History of ELPNA

The Evangelical Lutheran Parish Nurse Association (ELPNA) is a nonprofit, 501c3 membership organization.  It is comprised of registered nurses who are parish nurses affiliated with an ELCA/ Lutheran congregation or as an ELCA/Lutheran congregational member serving another denomination.  Founded in 2004, with the first membership list of 65 parish nurses in the Minneapolis and St. Paul Area Synods of Minnesota. The organizational committee consisted of:  Sandy Connell, Sue Ann Glusenkamp, Carolyn Torp, Barbara Zell, Wanda Alexander, Tammy Devine, Brenda Hawkinson, Valborg Tollefsrud, Annette Langdon, Mary Nordvedt and Diane Waarivik. Bishop Craig Johnson was very supportive during this process.  In 2008 the ELPNA expanded to a National organization under the leadership of Annette Landgon.  Since then a National Board of Directors has been elected with representatives from 8 of the 9 ELCA Regions.  There is a listing of the regions on this web site and what synods they represent.  (See News from the Regions)

      The Web site was originally started in Region 3 and has now come under the management of the National Board. Each region welcomes input from ELPNA members. Check with your regional director who will help enter the desired information on the web site. 

     During the course of development this organization has worked with the ELCA Church wide office and fell under their 501c3 jurisdiction in 2010.  ELPNA is considered an independent Lutheran organization recognized by church wide in their yearbook every year.  ELPNA has worked very hard to have a presence at all the church wide gatherings since Minneapolis in 2009. The organization sets up an area by the paramedics with lounge chairs and a restful environment.  Discussion of parish nursing takes place, minor nursing care is provided and prayer is offered to all who enter the area. The organization has also been at national WELCA (Women of the ELCA) gatherings, Men in Mission conferences and National Youth Gatherings.  ELPNA is present every year at the Westberg Conference.

     ELPNA partners with Portico which provides financial planning and management to the rostered staff. Our liaison is Tammy Devine (a Lutheran Parish Nurse) hired by Portico to promote clergy wellness. This organization has helped provide excellent health information and classes that are available to the ELPNA membership to use with their congregations.  Portico  helped professionally develop the brochure used by ELPNA.  We are very thankful for Porticos support.        

     Luther Seminary in St Paul, MN has provided much support to ELPNA with meeting and retreat space as well as a wealth of educational speakers.  The campus has a parish nurse that has worked to help develop classes for parish nursing at the seminary level.

     Growing a national organization is a huge undertaking. ELPNA is an entirely volunteer effort.  The board welcomes input from all the Lutheran parish nurses across the country.  The main communication is through the web site and thanks to Phyllis Bruce (Minneapolis) and Mary Jo Halberg (St Paul) it has continued to expand and grow to meet many needs.  It is hopeful that with the cooperation of Luther Seminary special events and gatherings of the ELPNA can be live streamed throughout the USA.

     The national ELPNA organization consists of two directors from each of the 9 ELCA regions.  An election is held by the membership every fall.  An executive board consists of a chairperson, a vice chairperson, a secretary, treasurer, a membership chair and a web site coordinator.  The board meets monthly by phone (thanks to Portico) and business is conducted.  Minutes are available on the web site. Dues for the organization are $30.  Out of this fee, $20 goes to the regional account where the member works and $10 goes to the National Treasury. 

The membership is open to Registered Nurses who have completed a Parish Nurse Preparation class and are paid/unpaid/retired parish nurse staff.  They should work with an ELCA or other Lutheran congregation or belong to a Lutheran congregation and work in a church of another denomination.

 Your membership and input is vital to our growth and presence at the ELCA gatherings.  Please consider joining us and supporting this vital network of parish nurses.  Questions and information can be directed to your regional representative or to any of the other board members.

Blessings to each of you as your ministering to so many continues to fill your hearts.

June Sand RN, BSN, FCN
Vice Chair of ELPNA