What is the theological rationale for the Health Ministry via the Faith Community Nurse?
Very Reverend Charles Tyrrell
Parish Nurse Conference "Gaining Altitude for a Clearer Vision" Isaiah 40:31
Vaughan Park, Auckland October 2007
THEOLOGY AND HEALTH
I was ordained 30 years ago in Liverpool cathedral, England, by Bishop David Sheppard. For the first year of my ordained life I was a Deacon, under training from my wise and vastly experienced Rector, former prisoner of war of the Japanese, Owen Eva. It was Owen who asked me to preach my first sermon as a curate one week later.
I did not keep a copy of that first sermon as I discarded all my sermon texts 10 years later in an attempt not to reuse them time and time again. However, I do remember the New Testament passage very well. It was from the Act of the Apostles chapter 3. Allow me to read it to you.
"One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, at three o'clock in the afternoon. And a man lame from birth was being carried in. People would lay him daily at the gate of the temple called the Beautiful Gate so that he could ask for alms from those entering the temple. When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked them for alms. Peter looked intently at him, as did John, and said, 'Look at us.' And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. But Peter said, 'I have no silver or gold, but what I have I give you; in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, stand up and walk.' And he took him by the right hand and raised him up; and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. Jumping up, he stood and began to walk, and he entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. All the people saw him walking and praising God, and they recognized him as the one who used to sit and ask for alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him."
I can just about remember some of the points I made, I think! Starting a new ministry with a new congregation, I remember saying something like "I come to you not as someone with pots of money (and that hasn't changed!) or even the length of experience of the Rector, but what I have I would like to share with you: in the name of the risen Christ I would like to help you to walk the Christian faith and spiritually, to leap and praise God." I also recognised the importance of maintaining a regular pattern of worship as the disciples did in those early days of the church.