spiritual renewal. Florence Nightingale herself visited us at our Florence Nightingale Tea for Two on Saturday afternoon.
May 26 to 28, 2006
Annual Convention and General Meeting was held at the Maison N.D.A., Religieuses Hospitalières de St. Joseph, Bathurst, New Brunswick. There were 62 in attendance. The theme was “Navigating the Course of Parish Nursing Ministry: Love in Action”. Membership is at 166 members with 24 organizations included in that number. Dr. Megan McKenna, storyteller and world traveler, was our keynote speaker. A panel discussed having an effective Ministry Team. Gail Brimbecom presented on Documentation and Elsie Millerd led a session on Standards and Learning Competencies. Fundraising events included Tea for Two and Silent Auction held during the meetings. Committees met for work sessions to continue with the goals of each committee. Delegates chose one of Research, Visibility and Partnership, Interfaith Dialogue, Funding, Membership and Education and then met to discuss furthering their work.
Priorities and future directions for Committees and Board for 2006-07 will be as follows:
- Review definitions and statements
- Develop easy to use official statement of who we are as parish nurses
- Clarify definitions
- Research – Who are we? Are we making a difference?
- Establish links with Parish Nurse Education programs
Delegates were treated to a Historic Fashion Show, A lobster dinner, Acadian Village Tour, Nepisiquit Museum Tour, and wonderful meals at the Maison N.D.A., Sacred Heart Cathedral and Central United Church in Clifton, NB.
May 25 – 27, 2007
One hundred delegates to the 9th Annual Conference and General Meeting of The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry met in Edmonton at the University of Alberta, Lister Conference Centre, May 25th to 27th, 2007. The theme was “Parish Nursing: Harvests of Compassion”. Wheat was used as a symbol of the theme. Successful fund-raising events included our 3rd annual silent auction and our 3rd annual Tea for two. Provincial delegates met for lunch in table groups according to province to get to know each other and to assist in forming provincial networks. Our current membership is 195; which includes 24 organizations. At five times during the meetings time was devoted to the Annual General Meeting of CAPNM, the election of Board members and also focus work by the committees planning for the coming year.
As a result of the committee work the focus for the work of the CAPNM Board of Directors for 2007-2008 will be:
- To continue to affirm who we are as The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry through the work of all our committees,
- Continue research
- Review Standards and Competencies and the CAPNM Bylaws
- Increase membership and visibility
- Explore and implement methods that will achieve sustainable funding
- Translate our documents into French
- Encourage provincial interest groups
- Communicate with schools of nursing and denominations
Keynote Speakers were Dr. Joanne Olson, Parish Nurse at Riverbend United Church Edmonton and Dr. Margaret Clark, authors of “Nursing Within a Faith Community”. Their theme was “Seeds of Compassion in the Springtime of Harvest.” Plenary Session One with speakers Karen Bridges, Riverbend United Church, Edmonton and Pastor Dalton Grant, McLaurin Memorial Baptist Church, spoke on “Rituals of Healing and Healing Services”. Plenary Session Two with Dr. Allan Effa, Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies, Taylor University College spoke on “Reclaiming the Healing Mission of the Church” Breakout Sessions included Dr. John Taylor, MD, Medical Services, Workers’ ng. CAPNM has been accepted as an Associate Member of the Canadian Nurses Association in May 2007.Compensation Board, Alberta speaking on Pandemic Flu Preparedness, and Pastor Lee Woolery, Lutheran Church of Our Saviour, Calgary, AB with Ms Diana Kemp RN MN Chair Health Ministry Committee, Riverbend United Church talking about the Role of Health Ministry Committees in the Development of Parish Nurse Ministry Programs.
Closing Worship on Pentecost Sunday, May 27, 2007 centred on the theme “Harvest of Compassion Going Forth”. Rt. Rev.Victoria Matthews, Bishop, Anglican Diocese of Edmonton led this service of peace and healing with Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson, United Church of Christ assisting. CAPNM has been accepted as an Associate Member of the Canadian Nurses Association in May 2007.
May 29 – June 1, 2008
One hundred delegates to the 10th Annual General Meeting and Conference of The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry met at the Elmhurst Inn and Country Spa in Ingersoll, Ontario. The theme was Parish Nursing – Healing ‘Art’. Successful fund-raising events included our 4th annual silent auction and our 4th annual Tea for Two. Provincial delegates met for lunch in table groups according to province to get to know each other and to assist in forming provincial networks. Our current membership is 195; which includes 23 organizations. At five times during the meetings, time was devoted to the Annual General Meeting of CAPNM, the election of Board Members, several bylaw changes, and also focus work by the committees to plan for the coming year.As a result of the committee work the focus for the work of the CAPNM Board of Directors for 2008-2009 will be:
- To continue to affirm who we are as The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry through the work of all our committees,
- Continue research
- Increase membership and visibility
- Explore and implement methods that will achieve sustainable funding
- Continue to Translate and distribute our French documents
- Encourage provincial interest groups
- Continue to communicate with all schools of nursing and denominations
Keynote Speakers Dr. David and Juliet Benner, Victoria BC, were inspiring to all as they presented their workshop on- “Paintings and Texts”, Spirituality and Health in Healers and the Healing Arts – David, Healing Art –Juliet- an experiential session—Look & Live—looking at paintings in a posture of relaxed openness and learning to see God in it. God carries us and enables us to carry others; and Four Spiritual Practices that Nourish Life- Awareness of God, Wonder – take time to see, Embrace reality.
Inspiring Saturday breakout sessions included:
- Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson, St. Louis MI -The Art of Writing
- Rev. Dr. Lonnie Atkinson, Ingersoll, ON – The Art of Music
- Sharon Barrick, London, ON – Prayer Shawl Ministry©
- Mary Jane Bissett, Goderich, ON – Creating a Spirituality Centre
- Karen Marks, Claremont, ON – The Labyrinth as Healing Art
Spiritually uplifting pictures presented by photographer Carl Hiebert at the Elmhurst Inn on Friday evening, and a moving concert by Glen Soderholm on Saturday evening at St. Paul’s Presbyterian restored our souls.
