As today is a Thursday (21st May) and the nation will be clapping for our carers at 8pm, let’s step back in time to Sunday 16th February when we marked 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife (very prophetic) with the licensing and commissioning of four Parish nurses by Bishop Donald at Peterborough Cathedral.
The four nurses – Lucie Brown, Maggie Murray, Pat Edkins and Edwina Miller – were supported by their congregations in Braunston, Northampton, Kettering, and Peterborough, and the service was attended by friends and families, along with parish nurses and donors from other denominations and dioceses.
Parish nurses are registered nurses through Parish Nursing Ministries UK, a Christian charity which helps local churches appoint nurses, who in turn support people and communities towards ‘whole person healthcare’ (a person’s overall well-being, incorporating mind, body and spirit). Parish nurses work in a complementary way to statutory health providers, seeking to build good relationships with local GP services. They may be volunteers or part-time employees of the Church. There are around 100 parish nurses across the UK in different denominations, some working with specific groups such as asylum seekers or homeless people, others working more generally with people of all ages.
During the service, Bishop Donald said that “it was time to recognise these innovative health ministries as part of the authorised lay ministry of the diocese”.
The Reverend Sarah Brown, who worked with a parish nurse in Braunston before becoming Canon Missioner of the Cathedral, said that the parish had taken the initiative because they wanted to be a blessing to the village, and that the parish nursing service had completely transformed the church’s relationship with the community within a few months.
Barbara Griffiths, a Regional Coordinator from Parish Nursing Ministries UK, read the gospel lesson, and Revd Dr Helen Wordsworth, Founder Director of Parish Nursing Ministries UK, preached on Mark 2, where four friends let a paralysed man through the roof of a house to receive both physical and spiritual healing. After the licensing and blessing by Bishop Donald, Revd Deborah Marsh (a former Parish nurse) led the prayers, and Dr Ros Moore, Former CEO of Parish Nursing Ministries UK, concluded the service with a call for more churches to work towards establishing a Parish nursing service (with the support of Parish Nursing Ministries UK). Further information about how churches can do this can be obtained by requesting an enquiry pack from firstname.lastname@example.org.
To find out more about Parish Nursing Ministries UK, visit www.parishnursing.org.uk.