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The Mission

The mission of faith community nursing is to intentionally integrate the practices of faith and nursing so that people can achieve wholeness in, with, and through the community of faith in which they serve.

Throughout scripture, God calls people of faith to healing. Church Health cultivates relationships with individuals and congregations to encourage, educate and equip people to build and sustain healing ministries. As an integral part of a healing ministry, faith community nursing is one of the best ways a congregation can promote health and wholeness.
Granger E. Westberg

The Beginnings

Granger E. Westberg (1911-1999) was a pioneer who, over the course of a long and rich career, broke new ground in the areas of theology, clinical pastoral education, and whole person healthcare. Westberg was a Lutheran clergyman who had been a parish pastor, hospital chaplain, professor of practical theology and teacher of medical students. His work was based on his belief that healthcare transcends physical care, because true healing involves the whole person in the context of their community. One of Westberg’s most significant contributions to the church and the community at large was the founding of the parish nurse movement. Originally developed in 1984 as a partnership between Lutheran General Hospital in Park Ridge, Illinois and six area congregations, this new ecumenical movement soon grew to encompass nurses and churches around the country.
Granger E. Westberg

Equipping Parish Nurses

As the parish nurse movement grew, information was spread by advocates of whole-person health. In 1986, Advocate Health Care in Chicago decided to establish the National Parish Nurse Resource Center (NPNRC) to provide a nationwide clearinghouse for information about this growing movement. In 1991, the first foundational course in parish nursing was taught in Wisconsin. As parish nursing grew to include sites in other countries, the center adapted its work and changed the name to the International Parish Nurse Resource Center (IPNRC).

In 2002, the Center moved to the Deaconess Foundation in St. Louis. The work of the IPNRC focused on the provision and promotion of education, research and support through curriculum, resources and continuing education opportunities.

Granger E. Westberg

The IPNRC and Church Health

In 2011, the IPNRC moved again to its new home at Church Health in Memphis, TN. Yet the integrated history of the IPNRC and Church Health began in 1978 when Dr. Scott Morris was in the chaplain’s office of Yale Medical School. He saw a pamphlet on the chaplain’s desk entitled, “How to Start a Church-Based Health Clinic,” written by Granger Westberg. It was then, Morris says, that he knew what he wanted to do with this life. The next summer, he spent several weeks with Westberg and, with Westberg’s inspiration, founded Church Health in Memphis in 1987.

In 2007, Church Health in Memphis, Tennessee launched its new magazine called the Church Health Reader, which provides health ministry tips and ideas for churches and church leaders. The magazine’s growth led to the development of more and more resources. Through this, a relationship developed between the staff of the Church Health Reader and the IPNRC. This relationship was the beginning of an organizational partnership that led to the eventual transition of the IPNRC from the Deaconess Foundation to Church Health.

At the Westberg Symposium 2016, the IPNRC formally changed its name to the Westberg Institute, a ministry of Church Health.

As a ministry of Church Health, the Westberg Institute continues to develop innovative resources and education to promote to create the specialty practice from Westberg’s vision.

Upcoming Events

Thu 22

Faith Community Nurse Foundations Course

August 21 @ 8:00 am - October 23 @ 5:00 pm EDT
Shenandoah University
Winchester VA
Thu 22

ONLINE – Foundations in Faith Community Nursing

August 30 - December 13
Thu 22

Online Foundations of Faith Community Nursing Course

August 30 @ 8:00 am - December 5 @ 5:00 pm CDT

Our Office

1350 Concourse Ave., Suite 142
Memphis, TN 38104