Healing worship at St. Paul’s Presbyterian Church, Ingersoll on Sunday morning June 1 was led by Rev. Dr. Lonnie Atkinson, assisted by Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson, Karen Marks and Fran Hudson. Ritual hand-washing cleansed and prepared us for our return to our ministries across the country.
May 21 – 24, 2009
Ninety-five Parish Nurses, interested individuals and clergy met at the Park Town Hotel on the South Saskatchewan River in downtown Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The theme for this year was “Bridging Spirituality and Health”. The worship team consisted of Bob Williston, Rev. David Tyler, and Rev. David Hunter. Deacon Bob Williston, Mission Educator, Catholic Health Association of Saskatchewan, wrote the conference Hymn called “We’ll Build a Bridge”. Opportunities for visiting and fellowship were welcomed by all. Worship was deep and moving led by Rev. Harold Hesje, Rev. David Hunter, Rev. Dave Tyler, Bob Williston, and Margaret Hundeby. Parish Nurse Stories were told by Mary Tyler, Sr. Carol Borreson, Carol Kostiuk, Judy Johnson, Deb Bauche and Ethna Martin, and Judy Hertlein, members of the Saskatoon Parish Nurse Group. Joyce Beckett and Judy Johnson were co chairs for the conference planning group. Activities included Poster Presentations, Tea for Two, identifying graduation pictures of the parish nurses – not an easy task!, and a raffle of a beautiful painting of one of the seven bridges in Saskatoon, a hand knitted Aran sweater were two of the items. The Silent Auction was successful again this year. Our current membership is 156 members including 16 member organizations.
The conference objectives were:
- Through exciting and expert presenters, participation in thought-provoking concurrent sessions and networking in a spiritually caring environment, to:
- Explore together the bridge between spirituality, health and healing both in worship and theological reflection.
- Share innovative ideas and excellence in the practice of parish nursing.
- Provide opportunities for parish nurses, clergy, congregational members and others to network.
- Provide time for self care through fun, laughter and fellowship.
- Enable participants to appreciate different developmental states of parish nurse ministry in Canada and world wide.
- Appreciate cultural diversity as it relates to spirituality and healing.
- Discuss roles of parish nurses.
- Fr. Michael Brehl, C.Ss.R, the provincial leader of Edmonton Toronto Redemptorists Community, ‘Bridges to Healing Ministry’
- Jeff Christianson, B. Psych & Rel.St., M.Th, spoke on ‘Bridges to the Community’.
- Don and Pat Peake, B.Th. & R.N. ‘Bridges to Parish Nursing’
Participating in the Panel Discussion were Fr. Michael Brehl, and Jeff Christianson.
Some key thoughts were:
- The last step in the ministry of presence is to disappear.
- Parish nursing provides the space where you can meet the people. We are the hands and feet of Jesus.
- The ‘church’ is the body of Christ, not the institution….language is critical. Narrative about inclusion and abundant love. Then we will enter the healing space.
- Parish Nurse Clergy Team Ministry – Don and Pat Peake
- Ethical Issues: Father Mark Miller, Toronto, ON
- Stories that Heal: Megan McKenna
- Building Global Bridges for Sharing: Promising Practices in Health Ministries, with Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson, IPNRC, St. Louis, MOABC’s of Parish Nursing: Dr. Gail Brimbecom
- Complementary Care for Survivors: Carol Kostiuk
- Bridging Across Generations: Candace Laing, Director People Strategies SIAST
Our first “Parish Nurse Walk” was by the Saskatchewan River on lovely landscaped trails and raised more than $6900 to support Parish Nursing in Saskatchewan and The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry.
On Sunday May 24, 2009 morning worship was led by Pastor Dave Hunter, the theme: Planted in God, Growing in Christ, and Bearing the Fruit of the Spirit. The Parish Nursing Prayer was shared and the Meditation was given by Rev. Dr. Deborah Patterson. Gathered prayers of the community…written on sheets of paper over the conference worship times by members of the community were offered up. This was followed by the Blessing of the Hands for all present. Worship closed with the Hymn:
“Go My children with my Blessing”
“Go in Peace and Serve the Lord”
May 6 – 8, 2010
Fifty–two parish nurses, clergy and interested individuals travelled to the Coast Plaza Hotel and Suites in beautiful Vancouver British Columbia to participate in the 12th Annual General Meeting and Conference of The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry.For the first time in our history we partnered with Providence Health Care in their third biennial spirituality conference. The theme was ‘Spirituality, The Invisible Ingredient in Health and Healing’. It was an excellent opportunity to hear international speakers and provided a wonderful learning environment. Keynote Speaker: Larry R. Churchill, PhD, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN spoke about his research study of 50 face to face interviews with professionals and patients (2006 – 2007) on the eight key ingredients that promote healing. We learned that the essence of healing is presence. Kirby Kranabetter, BA, MA, Bruyere Continuing Care, Ottawa, ON – ‘Lord my life is too easy—famous last words and what I’ve learned journeying from a hospital bed to a hospital chaplain’ was an inspiring motivational speaker.
Marion Briggs, Providence Health Care, Vancouver, BC presented ‘The Spirit of Leadership’, with many inspiring comments on leading a critical care team in downtown Vancouver’s St. Paul’s Hospital.
There were nineteen concurrent sessions to choose from on Thursday, May 6 and Friday, May 7, 2010. Five members of The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry presented breakout sessions as follows:
- Janine Ballingall Scotten, Winnipeg, MB: It IS all about you! The Art of Self-Care
- Vicky Knight Baby Boomers, Fredericton, NB: Health and Spirituality
- Michelle O’Rourke, Chatham, ON: Befriending Death: A Spirituality of Dying
- Dr. Paul Schoepp, Edmonton, AB: Parish Nursing: Linking Faith and Health for Wholeness
In the evening on Thursday we met for the first part of our AGM welcoming members from across Canada, including Whitehorse YT and New Brunswick too. A PowerPoint presentation on the history of Parish Nursing in Canada over the past twelve years was presented by Darlene Dawson, Calgary AB, the chair of the CAPNM Board of Directors. Our slate of nominations for 2010 2011 was presented by Sr. Ernestine LaPlante, Bathurst, NB. Delicious finger foods were a welcome feature as we met on the 35th floor of the Coast Plaza Hotel, enjoying a marvellous view of Vancouver and English Bay.
