Partners in Health and Healing Ministry
by Rev. Harold Hesje, VMT Chair
Visits in hospital by our chaplain and volunteer visitors are indeed important, as we offer the comfort of Christ to patients admitted to Saskatoon hospitals. LuMinHoS is not alone as a provider of spiritual care to those who are ill. Local clergy often visit their members in hospital (when they can find them). We are fortunate to have other groups and individuals helping us in this ministry, including parish nurses.
Some of the local Lutheran churches that have parish nursing ministry include Augustana (ELCIC), Rock of Ages Lutheran (LB), Trinity (ELCIC), and Zion (ELCIC). St. Andrew’s Presbyterian, Christ Church Anglican, Avalon Alliance, St. Philip Neri Catholic, St. John Bosco Catholic, St. Mary’s Catholic have it also. The parish nurses are often more aware of the health needs of parishioners than clergy are. When the nurses know of someone going to hospital, they go to visit. Often Chaplain Ron meets the parish nurses in the hospital wards and talks or even has coffee with them; chaplain and nurse support one another in this ministry.
The umbrella organization that promotes and supports parish nursing ministry is Inter-Church Health Ministries-Saskatchewan (ICHM-SK). ICHM-SK offers training for parish nurses (a three-year program) and support groups for both those in training and those serving in parishes. Education sessions are offered on four weekends in the fall of each year. Support group sessions are offered monthly over a six-month or eight-month period.
Both LuMinHoS and Parish Nursing care for people with health issues. Therefore, it is exciting and rewarding for both groups to work together and to draw on each other for support. Currently Chaplain Ron is serving on a volunteer basis as the Regional Director for ICHM-SK. This cooperative venture is sharing rented office space at Redeemer Lutheran Church. Both groups are grateful for a cordial and cooperative working relationship.