Parish nurse retreat a time of networking, renewal


Attendees of Parish Nurse Retreat at Chiara Center

SPRINGFIELD --Parish nurses working in churches throughout the Illinois Great Rivers Conference met together Aug. 6-7 for a weekend of renewal, networking, worship and celebrating a shared heritage of healing established by Florence Nightingale.

Retreat leader for the second annual parish nurse retreat was Helen Chigaros, co-founder of the Parish Nurse Network of the Kankakee River Valley and Executive Director of the Azzarelli Outreach Clinic in Kankakee, a faith-based free health care clinic. Helen’s recent travels to England, where she walked in the footsteps of Nightingale, allowed her to bring everyone attending a personal account of the legacy and spiritual connection to The Lady with the Lamp.
Rev. Dr Terry Harter, Sangamon River District Superintendent opened the retreat with a meditation entitled Healing is a Beautiful Word, based on Matthew 9:20-22, which examined the role personal faith plays in wholeness. A service of Holy Communion was shared together in the Chiara Center’s St Francis of Assisi Church.
Health ministry is a purposeful ministry that helps individuals, families, congregations and communities focus on “wholistic” health, wellness and disease and injury prevention. Health ministry is usually directed by a health committee incorporating a parish nurse and is customized to fit the needs of the congregation.
Parish nurses link faith and health by combining professional nursing with Christian ministry. Parish nurses focus on the whole person to emphasize wellness, disease prevention, health promotion and spiritual health. Registered nurses with active licensure attend a Parish Nurse Basic Preparation Course and can then serve congregations and the surrounding community.
For more information about Health Ministry in United Methodist congregations contact Patricia Magyer at UMCOR Health, or Sharon Hinton UMCOR Parish Nurse Consultant,
For information about Parish Nurse Basic Preparation Courses available in your area, go to the website of the International Parish Nurse Resource Center at