Parish nursing a step closer in Taunton

Taunton Parish Nursing project takes shape Taunton is one step closer to having its first parish nurse. Revd Debbi Turley of St. Peter’s Lyngford with her PCC has caught the vision. At a united service for Pentecost, Debbi announced the church’s decision to recruit a nurse to work with them in the Priorswood area.  Parish Nursing is pastoral care through nurses eyes, as part of a pastoral care ministry of a church or group of churches.

Three Christians from different churches in Taunton have been working together with a vision to establish a Parish Nursing Ministry for the Taunton area. Clare Steel, Sue Allen and Viv Henderson got support in principle for the project from church leaders across the town a couple of years ago.

“Two of us are retired Registered Nurses with experience of developing and managing nursing services and the third is the former Lead Chaplain from Musgrove Park Hospital.” said Clare, St George’s, Wilton PCC Member. ‘We were delighted that St Peter’s Lyngford have shown interest in Parish Nursing. A Parish Nurse must have the formal oversight of a Christian congregation with charitable status. We are starting small and hopes to recruit a volunteer as our first nurse later this year. But first St. Peter’s has to establish itself as a local project of Parish Nursing Ministries, a registered charity.”

A Parish Nursing Ministry will enable Taunton Christians to demonstrate even more care for our neighbours, by enhancing Christian outreach bringing together care, faith and healing for all faiths and none. The Parish Nurse works alongside the church’s pastoral team and to complement existing community healthcare.

The nurse acts as a health advocate, educating and motivating people to take positive action regarding their wellness and health whilst facilitating social and spiritual connections with God, one another, and the community. Parish Nursing has the backing of the Church of England at the highest levels. The Bishop of London, Rt Revd Sarah Mullally, who prior to ordination was Chief Nurse for England, has written of the exciting potential of having a nurse on a pastoral team. She says, “ I was struck by the findings of a qualitative study of 15 churches with a Parish nursing service and a control group of 77 other churches.  It found that the mission of the church was enhanced by parish nursing in three main ways.  There was increased contact with non-churchgoers; volunteering by church members around the health initiative increased; and the range of missional activities undertaken was broadened, not just in the realm of physical health, but across the board, in mental health, community health and spiritual health interventions.”

“We are very encouraged that the Bishop of Taunton, the Right Rev Ruth Worsley has given us her backing” said Sue Allen,  All Saints Trull PCC Member. “She was a registered nurse too. The Diocese of Bath and Wells helped with the initial application fee registration costs.”

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