Rediscovering a Ministry of Health
It is not possible to look at the ministry of Jesus without noticing his concern for the poor and the sick. He not only had a huge sense of compassion for people who were suffering, but sent people out to heal the sick and tell them the Kingdom of God is near them. This concern for health and wholeness has inspired Christians through the ages as they have cared for the sick, founded hospitals, and been at the forefront of public health movements.
In the nineteenth century, the church was one of the major influencers in initiating ministries of health, both through the work of its own deaconesses and the involvement of its members as they felt a sense of vocation to nursing and public health work. Florence Nightingale was a theologian and statistician as well as being a nurse leader. However, with the advent of state health provision and private health insurance schemes, the role of the local church in health has diminished. This book describes a simple way for churches to re-engage with health ministry and presents evidence that underlines not only a Biblical authenticity for its place in the mission of a local church, but also a compelling rationale for its implementation. It will be of interest to church leaders and all those involved in health care. ""Helen Wordsworth tells an interesting story of how churches can connect with their local communities through the medium of nursing care, even in a context like the UK which has an effective system of free national health care. It gives another insight into the multi-faceted nature of holistic mission in Jesus's name and shows the positive effect such a ministry can have on a local church."" --Derek Tidball, former Principal, London School of Theology, Leicester, UK ""Helen Wordsworth is uniquely experienced in both ministry and healthcare to offer insights on missional implications of parish nursing. Her research demonstrates the impact this ministry has on serving communities. She also provides an introduction to the history, philosophy, and practice of parish nursing, explaining its uniqueness in relation to healthcare and congregational settings in the UK. Her significant findings and conclusions should be considered by congregational and healthcare leaders internationally."" --Deborah L. Patterson, former Executive Director, International Parish Nurse Resource Center, Salem, OR ""Nobody in the UK knows more about parish nursing than Helen Wordsworth, so I am delighted that she has written this comprehensive account of its theological rationale; what it involves in practice, and how it can make a significant contribution to the holistic mission of the church. Her compelling argument for the engagement of Christians with health care is also a stirring challenge to any local church to consider the appointment of a parish nurse."" --James Newcome, Lead Church of England Bishop for Health and Social Care, Bishop of Carlisle, Keswick, UK Helen Wordsworth is a Baptist minister with sixteen years of experience in mission enabling at regional level, alongside other denominations. She is also a Registered Nurse, Health Visitor, and Nurse Educator, and an Associate Fellow of Durham University Department of Theology. She is currently CEO of Parish Nursing Ministries UK, having introduced the concept to Britain in 2003.