Health Ministries

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May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Shining a light on mental health awareness month is crucial for fostering understanding, empathy and support for those experiencing mental health challenges. One in five people will have a mental health condition in their lifetime. It’s essential to recognize that mental health is just as important as physical health and addressing it openly helps breakdown stigma and barriers to seeking help. Participation in mental health awareness movements can take many forms. Here are some ways you can become involved.

Educate yourself: Take the time to learn about different mental health conditions or symptoms and how they impact individual lives; understanding fosters empathy and reduces stigma. NAMI offers Mental Health First Aid classes. The classes provide a thorough understanding of mental health conditions and symptoms, and also connects you to a supportive community. Click here to sign up for Mental Health First Aid

Start conversations: Break the silence surrounding mental health by initiating conversations with friends, family and colleagues. Sharing personal experiences or simply being a supportive listener can help make a significant difference.

Support mental health initiatives: Get involved with NAMI Metro Suburban or other affiliates. This can involve volunteering, participating in fundraising or spreading awareness through social media. Click here to purchase tickets to our 2024 Celebration of Hope Gala

Prioritize self-care: Practice self-care techniques to maintain your own mental well-being. This could be include activities like exercise, mindfulness, hobbies or spending time with loved ones. It’s never too early to start. If you have a teen have them check out The Loft at Eight Corners. Click here for more information

Be a supportive ally: Offer support and understanding to those struggling with mental health challenges. This may involve providing a listening ear, offering practical assistance, or connecting them to NAMI Metro Suburban’s FREE 24/7Living Rooms for crisis care and support. Call now: 708-524-2582

By collectively engaging in these efforts, we can continue to make progress in promoting mental health awareness. Every act, no matter how big or small helps create compassion and understanding in our shared communities!

Our Faith Community Nurse
Jean Larson, MSN, RN

First Congregational Church is pleased to offer the congregation access to a Health Ministry program led by our Faith Community Nurse, Jean Larson, MS, RN.

Jean Larson bio photo

Our Faith Community Nurse supports the holistic health of our members by helping them to see the link between faith and health all through the following activities: personal health counseling, health education, health screenings, referral to medical practitioners and resources, and the facilitation of support groups. Although Jean holds an advanced nursing degree in geriatric nursing, she serves members of all ages.

For more information about any of our Health Ministry program offerings, contact Jean at 708.784.1900 or at

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“To suppress the grief, the pain, is to condemn oneself to a living death.  Living fully means feeling fully; it means being completely one with what you are experiencing and not holding it at arm’s length.”  — Phillip Kapleau   

Pastor Meredith and Jean Larson, our Faith Community Nurse, are considering facilitating a grief support group in April/May if there is enough interest.  If this is something you think you might want to participate in, please email Meredith or Jean. 

Grief Support_IG
Blood pressure screening

Blood Pressure Screening

9AM–12PM, 3rd Sunday of each month
Office of Jean Larson RN MSN, Faith Community Nurse office
1st floor of Education Building

Have your blood pressure checked and recorded on an individualized screening card.  This is intended to help you monitor your own health and you are encouraged to share these results with your doctor.

Red Cross Blood Drive

The gift of blood is invaluable to those in need.  First Congregational Church hosts drives a few times throughout the year.  Check the Red Cross website or contact  for information on our next drive.

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Pairs of hands holding each other while praying

Prayer Team

Lifting our joys, thanks, and concerns to God is central to our Christian faith.  The Prayer Team is a group of individuals committed to praying for others.  We pray by first name only and keep the joys and concerns confidential.  Each Thursday the updated list is sent out via email to the team. 

Would you like to join this prayerful ministry? Send an email to Jean at and we’ll get you on the team!  Do you have a joy or concern you’d like us to pray for?  Send an email to or leave a note in the locked prayer request box just outside the sanctuary.

Tai Chi Tuesdays

Plymouth Hall

Join this video-based class including Tai Chi and other exercises that promote strength and balance.  This class is slow moving with a chair available for each participant to support balance, rest when needed, and do exercises while seated.  Loose fitting, comfortable clothes and gym shoes are recommended.  No charge for this class.

Tai Chi at First Congo
Nurse giving a flu shot

Annual Flu Shot Clinics

Keeping up to date on vaccines is an important aspect of good health.  Each year First Congo hosts a Flu Vaccine Clinic to provide easy access to the annual flu vaccine.  Other vaccines such as shingles and pneumonia are available upon request.

The fall Flu Shot Clinic date will be determined soon. Please check this webpage periodically for updates.

Called to Care

Called to Care is comprised of volunteers who offer compassion, time, support, and prayer to other members who may no longer be able to attend church or are experiencing an illness. These visiting lay care companions do not replace visits from First Congregational Church clergy or our Faith Community Nurse, but complement the visits made by the pastoral care team.  Volunteers hold these relationships and conversations in confidence. Faith Community Nurse Jean Larson and Rev. Meredith Onion are the staff liaisons. Barry Orr-Depner is the lay leader. Please contact any of these liaisons if you would like to learn more, volunteer or be matched with a companion.

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Multiple hands forming the shape of a heart

Caregiver Support Group

The Caregiver Support Group allows caregivers to talk to others who are experiencing the same joys and challenges, who not only can empathize, but also offer valuable insights and counsel.

Caregiver and Grief Support Groups are formed as needed.  If you are interested in a support group, email Faith Community Nurse Jean Larson at

Congo Cooks Meal Ministry

The Congo Cooks Meal Ministry helps us to care for one another by providing meals to members in need of help due to a hospitalization, injury, new baby, or other life challenge. Volunteers sign up on an as-needed basis to make and deliver a meal. To be added to this meal team of volunteers, please contact our Faith Community Nurse Jean Larson at

An extension of the Meal Ministry is the Congo Cooks Soup Ministry which allows for us to have packaged homemade soup and bread frozen and available for our pastors and nurse to deliver when making pastoral visits.

A grocery delivery bag
An elderly couple with one in a wheelchair and one with a walking cane

Medical Equipment Lending Closet

Do you need durable medical equipment such as a walker, cane, wheelchair, shower chair or commode?  Before you purchase anything, please check with  If we have what you need in our Medical Lending Closet, you may borrow the equipment for as long as you need.

Transport Services

If you need help getting to and from church, contact Parish Nurse Jean Larson at 708.784.1900 or at Jean will make arrangements for your transportation.

A man driving a car
First Congo women painting together

MORE Classes and Workshops

Learn more about our classes and workshops including:

  • Faith & Flow Yoga
  • Tai Chi classes
  • Watercolor Classes
  • Music