On Friday evening after the close of the Providence Health Care Spirituality Conference we joined together at the ‘A – Mazing Laughter Statues’ for our second annual “Walk for Parish Nursing” along the edge of English Bay.
Before our banquet we enjoyed greetings from ten different representatives from parish nursing organizations and individuals, including Dick Cathell from St. Joseph’s Heath Care in Bellingham, Washington.
Ray Blyth presented a historical scrap book to Darlene Dawson featuring pictures and programs from the 11 previous Annual General Meetings and conferences of CAPNM. We will display this at our annual conferences.
The Silent Auction was a great opportunity to view the many items from across Canada and to bid on them in support of our organization. A really wonderful buffet dinner was enjoyed by all.
The ‘NoshitShirleys’ entertained us following the dinner. The Shirleys are an all-female acapella septet that pack a real punch that fight back against injustice, intolerance, hopelessness and despair, singing everything from Cuban Carnival music and tragic Russian Love songs to sweet Mandarin flirtations and wrenching Appalachian protests. Their mission is to promote joy, love, and happiness through singing and –if possible – to save the world.
Saturday was a full day of Annual General Meeting with new board of directors: Rev. Lee Woolery, Darlene Dawson, Carol Rose Kudelka, Vicky Knight, and Judy McIntosh installed by Sr. Ernestine LaPlante, and two outgoing directors recognized: Betty Behm and Heather Cushing. The Standards Committee position paper “The Parish Nurse is a Registered Nurse’ was thoroughly discussed and passed by a vote of the membership present. Work Groups were formed and the work of our committees and direction for the Board of Directors for the year ahead was formulated.
Meaningful and reverent worship was led by Rev. Norm Pettersson and Bruce Harding, Music Minister at Crossroads United Church, Delta, BC led us in music and song. We ended our meetings renewed and refreshed and anxious to return to our ministries.
June 17 – 19, 2011
Moncton, New Brunswick – 65 parish nurses and interested individuals gathered at Crandall University for the 13th Annual General Meeting and Conference. The theme was ‘The Power of Caring Through Shifting Tides’, exploring the tides of life and the impact of caring through prayer, sharing and stories. Our keynote speakers were Reverend Dr. Deborah Patterson, ‘Navigating the Tides of Change’ and Nancy Nason-Clark spoke ‘Shattering the Holy Hush on Domestic Violence: Harnessing the Power of Caring in Faith Communities’. Morning concurrent sessions included guided question and discussion with Dr. Deb Patterson, ‘Keeping Afloat: Compassionate Self-Care within the Tides of Life’ with Lid Haugen-Strand, ‘True Presence with People Living with Depression’ with Karen Ursel, The Caring Journey in Final Days with Yvonne Reicker, and ‘Formation de Benevoles Compatissantes avec Jacqueline LeBlanc.
A second set of concurrent sessions followed in the afternoon: ‘Support and Advocacy for Lone Mothers after Leaving Intimate Partner Violence’ with Lynne Duffy, ‘the Caring Journey in Final Days’, with Yvonne Reicker, and ‘Training the Caring Volunteer’ with Jacqueline LeBlanc.
Although Saturday was a rainy day many of the members participated in the 3rd annual Walk for Parish Nursing at a nearby natural park. The walk was followed by a royal Tea For Two with Dr. Angela Bardeesy dressed as the Queen and Sr. Ernestine LaPlante as Jeanne Mance and was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
The Silent Auction was once more a resounding success with many interesting items from members across Canada.
Recognition was given by Darlene Dawson, outgoing chair, to the past Coordinator Fran Hudson for her work on behalf of CAPNM over the past 10 years and good wishes for her retirement from the position.
The Annual General Meeting was held on Saturday. Work Group meetings were an opportunity for each of the committees to discuss their future planning for the work in the year ahead. The elections were held and the Board installed. Recognition was given to the outgoing board members, and the elected members were installed as follows:
- Mary Shaw – Organizational Director, Kathy Matusiak – Parish Nurse
- Sister Ernestine LaPlante was appointed Director at Large.
An invitation was received from the organizing committee to attend the 14th AGM and Conference in Ottawa, Ontario May 9 to 11, 2012, ‘Parish Nursing and Social Justice, a Capital Idea’.
The work of the board for 2011-2012 was established from the work group future directions: increase membership, work on sustainable funding projects, ensure awareness of standards and competencies, continue and develop research on parish nursing, review the bylaws for any updates for next AGM in Ottawa, update the educational resource on the website and maintain contact with the various schools of nursing and parish nursing programs are some general directions for the work of the board and committees.
Meaningful worship was conducted during the conference and was inspiring to all. We all left for home and some for vacation with a renewed sense of purpose and commitment to parish nursing.
May 11 – 13, 2012
Ottawa, Ontario Approximately sixty parish nurses, clergy and interested individuals gathered at the Lord Elgin Hotel in the heart of downtown Ottawa, for the 14th Annual General Meeting and Conference of The Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry. The Theme was “Parish Nursing and Social Justice”. Our keynote speakers were Dr. Jeffrey Turnbull, Chief of Medicine at the Ottawa Hospital, past president of the Canadian Medical Association and co-founder and Medical Director of Ottawa Inner-city Health and also practices internal medicine at The Ottawa Hospital and at several shelters. Second keynote speaker was Reverend Dr. Barbara Robinson, Rector of St. Paul’s Anglican Church, Brockville Ontario, and is a former Salvation Army Officer who founded parish nursing in Ottawa and inspired us to continue our work in parish nursing. Many other speakers contributed to the educational component of the event. Dr. Alwyn Moyer, author, spoke on chronic disease self management. Reverend Trisha Elliott, Minister of Carleton Memorial United Church facilitated group discussions related to a ministry team that included parish nurse Jeannette Rooney-Ozols. Marion Wright spoke on Building Respect, Resilience and Recovery in our communities in relation to mental health. Elsie Millerd presented a PowerPoint presentation on “Out of the Cold Health Support” in Waterloo On, Anne Marie Webster and Fran Hudson presented a workshop on Mentoring the Parish Nurse, and a panel including Patricia Barret-Robillard, Jeannette Rooney-Oozols, Judy McIntosh and Trish Elliott spoke of their parish nursing experiences and ministries.
