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.
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.
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.