In 1998, Episcopal Retirement Services embarked on a mission to support and strengthen the connection between faith and health by developing the Parish Health Ministry Program (PHM). The program has since offered health and wellness activities and services to more than 135 congregations.
Using a holistic approach, ERS coordinators train parish nurses and health ministers — who are typically volunteers from within the congregation — to plan, implement, and evaluate the ministry. These designated individuals are supported by a health cabinet, or an interdisciplinary team of church volunteers. The team is committed to seeing that the church’s “healing ministry” is carried out.
As a result, many members have made conscious decisions to improve their overall health in such ways as timely follow-up with their physicians about health concerns, exercising regularly, and spending more time in meditation and prayer.
The movement reflects the healing ministry of Jesus, who promoted wholeness of body, mind, and spirit. It is based on the premise that health is not just the absence of disease, but rather the maximum attainable state of a person’s emotional, intellectual, physical, social, spiritual, and vocational well-being.
Today, PHM has a relationship with 75 churches throughout Southern Ohio. It provides ongoing support services, programs, and educational opportunities that give ministry leaders the tools needed to help members live well.
Supported solely through financial donations, PHM invests $2,661 per church to help improve the lives of their members. The services are available to congregations of all denominations.
Partnering churches are asked to complete a one-page Report of Activities every quarter to capture the data and success stories related to the ministry. Teams are encouraged to share the information at meetings and with their governing body as a means to evaluate and inspire the ministry. Click here to download the form.