A concert by the very entertaining FROGS (Fully Rely on God), a musical group from Riverside United Church and the Anglican Church of the Resurrection followed a wonderful dinner on Saturday evening.
The Tea for Two, visited by Lady Elgin (Mary Shaw), the Walk for Parish Nursing, Silent Auction and Salem book sales raised substantial funds to be primarily used for the development of parish nursing.
Work Groups on Education, Standards, Bylaws, Research and Fundraising met together on Saturday afternoon to establish their direction for the coming year.
The Annual General Meeting was held throughout our time together over the three days and board of directors was elected. New members elected to the board were; Sr. Ernestine LaPlante (East parish nurse), Judy McIntosh (Central parish nurse), Vicky Knight (East organizational director), Brenda Gervais (West, parish nurse), Fr. Mark Miller, Faith Director. Ethna Martin was appointed by the board as director from the west. Bylaws were updated and financial reports and budget for 2013 were approved. The Board in planning for the future will be looking for a group to host the 2013 AGM and Conference and also the 2014 AGM and Conference.
Meaningful worship was conducted throughout the conference and all were inspired to continue their work in ministry and in developing parish nursing across our great land.
June 6 – 9, 2013
Rothesay, NB. Approximately sixty parish nurses, clergy, health council members and interested individuals gathered from across Canada at the Villa Madonna Retreat House and Conference Centre, in Rothesay, New Brunswick for the 15th Annual General Meeting and Conference of the Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry, (CAPNM). Our theme this year was Ethical and Mental Health Issues. Father Mark Miller was our keynote speaker on Christian Ethics on Friday morning. Currently at work in Toronto as the Superior of his Redemptorist province as well as a part-time ethicist at the Centre for Clinical Ethics at St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s Hospitals, Toronto, ON. He is passionate about Catholic and faith-bases health care, palliative/hospice care, and parish nursing.
Afternoon Concurrent sessions were as follows:
- Methadone Clinics: Effects on the Community, was presented by Dr. Timothy Christie, Regional Director of Ethics Services for Horizon Health Network in New Brunswick and adjunct professor in the Department of Bioethics at Dalhousie University and a Lecturer in the Department of Humanities and Languages and UNBSJ, teaches for the Philosophy Department at UNB (Fredericton, NB) and supervises graduate students.
- Mental Health Challenges: Recovery and the Parish Nurse was presented by Mr. Stephen Van Slyke, RN/MN, a member of the Faculty of Nursing at the University of new Brunswick in Fredericton and has worked in the area of psychiatric and mental health nursing for over 26 years. Four excellent poster presentations informed the assembly on several topics of interest.
Tea for two was an exciting and fun event–Mad Hatter Tea theme. Following tea, Anne Somers, SCIC presented Spirituality and You. Sr. Anne is a Sister of Charity IC, Meditator, Educator, Facilitator, Spiritual Director, and Retreat Director.
The Annual General Meeting took place during the day on Saturday with a review and editing of our Bylaws in preparation for the requirements of the Government of Canada for charities. A new board was elected with Mary Shaw agreeing to be Chair for 2013-2014. Kathy Matusiak retired as chair, Sr. Ernestine LaPlante, and Judy McIntosh also retired from the board, having completed their terms. Elected to the board were Ethna Martin, Roz Thompson, Mary Shaw. Nancy Loucks was appointed as director at large. Remaining on the board to complete their terms are Brenda Gervais, Fr. Mark Miller, and Vicky Knight.
We enjoyed our Walk for Parish Nursing, worship on Friday morning was Mary’s Way of the Cross, and Evening Prayers with Very Rev. Keith Joyce (Dean of Fredericton) officiating at our ecumenical worship. We enjoyed the Korean Youth Orchestra and their excellent offering of music for worship on Thursday evening. A Lobster dinner was the highlight of our stay and topped the excellent meals cooked by the staff at Villa Madonna. We were well cared for in every way.
Sunday afternoon everyone departed renewed and energized for their ministries.
June 5 – 8, 2014
Redeemer University College, Ancaster, ON CAPNM members and those interested in parish nursing gathered together at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, ON. Our theme, “Embracing Accessibility –The role of the Christian Community and the Parish Nurse”, was carried throughout the weekend and was highlighted on our educational/conference day.
A small committee worked hard to host an event we hope provided education, networking, and support for the life and work of parish nursing in Canada.
We were richly blessed in many areas:
- The CAPNM AGM ran smoothly and efficiently under the leadership of the Chair, Mary Shaw.
- Knowledgeable and excellent presentations and discussions took place with our guest presenters.
- We had beautiful weather for walking back and forth from the town houses, enjoying the Royal Botanical Gardens, and the outdoor barbecue.
- Bountiful food was enjoyed, prepared by Redeemer University staff.
- Meaningful and thoughtful worship in word and song took place over the weekend.
- We met old friends and made new ones.
Our planning committee met for 11 Skype meetings, had frequent e-mail contacts and met five times with three trips to Redeemer for planning. It was a busy time for me, Mary White, and the rest of the team; Rev. Marilyn Gratz, Ola Aderinboye, Melody Whitehead and Suzanne Bourique (finances).
Etna Martin was the liaison with the CAPNM Board. Katie Cunnington generously offered help as required with the many questions and support I needed. It was a learning experience, and I was very grateful for all those who stepped forward to share knowledge and helped in any way before and during the conference. Thank-you!
We had 86 in attendance throughout parts of the weekend, with 45 people staying on site in residence. For the first time, there were representatives from Quebec. Each residence received a fruit basket and other goodies to enjoy. The campus was a busy place with graduations and dance recitals taking place, all adding to the experience.
