By the Rev. Annie H. Sistrunk
The Parish Nursing Health Care Ministry of the Orangeburg Circuit is going strong and making a difference within the community.
In 2021 the Parish Nursing Ministry of the Orangeburg Circuit began with a fifth Sunday service event, which consisted of a health fair and presentations from medical experts. The inaugural event was blessed with the attendance of Dr. Milner. Dr. Milner was willing to be a part of another event in 2022 with an update on COVID-19 and the flu season.
Under the leadership of S. Elaine Leonard, we have continued to be viable in the work of health care for our churches and community. We have addressed many medical and community ailments that have been detrimental to society. We have worked diligently to keep our members updated with various guidelines for continued safety from COVID in order that we may stay in our sanctuaries physically and spiritually.
We encouraged each congregation to obtain purifiers to help with sanitizing our sanctuaries and maintain a clean environment. We also inspected each church building to make sure any necessary adjustments were corrected. We have followed the guidelines as set by the Centers for Disease Control and encouraged our members to update COVID shot records on a continuous basis. At each fifth Sunday health awareness service, we have been blessed to have nurses come to give COVID shots.
Also, the Hon. Pandora Jones-Glover addressed probate court information for our ministry. We have brought in doctors to address other health ailments that are hurting our community, especially African Americans. We also received information from a chaplain at our local hospital concerning the choices one must make for our loved ones when they are unable to speak for themselves. We addressed making decisions for loved ones on the verge of death and how we can handle funeral arrangements beforehand. Sometimes we wait until it happens, but preparations before it happens make it easier and sometimes less expensive.
We have continued to make our fifth Sunday services health-informative for all in attendance. Not only did we have a medical expert at our service, but we also addressed domestic violence with a presentation from CASA/Family Systems. CASA is a private, not-for-profit organization serving Bamberg, Calhoun and Orangeburg counties whose primary focus is providing prevention, advocacy and intervention to individuals and families who have been affected by sexual assault, family violence and/or child abuse and neglect.
At our first health presentation for 2023, the parish nursing ministry was blessed to bring heart health information to our circuit. Not only did we have a presentation from a cardiologist, Dr. Green B. Neal, but we also had testimonies from members within our congregations. These members survived heart attacks, undiagnosed heart ailments and more. One member was told to have his wife drive him to the hospital for necessary attention. Who can survive such events? Only those who receive the necessary medical care from specialized doctors with heart knowledge.
Dr. Neal’s presentation was important and addressed heart concerns that made me think about what could have happened to my husband that caused his death. To hear the term “widow maker” really hit home for me, and listening to Dr. Neal and the testimonies from survivors opened my eyes to what I may have missed during the last few days of his life.
We also were able to give updated COVID shots to 19 individuals and four influenzas shots. Our partner, the Zeta Eta Eta Chapter of Chi Eta Phi Sorority Inc., assisted our heart-healthy event by giving blood pressure checks.
On April 30, the Parish Nursing Health Care Ministry will present Health Sunday at 10 a.m. at Mount Nebo United Methodist Church, 1919 Kennerly Road, Orangeburg, SC 29118. We will be focusing on kidney health for this event. It will be presented by the Parish Nursing Health Care Ministry partnering with the sorority and sponsored by the Kidney Foundation.
At a time like this in our denomination, it is important to know ministry is still alive and strong. There is so much uncertainty, but our connection to one another is still viable.