Past Parish Nurse Ministries

Alison Wilden:

alison-wildenAlison caught the vision of faith community nursing after attending a NZFCNA conference in Christchurch.  She had read an article about the ministry in the Kai Tiaki nursing journal and longed to combine her passion for nursing with her Christian commitment to her local church in the Gore community.  She was familiar with accessing funding from the PHO and together with her minister’s wife and fellow nurse Carol, they saw the possibilities of opening a foot clinic within the church.  In 2007, their dream became a reality when they received a grant of $5,000.  The local podiatrists have supported and trained them.  The latest venture is a weekly “Super Clinic”.  The nail clinic has over 50 on the role and their first customer arrived well before opening as he was so thrilled with the opportunity.  Fellowship, fun, Christian love and excellent foot care make a winning combination and the community can see the practical outworking of these Christian nurses.

Shirley Pope

shirleyI retired in March 2009 after 50 years of nursing, which incorporated many aspects of the nursing profession.  In November 2009 I had a calling from God, telling me that he wanted me to do a ministry for him, as I was reading about overseas mission I presumed that was where I was to go.  That was not to be, due to some health issues, and the Dean of the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist Napier, the Very Reverend Dr. Helen Jacobi asked me to be the Parish Nurse.
I joined the NZFCNA and with the encouragement of the Dean, started the modules in March 2010.  It was decided that I would not be commissioned until I had completed the 12 modules; something that I now realize was the only way to go.  By doing the modules first, gave me an understanding of the NZFCNA, my faith and spirituality; the philosophy and role of the parish nurse, and be able to look at the faith community and their needs with a better insight.
I believe that it was vital for me, and I would encourage any nurse setting their sights on being a parish nurse to complete the modules before starting in the role.
I completed the modules in early September and on the 26th September I was honoured and privileged to be commissioned and licenced in the office of Parish Nurse, an anointer of oil to the sick by the Bishop of Waiapu, The Right Reverend David Rice,  also I was presented with the certificate of completion of training in faith community nursing by the Very Reverend Charles Tyrrell, Patron of the NZFCNA who had graciously come from Nelson to do this.

Hilary Black Registered Nurse

hilary1ssI have been Parish nurse (FCN) at Onslow Anglican parish since 2006. I work 16 paid hours per week with frequent voluntary extra hours as needed.
I spend most time visiting parishioners at home, in hospital or in Residences. Discussing health or spiritual issues; accompanying them to clinics/ appointments and explaining medical letters or results; advising on when to see the General Practitioner; accompanying to different facilities when the decision has to be made about the choice
of residential care; the list is too big to note individually.

Previous experience as a practice nurse allows me to enable people to find the help they need with community care or other services.

I have trained a visitor's group of 5 people who share the ongoing support of those unable to attend services and an offshoot of this is a regular monthly home-made afternoon tea following Communion at a local Residence which enables Residents to have social contact with familiar church practice and see familiar faces from the 'outside' world and their former parish.

I run an exercise group for Women aged 60+; have helped set up a young women/mothers group; a ' Well-man' educational evening with a local GP; followed by a free blood pressure, blood sugar, ear check with referral to the GP as needed; an Emergency preparedness seminar (ongoing in New Zealand); a Health News notice board dealing with
seasonal issues, eg time for Flu vaccination, summer food hygiene, measles etc; enabled the provision of 'skin packs' for children in
impoverished areas suffering from infections, and this year plan to hold a 'Loss and Grief' seminar.

Opening all activities to the community has resulted in growing community links too.

In 2010 I was honoured to be acknowledged by the local District Health Board for my work in primary care, with an educational scholarship.
This was a wonderful recognition by the secular world of nursing for parish nursing. I have also been invited to speak at various church meetings about the role of parish nursing and also have opportunity when attending normal nursing education opportunities to explain my field of work.

To sum up'"...whatever you did for one of the least of
my brothers you did for me" matt.25:40 and " by itself, if not accompanied by action is dead..." James 2:17


MARJORIE NEWCOMBE: now working as a parish health advisor

This year I turned 70 and since 1954 I knew I wanted to be a nurse. In 1955 I started my training, first as a sick children’s nurse and then as a registered general nurse. I was hospital trained in England.The work was hard and at first involved scrubbing bed-pans and menial jobs which was not nursing work at all. It was great to graduate to actually care for patients. I did a 56 hour week, often with split shifts and 12 hour night duty stints for three months at a time. A second or third year student was often left in charge of a 30 bed ward at night with an auxiliary to help and a supervisor on call. Of course we were doing basic nursing and not expected to be technicians or a computer whiz as you need to be today. Our patients survived in spite of us! After working in the field of cardio/thoracic surgery with both adults and children for several years I came by sea to work in the cardio/thoracic unit at Wellington hospital where I met my husband.Eventually we moved to Dunedin where I again worked in the chest surgery unit until the birth of my sons. My nursing career then took a change in direction and I started district nursing two evenings a week and found I loved it. On moving to Greymouth in 1974 my second son had health problems so nursing went on hold for some time. Finally I went back to district nursing until I retired at the age of 66, with some casual- call today.I have always had a strong faith and been involved in church work. When I was considering retirement I felt my skills could be put to use as a parish nurse and mentioned the idea to the Vicar. With his blessing and after training in Nelson I got started. I now run a monthly clinic for people to drop into mostly for blood- pressure checks and advice. I welcome anyone who comes, many are not church goers, or are from other denominations. I average about 16 hours a week visiting Parishioners with problems such as sickness, bereavement or just loneliness and I field lots of phone calls.I have a wider community vision and have had opportunities to speak to people of other denominations. I get occasional referrals from GPs, mostly for blood pressure monitoring but word of mouth spreads quickly in small communities. Other health community professionals in my town know of my role and I am sure the Faith Community nursing role is valid. People ring me and/or stop me in the street for advice. It is very much a fellowship - caring role. God willing I will have many more years to continue in His service.



KathrynStarkyLast November I was licensed by  Bishop Victoria and given a ‘seeding grant’ from the Diocese of Christchurch to commence me on my journey into Parish or Faith Community Nursing.  It has been a year of discovery as I work through the 12 modules, developed as an Introductory Course to Faith Nursing, read from resources at the Kinder Library and reflect in a peer group that meets bimonthly in Christchurch.  I work with members of my faith community and  I am part of the pastoral team. I work with mothers and their young children, the elderly and housebound in my congregation and help with Eucharist services in the local rest home.  As part of my parish nursing I have developed a foot clinic. Seen in the photos I have enclosed is a 75 year old woman who has developed macula degenerative disease which has left her partially blind and with the prognosis of blindness.  At our foot clinics we prayer together.  Our hands joined, we hold a cross, a candle burns on the table nearby and we spend time praying together, listening and being in God’s presence.   Also pictured is our National Coordinator, Diane Webster, who spent a morning with us offering support and mentorship.

Kathryn's more recent involvement with NZFCNA has been at regional level through regular attendances at the peer support group. In 2012 she has taken a turn in spiritual reflections and worship. She also gave a presentation on FCN to the Christchurch Clergy Conference and to the Timaru Hospital at a Professional Development Day.


Sarah-walkerSarah first heard of this ministry in 2010 from her minister/father who works at Ellesmere Cooperating Parish. She is currently exploring how this form of nursing can fit into a community like hers and completed her basic training in time for the conference in September 2012, when she received her certificate of achievement in the presence of her father.




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