Health and Episcopalians
We in the Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Ohio recognize the biblical obligation that each person in our diocese is responsible for their neighbor. As Episcopalians, we have an enduring commitment to work for and support health care for all people as a shared endeavored. God continues to call us to work in society for the individual, collective actions that promote health and ensure care for those who suffer. We seek to participate in and supplement health care services for all people who are in need. As stated in Luke 10.27 states "... love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind; and your neighbor as your self".
Accepting health care as a share endeavor requires commitment of all people to the well being of their neighbor and themselves. By Episcopalians joining together they can bring their gifts, work together in integrated ways and share ideas and experiences. They can meet one another in community to work for a just social system and for peace and integrity of creation and health.
Health and Scriptures
Possible Health Care Activities
In Titus 3:14 it is stated "And let people learn to devote themselves to good works in order to meet urgent needs...". There are many kinds and types of activities that can be done individually, as a congregation or at a diocesan level. Here are a few of them:
Health and Christianity
God wants wholeness and salvation for each individual. As Christians, our task is to use whatever means possible to bring wholeness and health. Christians are called to understand health, healing and wholeness as a portion of their faith responsibility. Individually and corporately, we are to celebrate and give thanks for God's love for us and for all people. As we respond to this love we unite together as a justice seeking, compassionate and healing community. Justice is fair distribution of benefits and burdens of health care as Ezekiel 18:16 states "...as not to oppress anyone, give bread to the hungry and cover the naked with a garment".
We are mandated as Christians to seek compassionate ways to meet the health care needs of others. We are to responsively and responsibly care for others as well as our selves, meeting others at the point of their need. This is especially so in a social and economic context where this is a great disparity. We as Christians are called to be active participants in fashioning a just and effect health care system.
Health Ministry & Scripture
According to Episcopal Health Ministry "Health ministry has roots that goes deep into the scripture, tradition and the reason of our church." By studying scriptures one gains more confidence that health ministry is of God. Meditating on scripture will enhance one's understanding of the relationship between health and Christian faith. According to Isaiah 55:11
"So shall My word be that goes forth out of my mouth: it shall not return to Me void; but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent." Jesus functioned as a teacher in healing, justice, protector of integrity of creation, as well stressed the importance of spiritual dimension of life. He brought people into a faith relationship to God by various methods of touching, listening, speaking commands, compassion and forgiveness, so that the power of the living God may be fuller and more restored.
God created us as a whole person so each one is a dynamic unity of mind, body and spirit. According to Corinthians 6:19-20 "One ought to care for his body as 'temples of the Holy Spirit.' According to 1 Thessalonians 5:23 "...the God of peace Himself will sanctify you through and through; and may your spirit, soul and body be preserved, sound and complete."
National Episcopal Health Ministries
National Episcopal Health Ministry believes that local congregations need to live out Jesus's command to heal and to be good stewards of health. they are trying to lead the way for congregations to become vibrant, caring places of health and wholeness.
Their mission is to promote health ministry in the Episcopal Church, assisting local congregations to reclaim the Gospel mission of health and wholeness. According 1 Corinthians 12:4-7, "Now there is a varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;and there are a varieties of activities,but it is the same God who activates all of them in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good".
National Episcopal Health Ministries does the following:
- Teaches courses to equip Episcopal health ministers and parish nurses
- Networks and supports those involved with health ministry in Episcopal congregations
- Publishes educational and start-up materials for local congregations and dioceses
- Acts as a voice for health ministers within the Episcopal Church
National Episcopal Health Ministries
6050 N. Meridian Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Episcopal Health Resources
John 10:10 states "I come that they may have life and have it more abundantly".
Episcopal Retirement Home, Inc.
This is an affiliated ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio. They are committed to improving the lives of older adults. Episcopal Retirement Homes create loving, life enriching, spiritually based communities for older adults and their caregivers, both families and staff. They have offices in Cincinnati, Columbus, Dayton/Miami and in the eastern are Wheeling, WV. You can visit on line at www.EpiscopalRetirenment.com.
The Episcopal Conference of the Deaf
The Episcopal Conference of the Deaf have been engaging in God's mission, encourage and empower ministry in the deaf community for 154 years. Today it represent many ministries with the deaf in Episcopal Churches throughout the United States. It includes various styles of ministries in working with the deaf as well as the hard of hearing. You can visit on line at ecdeaf.com.
The Episcsopal Disability Network
They are an organization of the Episcopal church that works for the inclusion of people with disabilities into the life of the church and society. They provide consultative assistance, offer multi-media resources on disability awareness and other disability issues and maintains a free lending library over 450 books and tapes on various tops on church, spirituality and disabilities issues. The network also functions as an advocate with church secular organizations on behalf of those with disabilities. You can visit on line at disability99.org. or email at disability99@earthlink.
Large Print Ministry
They have 3 CD that can help the Blind and Visually-impaired and others with Special Needs in their devotion and more fully pariticipate in whorship:Book of Common Prayer; Sing Praise to Our God and Prayers and Psalms For Today. Contact e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Parish nursing is a movement that asks churches to renew their role in health care, which includes promoting health, preventing diseases, responding to crisis and emphasizing a holistic approach to health care. This ministry stems back to healing ministry of Jesus, who promoted wholeness to body, mind and spirit. Health is not just the absence of disease, rather it is the maximum attainable state of a person's emotional, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual and vocational well being.
Parish nurses wear many hats. They often alert parishioners about need for medical attention or refer them to appropriate health care providers or community resources. As a health promoter they help those to understand relationship between lifestyle, attitudes, faith and well-being. They also advocate for those with regard to their health care. Some other roles include being a health educator (provide speakers and educational information on health and wellness), facilitator, monitoring and screening (provides non-invasive health screening) as well as personal health counselor (asses one's health needs, delivers information when need, and make hospital and nursing home visits). They also train volunteers to assist them in various activities.
There are four working models of parish nurses. There are the parish nurse/health minister model which has four variations, lay/pastoral model, healing congregation model and hospital-related partnerships. The needs of the congregation determines the type of model to be used. There are parish nurses that are paid and there are those that volunteer. Again that is determined by the congregation and the nurse and/or nurses.
Parish Health Ministry Brochure
Feel free to print this document and distribute as needed. Download the brochure here.