Our conference opened Thurs-day evening with a reception. Beautiful back ground music was provided by the Soenen Sisters, a trio of harp and cellos. A lovely table snack table was set up and people were given the opportunity to meet and visit with each other. After officially welcoming everyone and introducing the Planning Committee, I introduced Dr. Neil Cudney, who gave opening remarks as one of the plenary speakers.
Friday morning began with a time of opening worship. The day continued with our annual general meeting. Mid afternoon we were able to stretch our legs with a bus trip to part of the Royal Botanical Gardens. We had a very slow, Hamilton traffic jam, ride back. Our barbecue supper was ready for us on the front grounds of Redeemer when we returned. This was an enjoyable time to eat, sit and relax. We continued our annual general meeting in the evening and closed with prayer.
Saturday was our busy conference day. The day started all together with worship and music led by Rev. Marilyn Gratz, our guest speaker, Chantal Huinink and worship leader Kerry Bates. We then had opening comments and thoughts from our three plenary speakers, Dr. Neil Cudney, Dr. Michael Hryniuk, and Dr. Tom Reynolds-all working in the field of theology and on issues of people with disabilities.
Attendees then broke off into small classrooms where they could hear one of the speakers or other presenters: Melodie Bissell M.Div., or Michelle O’Rourke RN,MA. There was a display room to visit where sponsors shared their information pertinent to parish nursing and the conference theme. There was a book display and sale by the Grand River Book Store. The afternoon fire alarm did cause us to have to shorten down some time, but our parish nurse for the day and others got to see firsthand some of the evacuation process for people with disabilities. Thankfully it was a false alarm. We completed the afternoon with a lively panel discussion with all participants.
The evening banquet was a time of visiting, sharing, and door prizes. The door prizes were donated from various individuals, groups and churches. Father Mark Miller led us in prayer before the meal and later gave comments on parish nursing. After the banquet Kerry Bates led hymns and songs of praise where everyone joined in. Chantal Huinink, our guest speaker, closed out the evening with her passionate presentation, sharing some of her story and her passion about fostering the faith development of people with disabilities.
Early Sunday morning Father Mark Miller held mass. Closing annual meeting business was then completed and the new CAPNM board was introduced. An ecumenical worship service was conducted by Rev. Marilyn Gratz and Dr. Neil Cudney. The story of the four friends bringing the man to Jesus was part of the message-“Seeing Their Faith.” A blessing of hands was held to close our time of worship together.
Lunch followed and people packed up and headed on their journeys with their memories of the week-end.
Mary White, Chair
June 11 – 14, 2015
Queen’s House Retreat and Renewal Center, Saskatoon, SK On behalf of the Co-Chairs (Ruth Black) and myself (Carol Kostiuk) as well as the Saskatchewan Planning Committee (Sr. Carol Borreson, Cathy Gallaugher, Harold and Elaine Hesje, Ethna Martin and Laura Van Loon), we would like to sincerely thank all 70 participants who attended our 17th annual CAPNM conference and AGM. Your participation (either by your presence or by your well wishes and prayers) made our Saskatchewan conference an awesome success!!
Our conference objectives evolved around our theme of Ethnic Diversity – Mirror of God’s Creativity. Megan McKenna’s awesome story of the glowing rock the husband gifted his wife ended with the poignant thought – If you want to glow in the dark, you must be exposed to the light!!
Bishop Emeritus Sylvan Lavoie spoke on many aspects of the Medicine Wheel. We need to mirror God’s own image by choosing love. We have to be responsible for making the choice to love, no one else can do it for us. In mirroring the wellness wheel, the perfect parent does not care about the result – only the journey.
Pastor Ali Toti discussed faith/health, health institutions/faith communities. We are not only dealing with health, but health inequities which need to be addressed. Righting those inequities should be the primary goal for all of us.
Michelle O’Rourke addressed end of life spiritual care and diversity. She reminded us no matter what background we come from, we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, we are spiritual beings having a human experience. It is our job to dignify that experience in the best way possible.
Fr. Mark Millar discussed ethical issues arising from awareness of different cultural practices. What happens if a right answer is reached, but everyone is unhappy? We must learn to listen to patients, families, Dr.’s and caregivers and to acknowledge both moral distress and moral residue.
Fr. Patrick Ampani, a Roman Catholic priest from Nigeria, discussed cultural awareness and integration. He shared his unique story and his personal journey of being a missionary priest from another country and the differences between the two religious cultures.
Denise Heppner spoke about advocacy for victims of human trafficking and how to recognize the mindset of both victim and perpetrators alike. The video she shared was heart breaking. If you would like to participate, Canada’s Freedom Climb will be held Aug 6 – 12, 2016 in Fernie, B.C
Alison Uitti presented personal reflections and anecdotes about teaching English as a second language in the school system. One of her stories included “Wall of Tears” which represented names of children who were sent to the “jail/residential” schools.
Our conference highlights included our welcome Thursday evening where we sampled amazing ethnic foods, we were serenaded by Zelco on classical guitar, and we touched base with many previous acquaintances. We were graced throughout the retreat with personal testimonies from a Sudanese, Congolese and a Metis woman which touched our hearts. Our afternoon “Tea-Ching” break came with fortune cookie teachings for everyone. The Blessing of Hands ceremony was very moving and enkindled our call to ministry of service. The Parish Nurse Walkathon netted $3000.00! Our Saturday evening banquet was filled with more ethnic foods and entertainment by Russian dancers/singers, hoop dancers and drummers, Corey on Steel Pan Drums as well as Megan McKenna’s ethnic stories – which may even have happened! I would also like to acknowledge Fr. Bernard De Margerie, who donated one of his books “In God’s Reconciling Grace”, for all attendees.
On a business note, the membership voted in several new Bylaw changes so that we could successfully file our Articles of Continuance, thus meeting the Federal government’s requirements to continue as a Not-For-Profit organization.
A complete financial report was sent to CAPNM. In a nutshell, we made approximately $20,000!!
We were very grateful for the gathering place by the beautiful Saskatchewan River in the tranquil setting at Queen’s House of Retreats. The wonderful worship spaces and grounds added much needed relaxation and peace to our time together. Thank you to Pastor Ron Bestvater and the many musicians, pastors and volunteers from many religious communities who made our worship moments meaningful and especially to Alison Uitti who lovingly composed a special hymn “All of Creation” for our conference.
