Above the doorway, leaving my church, you see these works Ite Inflammate Omnia.  They are the Latin words used by St. Ignatius Loyola at the end of his letters to those Jesuits going off to do mission work. The very loose English translation can be rendered as “go, set the world on fire”. Many of the priests will conclude the celebration of mass by closing with those words.  It reminds us that as we leave the magnificent building, our journey begins.  We each are missionaries sent forth to share the word of God, in our words, deeds and actions.  We are sent to set the world with faith, hope and charity.  That is the mission of my church – and it is my mission.

On the walk home from church last evening, I thought of how this message plays out in my life.  I was thinking of how I use my voice to share my faith and my passions with those I encounter on my life journey. Everything we do and every person we come in contact with is an opportunity to be present, to share, and to engage.  Seizing these opportunities in our encounters gives us the opportunity to meet, explore and connect.  So, how does this relate to me, my work, my passion for the work I do in faith and health?

Health Ministries and Faith Community Nursing is evolving rapidly in a world that is changing by the day, and sometimes even by the minute. After more than 28 years of experience as the nationally recognized professional membership organization for Health Ministries and Faith Community Nursing, we have adjusted to “not sweat the small stuff” but rather be ever-learning.   We have been open to navigating the work of this ministry through being humble and open to learning and leading. Everyone benefits as you get “better” and as the faith and health journey continues, so does our ongoing development.

There is a wide network of HMA leaders nationwide who have been invested and inspired to work on several major projects for HMA this year.  I am convinced that these people are acting as change agents for the faith and health movement for our society and the world.  Their energy, devotion and passion stir my faith about the future and all of the possibilities. I believe a great deal of positive change is created in the world because of the work of HMA and its leadership.

The Health Minister Guidelines has been under revision, with a designated group looking at the changing landscape in health ministries.  They have been working diligently to think innovatively about the scope of practice for health ministers today, and what lies ahead.  They are engaged, thinking, and diversifying their approaches.  An overview of the work group document will be presented at the HMA conference next month.

As the professional membership organization for Faith Community Nursing recognized by the American Nurses Association (ANA), HMA is responsible to define the Scope and Standards of this nursing specialty. Following ANA’s revision of the Nursing: Scope and Standards of Practice 3rd Edition in 2015, nursing specialty organizations follow with revisions to their scope and standards of practice.

A work group was assembled over a year ago to develop the Scope and Standards of Practice: Faith Community Nursing, 3rd Edition. Hundreds of hours have been invested by a diverse and talented group of faith community nurses nationwide to create this new document.  Members of this work group have spent hours in discussions about the state of the current FCN practice, what is happening today and rising to the challenge of being forward thinking over the next five years of growth for this practice. I encourage you to take the time to read the document and use the comment form to address any comments and/or suggestions you may have for the work group to consider as they finalize the document after public review. HMA values and appreciates your participation in this important process.

The Health Ministries Association’s vision “aspires to engage, educate and empower people of faith to be passionate and effective leaders for creating healthier communities”. As your membership organization, we need you and the gifts each of you bring to the table to serve our members and the ministry.  We need your involvement, using your talents and strengths to continue to both nurture and move this important work forward. HMA is a place for you to be creative and supported in this ministry, creating a culture that allows people to grow.  We encourage our members to find their voice, tell their stories and GO and SET THE WORLD ON FIRE for health ministries!