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

October 2014

“How to Be a Friend to a Friend Who’s Sick” by Letty Cottin Pogrebin details her bout with breast cancer and the diverse reactions she received from family and friends. Letty uses stories that are filled with sensitivity, compassion and humor to give guidance and wisdom when a family member or friend is ill or grieving.

From her book:  The “How Are You? Problem

If you have not been seriously ill or been around someone who is ill or grieving, the simple words “how are you?” can be upsetting.  They are words we all use, but if you are seriously ill, they can convey anxiety and foreboding.  When asked in passing, there is really no way to answer  ”how are you.”  When you are seriously ill, you have to protect yourself from the anxiety of others.  “How are you?” requires the person to decide on the spot, questioner by questioner, friend by friend, situation by situation how candidly to respond.  Some who are ill will just shut down, others will not have the energy to really respond.  If the response is ‘I am lousy”, then the level of concern escalates requiring more interaction and response from the person who is already ill.

Recommendations on Responses other than “How Are You?”
Gently ask “Are you well?”
“It’s good to see you today.”  If you really do want to know how they are, ask at a time and place that will allow them to answer.    Be prepared to listen.
“What are you feeling?”  Is an easier question to answer then “How are you feeling?”
Some basics from people who have been there:
“Respond to what I say”…don’t just move right along or talk about yourself
“Listen to how I am”…don’t  tell me how I should be
“Don’t interrupt my answer”… unless you want to inject a sympathetic comment.

There are times and situations when doing all the above correctly does not work or it feels like you are not being helpful.  When you are very ill or grieving, timing is everything.  Remember that staying in touch through caring presence, email, voice mail, written word, instant messages, instant photos, can mean a lot to someone who is suffering.

God is loving the world through you and through me and through all those who are love and compassion in the world.

Mother Theresa – “In the Heart of the World”

Special Adult Sunday School Class

October 5, 2014 at  9:30 in the Sanctuary

“Rev. Dr. David Zuniga will be speaking at St. Andrew’s next Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 9:30AM on some of the psychological and spiritual issues related to grief and loss. Dr. Zuniga earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and is a Post-Doctoral Fellow in private practice in Austin. Previously, he earned a master’s degree in comparative religion from Harvard Divinity School, was ordained in South Korea as a Zen Buddhist priest, and worked for over a decade as a Zen/interfaith chaplain in pediatric and adult end-of-life healthcare. To learn more about his work:

CPR Class (Adult, Child, infant, AED)

Tuesday October 7, 2014, 6:30PM – 8:30PM

Who Should Attend:  Parents, AED support leaders, Church pre-school staff, COME workers and anyone wanting CPR certification.  Savaheart Austin will be teaching this “user friendly” class once again.  The cost is $35.  Scholarships are available.

Click HERE to register or email Wendy Valdez at the church office (  Questions: contact Donna Rutherford @

Services and Duties of the Congregational NurseHealthy 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.

Contact Nurse Donna Rutherford 

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