NZFCNA commenced in 2003 to provide:
- the community with a quality ministry that meets the physical, mental and spiritual needs of individuals and families, facilitating growth toward wholeness, developing understanding of the relationship between faith and health, and providing support within the context of a caring faith community.
- the faith community with consultancy, resources and education to enable them to commence, nurture and sustain viable health ministries.
- nurses working in faith communities with support, information, education, resources and networking opportunities.
- a professional network for promotion and lobbying on behalf of faith community nurses with other health professions, businesses, government, media, churches and the community.
- promotion and publicity of the faith community nurse role.
- to define and maintain professional nursing standards as guided by Nursing Council to meet the legally required competencies and to encourage their implementation by its members.
The logo of the New Zealand Faith Community Nurses Association is similar to the symbol of the Holy Trinity used in the Early Christian Church sometimes called a Celtic knot. The three points represent the three aspects of God: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit but are all intertwined and present as three in one.
In this logo the points are produced by interlocking hands coloured red to represent the blood shed by Christ upon the cross and the traditional use of blue for healing.
The hands are those of the nurse being used practically to touch as in holding a hand in support; to massage or to provide practical care. The hands are also held in prayer to seek God's healing and may be used in the "laying on of hands" as a sacrament. They are the hands, which receive the elements of bread and wine when Christ's redemptive work is remembered and celebrated. They are the hands held together with others in Christian fellowship
The three points also remind us of our work together in Christian healing. One point represents the client who seeks our support and the wholeness of God. The second point is God himself, the ultimate source of all healing and the third point is that of the parish nurse or faith community nurse who together with the faith community seeks to provide spiritual, emotional and physical health for a person.
Faith community nursing has historical origins within the religious orders and deaconess movements of the early Christian Church. The late Reverend Granger Westberg, an advocate of holistic health care, reinvigorated this movement in the 1980’s by introducing parish nursing to the USA . Westberg realise that nurses had broad knowledge across the health disciplines, which provided the requisite professional linkages for care of the whole person.
The speciality of faith community nursing formally commenced in Australia in February 1996 when a seminar to introduce the faith community nurse role was held in Adelaide, South Australia. Dr Anne van Loon whose PhD focussed on developing a model appropriate to the Australasian context was subsequently invited to lead training courses in New Zealand and links were forged with the Australian Faith Community Nurses Association. NZFCNA in its current form was established during the Nelson conference in 2003.
In more recent days NZFCNA has joined the International forum for Parish Nurses, linking us with parish nurses worldwide. The association or its members have hosted visiting parish nurses/faith community nurses from England, Wales, USA, Canada as well as Australia. Indeed, visitors to New Zealand from the UK took the vision of FCN home and the work there grew from those seeds.