Congregational Health Ministry

Our Congregational Nurse (Donna Rutherford, RN) provides a healing ministry that helps support and fulfill the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs of our congregation. She is a volunteer on staff, our nurse minister.

Health MinistryNotes from the Congregational Nurse

Congregational Health
November, 2015

“Home for the holidays for no matter how far away you go”….as the seasonal song goes.  Many will be traveling distances to visit with family and friends over the holidays.  This may be the only time all year that family members who live far apart can get together and visit.  As family members age, it is a good time to personally observe and assess how your loved one is managing.   Age related decline can be subtle at first, but over time, can advance rapidly. Approaching the holiday with a positive and proactive approach, can make the season more pleasant for the entire family.

A few tips for the holiday visit from

-      Give a big hug.  Can help to assess weight.  Both weight loss or weight gain can have a variety of causes including:  depression, cancer, diabetes, dementia, increased fragility or just the need of help with meals.

-      Rifle through the mail.  Is there mail unopened such as bills, personal correspondence, letters from creditors?  This can be a sign of dementia or just the inability to keep up with daily correspondence and get the bills paid.

-      Take a drive with “them” behind the wheel.  Look at the condition of the car and whether they use a seatbelt….are they showing signs of tension or distraction?  Do they have the physical strength and agility needed to just get in and out of the car?   Can they safely manage the car once driving?

-      Inspect the kitchen, bathrooms and other areas including the outdoors.  Look for piles of clutter, expired food, grime, broken appliances, dying plants, and the inability to keep up with household tasks.

-      Talk to neighbors and friends and solicit their observations.  Conversations about declining health, fear of living alone, loneliness, trouble with keeping up with daily activities are important to note.

Approaching the holiday season with love and taking the time to assess an aging loved ones overall ability to continue living independently, is very important.  It can be done with grace and a positive, proactive attitude.  Working as a team, as change occurs,  is the best plan for those who are aging and for the family members who love and care for them.


Love and Blessings,



       Beginning to tune in to even the minutest feelings of…gratitude softens us…

If we begin to acknowledge these moments and cherish them…then no matter how fleeting and tiny this good heart may seem, it will gradually, at its own speed, expand.

Pema Chodron

Services and Duties of the Congregational Nurse

Healthy Living

Donna serves our congregation as:

- a health and wellness educator
- a health and wellness counselor
- a community liaison and personal advocate
- a member of the Pastoral Care Team

All conversations and records are strictly confidential. All records are secure. No one else has access to the records of the congregational nurse.

Her duties include:

  • Meeting individually with clients in the home, church, or hospital to provide holistic care and support.
  • Advocating for clients in the health system.
  • Promoting health education.
  • Providing health screening and monitoring, as with our First Sunday Blood Pressure Screenings.
  • Assessing the needs of the congregation and establishing programs to meet these needs.
  • Assisting in locating resources for the community.

The Congregational Nurse does not give direct hands-on treatment but helps to empower and enable clients in their healing journey.

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