All throughout Canada we are experiencing the need to bridge cultural differences, not only between ourselves, but also for the refugees and immigrants we encounter. Sometimes some things we take for granted is not the tradition in other countries, even though we practice the same faith. The significance of this years’ Parish Nurse Conference was the educational nourishment and nurturing we received, not only from our excellent educational speakers and each other, but ultimately by journeying together, enfolded in God’s love, protection, peace and blessings.
Thank you again for helping make this year’s Conference and AGM an awesome success. See you next year in Toronto (God willing and the creek don’t rise!)
Carol Kostiuk (Saskatchewan Co Chair)
June 2 – 5, 2016
University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto, ON The 2016 CAPNM Conference & AGM took place in Toronto at St. Michael’s College School from June 2-5, 2016. This annual gathering of Parish Nurses from across the country, together with others interested in Parish Nursing Ministry, is a much anticipated time of renewal and an opportunity to meet with friends, both old and new. There were 41 registered attendees with a few additional persons who attended for one day only.
The conference theme, “Embracing Life’s Rhythms – Loving God, Loving Neighbour, Loving Self” integrated sacred scriptures and music, supporting us to enter into a space of nurture – a space to express our love for God, others and ourselves.
The green oasis of the college grounds – overhanging trees, colourful gardens and historic buildings – helped to create a “time apart” in the centre of a vibrant and modern city.
The traditional Thursday evening gathering and reception was well attended and provided an opportunity to set the stage in worship and to meet with each other once again.
The keynote speaker for the conference was Wayne Muller, well-known speaker and author of several popular books on Sabbath rest and the importance of taking time apart for spiritual nurture and personal renewal. Wayne’s sessions provided provocative and insightful content, empowering participants to reflect on their life journey in new ways. Wayne reminded us that times of withdrawal and rest – Sabbath time – were essential and integral to Jesus’ ministry. For us as well, rest, reflection and self-care are important to the natural unfolding of the spiritual life. Wayne stated that “Keeping the Sabbath is not a suggestion, but a commandment.”
In his book, A Lfe of Being, Having and Doing Enough, Wayne talks of making “the next right choice” and the importance of support from others in our journey and our ministry; “…we simply cannot do this alone.
We will always need the support of good, honest friends. We are called to be strong companions and clear mirrors with one another…” Wayne’s books were available for sale throughout the conference.
On Friday, speakers from Romero House in Toronto shared the experiences of new immigrants working together to participate in the neighbourhood and to create communities of support and nurture. A sense of belonging and communal support seems to be at the heart of Romero House’s success in the transition and adjustment of new immigrants to Canada. They even played a You Tube video for us – A Street Named Wanda.
Friday was also a day for the business of CAPNM. Committee groups met to discuss future plans and goals for the coming year. It is never too late to join a committee and people’s opinions and ideas are always welcome.
The day ended with free time for participants to gather for a quiet dinner or to enjoy the University of Toronto campus. Many people chose to go out into “the city” for dinner and some exploration of the Big Smoke.
With a bagged lunch in hand, a Prayer Walk provided an opportunity to explore the city neighbourhood near the college. Participants had perfect weather to chat and re-energize.
Breakout sessions on Saturday afternoon were geared toward self-care with a variety of options to choose from. Speakers presented on Self Care Through Music, Holy Listening: The Art of Spiritual Direction; Prayer Shawl Knitting Circle, and Meditation for Wholistic Health.
Worship moments and worship services were interspersed throughout the conference; these times of praise, thanksgiving and worship helped to ground our time together firmly in Christ as the foundation of our ministries of care and compassion. An early morning Mass was led by Father Mark Miller on Sunday morning in the residence.
The AGM business was conducted in short, efficient segments and was led by the Board Chair, Ethna Martin of Saskatoon. On Saturday, a session exploring questions related to the timely and relevant topic of Physician Assisted Dying was facilitated by Father Mark Miller and the CAPNM Board.
The session was intended to open up conversation regarding Bill C-14 between our CAPNM members as we represent many different faiths and denominations.
The CAPNM Board is committed to continuing research and investigation into this topic through an Ad Hoc Committee of the Board and other interested CAPNM members (see the article in this newsletter for additional information).
Another new Ad Hoc Committee was also formed for the investigation into the rules around ownership and termination of patient files. Information from these two new Ad Hoc Committees will be shared with the membership in future newsletters and emails.
The new CAPNM Board was installed on Sunday morning. We are especially grateful for our outgoing Board members, Father Mark Miller and Mary Shaw. We extend a sincere thank you for all the years you have served CAPNM so faithfully in this capacity. We also extend blessings to you both as you now pursue new adventures, callings and interests.
Throughout the conference, participants worked on mini prayer shawls; everyone receiving a finished square to take with them at the closing worship service. Several participants identified this as an especially meaningful part of the conference.
A closing worship time, followed by lunch, wrapped up our time together. We look forward to meeting together next year in scenic Fredericton, New Brunswick. More details will follow when the Planning Committee in New Brunswick have confirmed their plans.
The 2016 Planning Committee (Faye Brekelmans, Joanne Jasper, Judy Johnson, Mary Lynch, Elsie Millerd, Michelle O’Rourke, Karen Watson) is deeply grateful to the staff at St. Michael’s, our sponsors (PNIG, ICHM Canada, Foundations in Parish Nursing, St Joseph’s Health Care Society, K-W Parish Nurse Network, and Erb & Good Funeral Homes), our speakers (Wayne Muller, Romero House, Father Philip Shano, Kim Davids Mandar, Elsie Millerd, and Anne Marie Webster)and to Katie Cunnington for their commitment, help and support. The success of our annual conference takes many hands and we thank all who helped in many small and important ways.
June 2 – 5, 2016
“Coming Alongside: The Vulnerable, The Suffering, The Holy Spirit”
The Parish Nurses of New Brunswick were pleased to welcome 34 Parish Nurses from across Canada, to the 19th Annual General Meeting and Conference which was a time of fellowship, sharing, worship, business meeting sessions, and informative presentations by speakers and guests.
