The ministries of Parish Nursing and Health Care Ministry were launched together in The Bahamas as Health Care Ministry [Parish Nursing] recognising that both trained clinical nurses and professionals from other disciplines were all involved in “caring ministry”.
Parish Nursing and the Health Care Ministry were introduced to The Bahamas as an extension of the Pastoral Care Ministries of Diocese 2000 & Beyond, a programme of the Anglican Diocese of The Bahamas, Turks & Caicos Islands.
With the approval of His Grace, Archbishop Drexel Gomez and the Coordinator of Diocese 2000 & Beyond, Rev. Angela Palacious, the Pastoral Care Coordinator, Mrs. Cecilia Askew along with the assistance of Mrs. Lily Mae Major, a retired Nurse and former lecturer at the School of Nursing designed a course for The Commonwealth of The Bahamas.
The ministry is a collaborative venture between church and state and, therefore the officials from the relevant regulatory bodies were invited to assist with the launching of this Ministry.
We were pleased therefore, that the then Minister of Health, Senator Hon. Marcus C. Bethel joined hands with the Diocese and launched Health Care Ministry [Parish Nursing] in The Bahamas on 4th February 2005 at the opening service held at St. Margaret’s Parish, Kemp Road, Nassau, The Bahamas.
The initial course brought together nurses from various denominations and they received their certificates and designations on 27th February 2005 at Holy Cross Parish, Soldier Road. In attendance were the following officials holding office at that time:
Director of Nursing - Ms. Mary Johnson
Chairman of Nurses Council - Mrs. Philabertha Carter
Provost, School of Nursing - Ms. Ernestine Douglas
President, Nurses Association - Mrs. Ampusam Symonette
Todate, we have over sixty persons trained and actively engaged in the ministry as either Parish Nurses or Health & Wellness Carers. Since the ministry began in 2005 it has grown steadily and was known as the Anglican Diocesan Health Care Ministry [Parish Nursing] Council. However as of now, the name of this body is the "Ecumenical Health Care Ministry Council".
It is intended that there will be continued training and that the programme will spread throughout the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and the Caribbean. To this end, we have joined forces with the Bahamas Christian Council and by extension the Caribbean Council of Churches.
The curriculum is based on modified aspects of the Canadian Parish Nurses Association, the Australian Faith Community Nurses Ministry, and Health Care Ministry as outlined by Wayne Oates Pastoral Institute, USA.
Health Care Ministry Cabinets/Councils
This body is made up of Parish Nurses and Health and Wellness Carers who have done the Certificate Course in Health Care Ministry. Each Faith Group [Denomination] is to have a cabinet/council to address the needs of their congregation and community.
Further Training and Education
The curriculum continues to evolve with additional training modules being implemented. Upon completion of 18 CEU’s, participants on the course will receive a Certificate and designation as either a Parish Nurse or a Health & Wellness Carer. Persons who complete an additional 18 CEU’s are eligible for the Diploma. It should be noted here that the programme is strictly for volunteers and, individuals should already be trained in their respective disciplines. The initial course covered the various topics of prayer [Lectio Divina, Contemplation & Meditation], Spiritual Growth, Grief, Loss and Bereavement, HIV/AIDS, Caring for persons with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and Victims of Abuse.
In 2008 new modules were added namely:
Ministry of Presence
Personal Spiritual Growth Assessments
Spiritual Care for New & Expectant Mothers
Healing Ministry of Jesus
Information on Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Coping with Grief and Loss
In 2009 we will partner with the Roman Catholic Church and persons will be trained in the Samaritan Ministry, which is specific to the prevention of HIV/AIDS and, caring ministry to persons living with HIV/AIDS.
To enhance spiritual development and growth the following books have been suggested and can be ordered from Amazon.com:
Healthcare Ministry -Author: Gerald A. Arbuckle
Called to Care-Author[s]: Judith Allen Shelly & Arlene B. Miller
Prayer in Nursing-Author: Mary Elizabeth O’Brien
Spiritual Care: A guide for Caregivers-Author: Judith Allen Shelly
We continue to review and upgrade the ministry accordingly. We encourage persons who have already completed the course and received their certificates and diplomas to consider taking the next step and begin training in “Clinical Pastoral Education” with the College of Pastoral Supervision & Psychotherapy [Bahamas/Caribbean] chapter.
For assistance in planning training sessions you may contact the council.
Chairman - Lyndianna Rahming, Parish Nurse
Vice Chairman - Brenda Duvalier, Health & Wellness Carer
Secretary - Natasha Mackey, Health & Wellness Carer
Assistant - Glendina Minus, Parish Nurse
Various churches are actively engaged in this ministry as follows:
All Saints on Calvary Hill
Church of the Epiphany
Holy Cross Parish
St. Agnes Parish
St. Ambrose of Milan
St. Barnabas Parish
St. George's Parish
St. Gregory's Parish
St. Margaret's Parish
Macedonia Baptist Church
New Destiny Baptist Church
St. Mark's Native Baptist
Church of God Of Prophecy
Golden Gates Outreach Ministries
Voice of the Watchman Ministry