Recently, Interchurch Health Ministries (ICHM) Canada referenced a comment from Canadian Medical Association Chief Chris Simpson that triggered some staggering thoughts.
In each of our pews and in each of our congregations we have families (young and old) choosing between buying food and paying for prescription medication; we have friends and family walking a journey of a terminal illness who have no access to hospice palliative care; and five million of our fellow Canadians are, today, without a Family Doctor.
Such staggering statistics can only lead to one conclusion: now is not the time to reduce our collective sense of responsibility and start to eliminate access to community-based health care. Now is the time to work tirelessly to significantly increase access to community-based health care. The Health and Healing Ministries ICHM Canada supports are a cornerstone in this effort. Drawing the circle of a Health & Healing Ministry wider through public awareness is a mandate and a responsibility we take very seriously as we pursue the following goals:
To Draw the Circle Wider within our Existing Partnerships
We are further committed to helping other ministries, within our existing Faith Partners, to work together to benefit each member of the congregation by addressing and bringing awareness to issues that specifically affect their ministry. ICHM Canada, for example, is excited about having launched a Poster Competition for our Children and Youth Ministries. The thought of the number of children taking their own life, such as Amanda Todd, because of bullying is unimaginable! Our Competition in support of Pink Shirt Day was about “Belonging.”
To Draw the Circle Wider within Our Existing Partnerships’ Geographical Communities
Currently, Interchurch Health Ministry Professional Partners meet monthly in five geographically established regions. Utilizing a model known as a the Professional Practice Group (PPG), this endeavor is an excellent example of the power of collaboration for the good work done by ICHM Canada’s Health & Healing Ministries. To support this important activity, ICHM Canada is committed to providing awareness projects and campaigns to increase the number of partnerships, thus strengthening the community care available. One such opportunity is a free Information Forum. Typically hosted at a venue such a community centre, library or City Hall, these sessions open the door for churches (congregations) not currently providing a vibrant health and healing ministry to ICHM Canada. During the forum we present foundational information to help congregations determine what direction they may wish to pursue including a partnership relationship with ICHM Canada.
To Draw the Circle Wider among the General Christian Public
Building relationships with key Christian organizations, professional organizations, Christian Community Leaders and Christian based media outlets is the major effort currently being undertaken by ICHM Canada to increase the number of geographic communities successfully providing church-based health and healing ministries. Members of ICHM Canada’s Ambassador Team are available to speak at public events, address nursing (PSW/RPN/RN) students and universities, community colleges and career colleges as well as provide resource material that support and explain the need for every faith community to take an active and passionate role in the care of their communities.
To Draw the Circle Wider in support of the Inclusiveness of Faith-Based Organizations
Leaders in business and politics are hesitant to support or draw attention to faith-based organizations. In general terms, the concern appears to be a perceived “affiliation” with one belief system or narrow avenue of public opinion. At Interchurch Health Ministries (ICHM) Canada, we view this as being hesitant to support someone wearing red shoes because it may appear that support suggests the exclusion of those wearing black or brown shoes…or, no shoes at all!
Those of us in ministry share this challenge in common and
ICHM Canada is proud to be on the leading edge of communication with other faith-based healing organizations. Our goal is to share ideas that can lead to more global support of faith-based, charitable services. Such an effort only serves all peoples in the most inclusive manner while achieving the important mandate to take pressure off the health care system so that each of us has the chance to access the best quality health and healing care available.