Held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in beautiful downtown Fredericton, the hotel is situated along the picturesque Saint John River and is within walking distance of the Legislature, the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, historic Officers Square, Christ Church Cathedral, walking trails, and many restaurants and shops, making it ideal for Friday’s free evening and the Walk for Parish Nursing.
The theme was “Coming Alongside: The Vulnerable, The Suffering, The Holy Spirit” and the speakers, panel discussion and worship time all focused on this theme. The theme was chosen to explore the role and personal needs of Parish Nurses and to help us gain insight into the needs of those we serve. It was also our desire to have a casual interactive and inspirational conference which began on Thursday evening.
After the introduction of the Planning Committee and greetings from the city of Fredericton by City Counselor Greg Erickson, we broke into small groups for a time of sharing to discuss the following questions:
- What are you currently doing in your PN ministry?
- What would you like to do?
- How do you see your ministry evolving?
- What are your challenges?
Responses were written on flip chart paper and taped on the walls for everyone to peruse throughout the conference. The information was later collated and sent out to the membership.
Each morning and afternoon we were led in worship by Beth Lawson and Myra Murphy, PNs from Saint John, along with Rev. Ron Bestvater, our Faith Director. Becka DeHann, a blind musician and songwriter, inspired us with songs of Praise as she led us in worship on Friday afternoon.
The Presenters: Leith Box presented a workshop on ‘Coming Alongside the Holy Spirit’ whereby we broke into small groups of three and focused on meditation and sharing with one another.
Dr. Lois Mitchell from the University of St. Stephen spoke on ‘Coming Alongside the Vulnerable’’.
We were reminded of the world views of Post Modernism (we want to go ahead) and Anti- Modernism (we want to go back) but we must go forward and trust God with the unknown future. Parish Nurses can help those in their care who need our presence, by being someone who will listen to them, as an advocate, and a provider of hope, support, encouragement and prayer. Principles for Parish Nurses include: start where you are, have a mature relationship with Jesus, work together, go to unusual lengths (Divine imagination), know your limits, trust and understand God on a personal level and Go Forward (Jeremiah 9: 23 – 25).
Questions and discussion followed. A PowerPoint of this presentation is available from the CAPNM Coordinator
Rev. Shirley DeMerchant spoke on ‘Coming Alongside the Suffering – A Theology of Suffering’. From the book of Job, Five Truths of Suffering were outlined: Living right does not exclude you from suffering. Suffering can touch all areas of life, Suffering reveals our deepest fears and vulnerability. We under-estimate the power of Presence and overestimate the need for explanations. ‘One heals a broken heart with love not logic’, Suffering can shape us like no other experience can. And finally, God is more concerned with the Who then the Why.
Questions and discussion followed. A PowerPoint of this presentation is available from the CAPNM CoOrdinator
A panel discussion with Julie Coughran, Nurse Manager of the Alzheimer’s wing at York Manor, and Charles Ferris, was led by Parish Nurse Kathleen Snow.
‘Coming Alongside Those Living with Dementia’ was a very honest and personal discussion of those living and working with a family member coping with the progression of dementia.
The Saturday Night Kitchen Party, led by David Nielson, and the seafood buffet, was one of the highlights of the Conference. David entertained us with his fiddle music, songs, and storytelling and had us laughing all evening. AGM business was conducted throughout the conference which included a report on MAiD Guidelines, Termination of Files, a review of the RN/LPN requirement, and the usual financial and committee reports. A new Board was elected, appreciation expressed, and gifts given to the outgoing Board members.
After an ecumenical service led by the Worship team, including an inspirational sermon/talk by Rev. Bestvater, we said our goodbyes until we meet again in Edmonton, AB in May of 2018. It was expressed by all that we got to know each other better and felt closer thanks to group sharing and the interaction with our speakers and guests. Together we considered our ministries, our love for the Lord, and for each other.
We were pleased to have Dr. Helen Wordsworth and her husband join us from the UK. It was a delight to get to know her as she mingled with us and shared what is happening with PNs in Europe.
I would like to express my gratitude to my Planning Committee members for their amazing contribution in making this a fun, intimate and inspirational conference. Many thanks to Cheryl Gibson, Michele LeBlanc, Anne Wilcox, Isabel Cutler, and Kathleen Snow.
As one of our committee members said, this conference was “such an opportunity to meet with so many of my colleagues in this ministry of health and healing of body, mind and spirit. So many witnesses to those giving of their time and talent to come alongside our parishioners, supporting them in integrating faith and health in their daily lives”.
Respectfully submitted, Roz Thompson
May 24 – 27, 2018
“Soaring to Greater Heights: Renewing Our Strength”
The Edmonton Conference planning committee was pleased to welcome 48 friends to the National CAPNM and AGM in Edmonton Alberta on the last weekend of May 24-27, 2018.
The weekend started on Thursday evening where, after registering and receiving their participant packages in their special addition Celebrating 20 Years! Swag bag, we had a great time getting to know each other with some ‘ice breaker activities’. In our newly formed friend groups we had to complete sentences like “I would never … ” or “ I love it when … ” or “ The best thing I ever did was … You will have to talk to Carol about why Parish Nurses are just so very sexy! And everybody left with their very favorite chocolate bar too!
After eating a full breakfast on Friday and Saturday we were whisked to the beautiful Taylor College and Seminary campus each day by bus. I ask you… when was the last time you rode on a school bus?
Our theme was Soaring to Greater Heights: Renewing Our Strength. We wanted to address the very real effect of burnout in our roles a caregivers and what we can and should do when compassion fatigue becomes a reality. We wanted to ensure that we provided you with tools to take home as well. As well as facilitating the AGM, we wanted to ensure that there was plenty of time for networking, social time and fun.
On Friday afternoon we took time to celebrate a significant milestone. CAPNM turned 20 years old and we had a special cake cutting ceremony to mark the occasion. Barbara Whidden and Elaine Domning, 2 Alberta members who were in the organizing committee from the conference planning committee in Edmonton 11 years ago, were the official cake cutters. Facilitating the business of the CAPNM AGM was a significant portion of the weekend. There were those in attendance who were new to CAPNM and they were acknowledged and welcomed to the organization. There was a commitment to committee work done on both Friday and Saturday afternoons with plans to continue this work throughout the upcoming year. Reports were made to the CAPNM members in attendance.
