News from Region 8

Region 8 includes:  Northwestern and Southwestern Pennsylvania/Allegheny, Upper and Lower Susquehanna, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC, and West Virginia

Region 8 Representatives are Ruth Manchester, Silver Spring, MD,, and Marilee Tollefson, Silver Spring, MD,

                             Ruth                                                          Marilee     

Welcome to ELPNA-the Evangelical Lutheran
Parish Nurse the Region 8 web page.
We’d like to introduce ourselves.
If you have news to share from your Synod or Network, let us know so we can post.

Ruth Manchester originally hails from Minnesota, and after taking her nurses training at Methodist-Kahler School of Nursing in Rochester, MN and obtaining a BSN at the University of Minnesota, she then moved to the Washington, DC area. She has been a paid parish nurse at Saint Luke Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, MD for the past 18 years. In this capacity, she is in charge of Caring Ministries, Social Ministry, and the one-to-one caring that a parish nurse does. She has an MA in art history from the University of Maryland, so combines her love of art with Parish Nursing. She is mom to Sarah and Dan and “Grandma” to Raina, Alden, Evan, and Aaron.

Marilee Tollefson is from South Dakota, has a BSN from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, during which time she joined the Army Student Nurse Program, and was on active duty for 23 years. During that time she earned MSN, and upon retirement from the Army Nurse Corps, worked at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, DC. She is currently paid staff faith community nurse at Lutheran Church of St. Andrew in Silver Spring, MD for the past 17 years, coordinating care teams, serving as staff liaison to Social Ministry, and supporting many volunteers on the Health and Wellness Teams.  Marilee has two daughters, Sara and Mari Liv and is “Gramma” to Lauren, Eric, and Emery.

We are members of the Holy Cross Hospital network of faith community nurses.


Greetings from the Evangelical Lutheran Parish Nurse Association (ELPNA)
 We have an exciting opportunity for Lutheran congregations. Members of the ELPNA have long been supportive of new parish nurse ministry start-ups and are acutely aware of the challenging financial situations of congregations. In response to this need, the ELPNA will annually provide funds for start-up or development of a new focus in an existing parish nursing ministry, for a minimum of two (2) Lutheran congregations. Congregations can request up to $750.00 in grant funding.

 A comment from a congregation that has a parish nursing ministry: 

 Pastor Cheryl Mathison – St. Philip the Deacon

We are so grateful to have our parish nurse at St. Philip the Deacon.  Her creative energy, passion for health and deep faith help us to reach out to more people in new ways.  We are so thankful for the grant, which has helped us to meet the needs of this large faith community.

We are asking for your assistance in publicizing the information to Lutheran congregations. Grant applications are due by May 1st, 2021 via an electronic submission process. The awards will be announced within a month of the deadline with funds issued within the 30 days of approval of the grant.  Application forms are available on the website.   

We are pleased to be able to award these grants to promote and support parish nurse ministry.
The ELPNA Scholarship & Grants Committee

Click here for the application form

Support Groups

Montgomery County
National Allegience for Mental Health (NAMI)
Week of April 12 virtual support groups are listed below.
To register for a group, go to

If you are 18+ years old and living with a mental health condition, this class is for you. This is an 8-week class beginning Thursday, April 29th.

Click the image above to learn more.

If your loved one with a mental health condition is over 18, this class is for you. This is an 8-week class beginning Thursday, April 22nd.

Click the image above to learn more.

If your loved one with a mental health condition is 18 or under, this class is for you. This is a 6-week class beginning Wednesday, April 21st.

Click the image above to learn more.

Dear Colleagues,
    The holidays are approaching, we continue to deal with isolation from the pandemic and sadly, families must continue to suffer through the heartache of pregnancy loss.  I invite you to share this registration link with anyone who may be on this grief journey.  This support group will be held in a ZOOM format and participants must register with Adventist Health Care to get the link to the meeting.  Please feel free to share my contact information with anyone who might benefit from this peer support. cell-240-481-3903.  Although I have found the virtual meetings challenging, the last group we held a family from Temecula, CA was able to join us. Be well, stay safe.

Jeanine McGrath, RN, CCE, CD(DONA)
By Your Side Birth Services,LLC
15602 Twin Valley Court


Bereavement Support

For those who are grieving the death of a loved one, the Holy Cross Bereavement Program offers a nine-week grief support program that is held on Wednesdays, 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. and drop-in grief group meetings held every other Saturday, 2 to 3:30 p.m. or every other Thursday, 12-1 p.m. at the the Holy Cross Resource Center, 9805 Dameron Drive, Silver Spring, and one Saturday a month, 2-3:30 p.m., at Holy Cross Germantown Hospital, 19801 Observation Drive, Germantown, MD 20876 Spanish language groups are also offered.  For more information, contact the Bereavement Center at 301-754-7742 or

Hope Connections for Cancer
You're not alone.
At Hope Connections for Cancer Support, you will find a community of support for all people affected by cancer.


