About Faith Community Nursing and Health Ministries
History of faith community nursing and health ministries
Many faith communities in the Louisville region are part of an organized worldwide movement to encourage healthier lifestyles for their members. Promoting personal responsibility for health and wellness of body, mind and spirit is a natural role for faith communities.
Historically, there has been a blending of physical, mental and spiritual approaches to health and healing. Early civilizations turned to spiritual leaders, elders and others known for their ability to heal. The Old and New Testaments in the Bible are filled with references to healing, and healing was central to Jesus’ ministry.
Faith communities, where people congregate, form values and have trusting relationships, are reclaiming their role of promoting whole-person health among their members and people in surrounding communities.
Parish nursing, often called by the more inclusive name of faith community nursing, evolved in the United States as the result of a vision of Lutheran pastor and chaplain Rev. Granger Westberg. In the 1970s, Westberg worked with Chicago’s Lutheran General Hospital to develop clinics that would treat the whole person. Westberg saw the role of the “nurse in the church” as the key to whole-person care. In 1984, Lutheran General developed the first paid parish nurse model with six nurses, each assigned to a church.
In the 1980s, Lutheran General created the International Parish Nurse Resource Center, now the Westberg Institute for Faith Community Nursing, to provide education and materials to faith community nursing programs in Chicago and beyond. Furthering Westberg’s vision, the Health Ministries Association (HMA) was formed in 1989 as a professional membership organization of nurses and others dedicated to health ministries. HMA officially represents faith community nursing with the American Nurses Association. These organizations collaborate to publish “Faith Community Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice, Third Edition,” 2017 which can be ordered at HMA.
Norton Faith & Health Ministries
Find out how Norton Faith & Health Ministries promotes healthy faith communities. Download Faith, Healing and Wellness brochure and learn more about health ministries and faith community nursing.
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