Saturday afternoon’s workshop session came to a close and we were blessed to have been given so much information by our keynote speaker, Tim Neubauer over the 2 days. He had great wisdom and depth of knowledge on burnout and compassion fatigue in caregivers. His personal journey and willingness to share from a place of vulnerability was especially appreciated. Participants left with a gift from a special donor, RSVP Ministries, each with a resource to take home.
Some special events happened on Saturday as well! People were able to pick up their limited edition, Parish Nursing 20th anniversary mugs; we held a fund raising silent auction for some hand crafted items, and we heard that next year’s conference will be held in London! We had a bit of down time for folks to take a break. Some attended Catholic Mass, some headed back to the hotel for some R&R, others went on a walk or just took the time to relax and network with new friends they had just met. A western style BBQ and line dancing session concluded the day and had us all toe tapping and hog calling by the end of the night. If you weren’t there you missed the opportunity to learn the newest Parish Nurse call to worship!
Our Sunday morning service was held at the Hotel in cozy quarters! Pastor Ricky Williams lead us in worship and song. Who knew so many nurses knew “God on the Mountain” like they did. It was wonderful to give thanks to the Lord! Our fantastic party, AGM and conference came to a conclusion with the election of our new CAPNM Executive Board. Bag lunches were provided and we said good bye to our friends and colleagues from across Canada.
Looking forward to seeing you all again next year in London!
May 23 – 26, 2019
“Expanding Our Horizons: Parish Nurse Ministry”
Is it possible that the church has lost its relevance in our society to the exact measure that it no longer sees its role in touching people? This is the question which Laurie Duke, a parish nurse from Burnaby, BC, asked as she introduced the 21st conference and annual general meeting of the Canadian Association for Parish Nursing Ministry held in London, Ontario from May 23 26, 2019.
Could the re-focus in holistic health and healing – that of tending to our bodies, minds, souls and spirits – become through parish nurses the very gift that the church has to offer to our fracturing communities today and thus rediscover its place in society? She suggested that we imagine every church with a parish nurse 25 years from now.
That may seem impossible but Duke had set the scene for the near 50 participants as they considered what is involved in expanding the horizons of the parish nursing ministry. The conference consisted of opportunities for participants to share resources and initiatives that they use to expand their horizons in their faith communities. They shared examples of outreach activities in their practice under their roles of health promotion, health education, advocacy, health counsellor, coordinator of volunteers, integrator of faith and health, liaison with resources and researcher.
Lanadee Lampman, parish nurse at St. James Anglican Cathedral in Toronto, described how the cathedral had become a symbol of God’s presence and love in the community over the last 20 years of parish nurse ministry through Gloria Wiebe and herself. She described how the quiet initiative of foot care in the weekly drop-in centre at the cathedral has now developed into collaboration with street health nurses who bring wrap around services and continuity of care. Other efforts went into building a sustainable pastoral care team, addressing the harm reduction needs brought about by the opioid crisis, and developing an array of professional connections through volunteering at the Journey Home Hospice for homeless people who are dying.
St. Aidan’s Anglican Church (London) “Creating Caring Communities” program was introduced by Patrick Ferguson (parish nurse) and the Rev. Canon Dr. Kevin George (rector). They described how the program addresses mental illness with education, commitment (covenant), welcoming environment, ongoing support and advocacy. The program encourages awareness of mental illness and develops congregational member’s abilities to come alongside people suffering with mental illness. They had participants examine their experiences of receiving care, the negative attitudes and stereotypes towards mental illness in churches, and what needs to be done to create a safe environment for people with mental illness. They also provided the opportunity for participants to experience healing prayer just as they provide this in their parish.
There was an opportunity for non parish nurses to learn more about church health ministry through a designated session. The assembly also learned about the new program at the Lutheran theological seminary in Saskatoon, called the Master of Theological Studies in Healthcare and Parish Nursing. It is cohort based (requiring six or more students to start) and features online courses, part-time study and flexibility.
The conference was blessed by the music ministry of Bev Foster, executive director of Room 217 Foundation. Foster demonstrated how music is found in all stages of our life. She described why music works in care because it helps us remember, expresses thoughts and feelings, makes connections, supports well-being and rehabilitation, and nourishes the whole person. She provided several suggestions for how parish nurses can integrate music into care practice and gave participants opportunities to experience these resources.
At the evening banquet Foster related her own personal journey into music care ministry and blessed us by exercising her marvelous gift of music. She stressed the importance of using a variety of music genres, blending ancient and new music. The Solace Bedside Singers closed the evening with some of the songs and choruses which they bring to the bedside of dying people: “Going Home”, “The River Is Growing”, “Shenandoah” and, “We’re Walking Each Other Home”.
This annual conference and meeting is a time for parish nurses from across the country to find companionship and support in their unique and sometimes lonely ministry. Through worship, fellowship, laughing, crying, walking and wonderful meals, the nurses found their empty cups being refilled for the days ahead. Strategies were developed to improve connections for mutual support when they return to their home parishes.
– Written by Elsie Millerdn for The Huron Church News Elsie is the parish nurse at St. John the Evangelist Church, Kitchener
CAPNM Board of Directors 2019-2020
- Mary White Woodstock, ON
- Faye Brekelmans Aylmer, ON
- Michelle O’Rourke London, ON
- Fran Hudson Woodstock, ON
- Missing: Debbie Belowitz Brantford, ON Laurie Duke Burnaby, BC Louise Trapp Dorchester, ON
2019 Conference Planning Committee
- Judy Johnson Wellesley, ON
- Faye Brekelmans Aylmer, ON
- Maureen Preston Saskatoon, SK
- Mary White Woodstock, ON
- Kathy Dempsey-Glegloff Edmonton, AB
- Sue Duncan Mineville, NS
- Dot Klein Sudbury, ON
- Faith Cormier Fredericton, NB