Saint Luke Lutheran in Silver Spring is a Recipient of an
ELCA Hunger Grant

Ruth receiving grant 2019

Saint Luke Lutheran Church in Silver Spring was awarded a $3000 Hunger Grant from the ELCA. It was used it to provide classes for our food pantry recipients. Six sessions of five days each were held in English and Spanish by an educator from the University of Maryland Extension under a program called EFNEP-Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. On May 8, Saint Luke was recognized as a “Hero” of the program. The grant monies were used to award the attendees with a gift card from a local grocery store. (The educational program was state-funded.) Ruth Manchester, Parish Nurse, is receiving the award. Hunger Grants for 2020 are now open for application. Visit the ELCA website for more information

Workshops and Educational Programs

FCN Monthly Circle

Wednesday Feb 24th, 1230-130pm, we will have our first FCN Monthly Circle. It is open to all those in Health Ministry to connect and to share some resources and fellowship.  This first Wednesday, Sara Hufstader from Voice your Choice will join us to tell us more about their program, outreach and education around Advance Care Planning.  The other part of the time will be sharing other related resources and some reflection.  The link to join the webex is below. Feel free to contact us with any questions.


Featuring Guest Speakers:
Sharon Denny, MA, Senior Director of Programs


Esther Kane, BSN, RN-CDP, Support & Education Director
both with The Association of Frontotemporal Degeneration

During this webinar, Sharon Denny and Esther Kane will discuss:
• What is FTD?
• How does FTD differ from Alzheimer’s disease?
• Understanding the symptoms of FTD
• Approaches to care and the role of residential care
• Barriers to diagnosis and why
• Options for treatment- targeted care is needed
• FTD’s impact on the family
• Resources for families and professionals

Virtual Compassion Fatigue Training

 Compassion Fatigue Training provides immediate training for leadership, as well as health care workers and volunteers, to manage the impact of regularly helping people experiencing traumatic stress. The goal of this training is to help workers prevent compassion fatigue, vicarious trauma and post-traumatic stress.



Prevention Services of the Northwestern Community Services Board

Last week I met with two prevention specialists and learned of the multitude of FREE resources available through this community partner.  Their mission is to prevent substance misuse and suicide and to promote mental wellness in the Lord Fairfax Planning District. This link gives more information on services and the work they are doing:  Representatives are scheduled to present to our network in September, and will provide more details on services, including those listed below.

Lock and TALK Virginia provides services and materials designed to promote safe and responsible care of guns, medication, and other lethal means.

  • Mental Health First Aid USA is a skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues.


Covid-19 Resources

Guidelines for Phase 3 of Virginia’s Reopening -   (information for churches starts on page 32)

76 CVS locations in Virginia available for COVID testing -

The Dove
A publication of the Holy Cross Faith Community Nurse Program, serving faith community nurses, health ministers, clergy, and partners in faith and health.

Dove archive on the brand new website is now updated right away when the latest issue  is published. The archive is in a box on the left side of the opening page. 

Policies for Mental Health Services for the Uninsured: Click here for document
This is written in English and Spanish.  It has a 2010 date but is still current.

Cornerstone Montgomery ACT and Crisis Houses:

 ACT (Assertive Community Treatment Services) – call 240-855-3061 to make a referral.  They work with patients MD Medicaid and Medicare.  Patients must be resident of Montgomery County.
Residential Crisis Houses
They work with patients in a psychiatric crisis; emergency rooms to help divert a psychiatric hospitalization; clients reside in Maryland/preferably Montgomery County; They take Maryland Medicaid, Medicare; and uninsured clients.  Call 301-340-6510 for more information. 

They provide Psychiatric Case Management.  They work with Maryland Medicaid (not Medicare).  They work with a variety of patients, including the homeless population.  The contact person is:  Sondra Trannen/Executive Vice President  410-863-7213x103 
Anyone can refer.

Recovery Centers of America
They Provide Substance Abuse Treatment; Contact person is Sarah Watson 509-438-6583; in her description of their services she writes: We are currently in the process of partnering with Shady Grove Medical Center, Washington Adventist Hospital, MedStar Montgomery and Nexus Montgomery with a focus on the Hope Act to reduce rehospitalization and fight the opioid epidemic…. [they have an]inpatient detoxification and residential program... We provide 24/7 admissions and complimentary transportation. We can normally have patients picked up and out of the hospital in 2-3 hours.

Daria Berman MS, RN
Faith Community Nurse Coordinator
Holy Cross Health – Faith Community Nurse Program
10720 Columbia Pike
Silver Spring, MD 20901
Phone: 301-754-7007
Office Hours: Tuesday and Thursday   8:00 to 4:00

Employment Opportunities

Dear Friends -

American HealthCare Group is hiring for several positions! American HealthCare Group employs on-site Service Coordinators who work one-on-one with residents in senior and family affordable housing communities. AHG's Supportive Services program delivers an individual residential assessment program. The assessments help residents to determine their eligibility for and to learn about community resources available such as SNAP (food stamps), health insurance options, transportation services, on-site health & wellness programs to name a few.

Immediate openings in the following areas:

  •       Crawford County, Cochranton (Service Coordinator and Nurse Coordinator)-
  •       Erie County, Erie (Service Coordinator and Nurse Coordinator)
  •       Franklin County, Shippensburg (Service Coordinator)
  •       Lycoming County, Muncy (Nurse Coordinator)
  •       Washington County, Canonsburg & Burgettstown (Service Coordinator & Nurse Coordinator)
  •       Multiple sites throughout PA (Tele Nurse Coordinator) –WORK FROM HOME!

If you know anyone who is interested, please let me know! You can send a resume or the online application is available here:

Warm Regards,
Erin Hart


  1. Pathways Wellness Program is also hiring nurses for our on-site immunization program for schools, employers & community groups. Locations throughout PA.



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