Parish Nurse



Special Note of Thanks to Thrivent

The Parish Nurses would like to thank Thrivent for their generous donation of $125.  The money was used to set up 2 first aid kits for the Sunny Hill Preschool, two kits were needed to fulfill the requirements for the State.  One hundred twenty four dollars and seventy cents was spent, so we’ll put the extra thirty cents  in the offering plate!  Thank you Thrivent for always being so generous.

What is Parish Nursing?

See below for monthly NEWS

Some of Zion’s nurses are in the process of developing a Parish Nurse program.  We are also working with Nurses of other congregations in Portland to provide ecumenical programs to the public.

The history of the Church down through the centuries is filled with examples of concern and care for those who are ill.  Today Churches are reclaiming their right to promote health and healing.  They are establishing health ministries and joining with other agencies to work for health for everyone, especially those who lack insurance and access to doctors and medicines.  Many people, rich and poor, have a need to understand health is an interplay of body, mind and spirit and the importance of a healthy lifestyle.   Health events such as health fairs, monthly blood pressure screenings, and fellowship with others all make this and important program.  The Scriptures abound with stories of health and healing and God’s promise of wholeness for all of creation. Some of the things we are hoping to accomplish are:

  1. Survey the congregations to their health needs and plan programs to help meet their needs.
  2. Monthly articles in the Outreach with healthy living tips, recipes and more.
  3. Ecumenically we are planning some educational programs with guest speakers and workshops.
  4. To be available to parishioners for questions, guidance or whatever their needs may be.

We are still in the developing stages, but are very excited about what we can do for our family at Zion.  Any suggestions or if interested in helping out, please call Beth Keser at 342-3937.  I am working with Marlene Peterson and Nancy Godwin,  the more the merrier!


June 2005 News:  Protecting Our Skin

It’s now almost June, and as I’m writing this letter, it’s 30 degrees out and it is cold and wet.  So, I decided to write this month about the sun, and protecting our skin.  I’m trying to be optimistic, hoping the sun will shine in June!

The skin is the largest organ of the human body.  It’s size (about 20 square feet in an average adult) and its external location make it susceptible to a wide variety of diseases, discolorations and growths, as well as damage from the environment and the aging process,.  Skin cancer is a condition where one type of cell grows without limit in a disorganized fashion, disrupting and replacing normal tissues and their functions, (like weeds growing in a garden).   There are three main types of skin cancer – Basal cell carcinoma, Squamous cell carcinoma and Melanoma.  Basal cell and Squamous cell cancers are curable.  Melanoma is curable when detected early, but fatal if allowed to progress and spread. 

Unlike most forms of cancer, skin cancer is one of the few where the cause is known – excessive sun exposure.  Sunlight consists of two types of harmful rays-UVA rays and UVB rays, UVB rays are the suns burning rays (which are blocked by window glass) and are the primary cause of sunburn and skin cancer. UVA rays (which pass through window glass) penetrate deeper into the dermis or base layer of the skin. 

The American Academy of Dermatology recommends that everyone follow these sun protection guidelines:

  1. Avoid out door activity between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. when the suns rays re the strongest.
  2. Seek shade whenever possible
  3. Wear broad-spectrum sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher
  4. Wear  sun protective clothing and accessories, such as wide brimmed hats and sunglasses
  5. Follow “shadow rule” – if your shadows is shorter than you are the suns damaging rays are at their strongest and you are likely to sunburn.

One more thing to keep in mind:  studies have found that indoor tanning may be just as harmful to the skin as outdoor sun exposure.  There is no such thing as a safe tan.  Skin cancer is the most common form of cancer in the United States.  One million new cases are diagnosed each year. So, enjoy your summer, but protect your skin.

Special Note of Thanks to Thrivent

The Parish Nurses would like to thank Thrivent for their generous donation of $125.  The money was used to set up 2 first aid kits for the Sunny Hill Preschool, two kits were needed to fulfill the requirements for the State.  One hundred twenty four dollars and seventy cents was spent, so we’ll put the extra thirty cents  in the offering plate!  Thank you Thrivent for always being so generous.

February 2005 News:  Do You Just Belong?

Are you an active member, the kind that would be missed?  Or are you just contented that you name is on the list?  Do you attend meetings and mingle with the flock, or do you stay home and criticize and knock?  Do you take an active part to help the work along, or are you satisfied to be the kind that “just belongs”?  Do you ever go to visit a member that is sick, or leave the work to just a few and criticize “the clique”?  There’s quite a program scheduled that I’m sure you’ve heard about, and we’ll appreciate it if you come and help us out.  So come to meetings often and help with hand and heart, don’t be just a member; you know the right from wrong.  Are you an active member or do you just belong?

A friend gave this poem to me.  It was given to her Mom in the 1940’s during a Stewardship drive.  It made me think about belonging to a healthy congregation.  And so that is how it ended up in our Parish Nurse notes.  In order to have a healthy congregation it takes much more than just a financial pledge, while our pledges are extremely important, what good is a financially stable church if there are no people willing to carry out the work of GOD.  We need to all work together in order to accomplish this.  We need to support our newer members ideas and thoughts while at the same time respecting those of our older members.  It is an exciting time to be a member of Zion.  We have many new members, young and old alike.  Let’s continue to keep Zion a “Healthy Congregation”.  Volunteer not just your money but also your time and talents.  Zion needs us all! 

October 2004 News

October is breast cancer awareness month.  There is no definite way to prevent breast cancer.  For now, the best defense for women is to reduce risk factors whenever possible.  Some risks related to a persons lifestyle are:

- Use of oral contraceptives
- Not having children before age 30
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Not breast feeding
- Alcohol intake
- Being overweight
- High fat diet
- Not exercising

Women should:

- Do self breast exams
- Have annual clinical breast exams by their health care providers
- Have regular mammograms to ensure early detection when the cancer is at a more treatable stage.

The most common sign of breast cancer is a new lump or mass in the breast.  Most lumps are not cancerous.  Other signs of cancer are:

- Swelling of the breast (even if no lump is present)
- Skin irritation or dimpling
- Nipple pain or retraction (turning inward)
- Redness or scaliness of nipple or breast skin
- Discharge other than breast milk

Major risks that cannot be changed are:

- Gender (more women than men)
- Age-risk increases with age
- Family history – mother or sister with breast cancer
- Early age menstruation.

 “You are not on your own;  you were bought at a price.  Therefore honor God with your body.”  1 Corinthians 6:19-20

 Come visit the Ecumenical Parish Nurse booth at the Portland Fair for blood pressure checks.

September 2004 News: 

After an all too brief summer hiatus, our Ecumenical Parish Nurse group will start up again in September.  We have tentative plans to have guest speakers come and do a talk on Women’s Health Issues.  Two female physicians are interested in presenting this program for us.  Stay tuned for further information.  We will also be running a booth at the Portland Fair again – FREE blood pressure checks for all!  Don’t forget to visit our booth. 

If there are any programs or topics you would like to see us present feel free to let one of us know.  In October we will start our monthly health tips again.  Be on the lookout for a bulletin board full of health related topics.

July/August 2004 News:  Blood Supplies Are Critically LowPlease donate blood this summer.  Every year, as the weather gets nicer, and vacation season arrives, our state’s blood supply falls to dangerously low levels.  This puts Connecticut patients at risk – whether it’s a premature baby, a woman needing a liver transplant, or a child critically injured in a car accident.

Won’t you please call 1-800-GIVE LIFE(800-448-3543) or visit,  and make your appointment today? Remember: a single blood donation costs you nothing, and can save up the three lives.  The American Red Cross thanks you on behalf of patients throughout the state!