What is Health Ministry?

Health ministries include the many ministries of a faith community that promote wholistic health.  Health is viewed as a gift from God and a way of relational living in community.  These caring ministries are an essential part of congregational life.  They incorporate the values, beliefs, and practices of a faith community as components in motivating persons toward health and wholeness. Health promotion and religious beliefs are integrated into the normal cycles of life – birth, wellness, development, maturation, illness, and death – to celebrate life; to enhance coping, wholeness, and a sense of peace; and improve community well-being.  Intentional contextual practices of caring honor a faith community’s sense of mutual dependence and foster persons’ ability to both give and receive care.

The mission of the Health Ministries Association (HMA) is to encourage, support and empower leaders in the integration of faith and health in local communities.  HMA includes faith community nurses, health ministers, program leaders, and spiritual leaders who have developed health ministries in diverse faith communities.  At HMA we use the term Constituency Groups to define members in these areas of practice.  Review our Vision and Mission below then visit our Constituency Groups page to learn more about these specialty practice areas.

Our Vision

HMA aspires to engage, educate and empower people of faith to be passionate and effective leaders for creating healthier communities.

Health Ministries Association, (HMA), is the recognized professional membership association for the nursing specialty of faith community nursing and promotes education, research utilization, and evidence-based practice. They are the co-authors with the American Nurses Association of the ANA-HMA publication, Faith Community Nursing Scope and Standards of Practice, 3rd Edition. 2017.

Our Mission

HMA encourages, supports and empowers leaders in the integration of faith and health in their local communities.

Our History

Health Ministries Association (HMA): Since 1989

During the 1960‐1970′s the Rev. Dr. Granger Westberg, a hospital chaplain and medical school professor, began the establishment of wholistic care clinics in churches, staffed by a physician, nurse, social worker and pastoral counselor.

In the early 1980′s the concept of the parish nurse began. By 1986, special training programs were established at the Lutheran Hospital, Park Ridge, IL and the Lutheran Hospital , Des Moines, IA.  Through its corporate structure, Lutheran General Hospital System formed programs for congregational partnerships and established the Parish Nurse Resource Center. An advisory committee began exploring the establishment of a membership organization to further promote the concept of health ministries/parish nursing.

HMA Summit in 2010 – Key founding members with HMA Past President’s Marlene Feagan & Sharon Stanton


September 28, 1989, The Health Ministries Association was established at a meeting prior to the annual Parish Nurse Resource Center’s annual conference in Chicago, IL. “We are thrilled to know that the Church is finally becoming aware of the tremendous potential in giving leadership to the whole field of preventive medicine, or what might be better called “Wellness Care.” (Westberg; Connections; Vol.1 #1, Aug. 1989)

To read more on HMA’s Annual Conferences and Awards History click the buttons below.

Annual Meeting & Conference History
Annual Meeting & Conference History Map
Annual HMA Awards History