Church nurse spells new Suffolk project

A CHURCH is today employing a nurse to work in its parish in the first project of its kind in Suffolk.

A CHURCH is today employing a nurse to work in its parish in the first project of its kind in Suffolk.

Jane Pears, a qualified district nurse, will work in the Walton area of Felixstowe for the Maidstone Road Baptist Church, offering spiritual, mental and physical care to people of all faiths and non-believers.

The project Parish Nursing Ministries is just taking off in Britain, having already proved successful in America, Canada, and New Zealand.

In Felixstowe, it is another part of churches reaching out to the community with congregations in the town already funding a worker for the elderly, and a town-wide youth worker to engage with young people.

Mrs Pears was commissioned as parish nurse by Rev Paul Hills from the Eastern Baptist Association at a service at Maidstone Road Baptist Church. She is being employed by the church initially for two days a week, for the next three years.

Linda Paris, part of the nursing ministry team, said: “Jane is a qualified district nurse, already working in Felixstowe.

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“In this new role she will be able to give people time, and provide holistic care.

“Jane will also train and co-ordinate a team of volunteers to help her meet needs in the community. A health cabinet also supports the parish nurse by providing advice, management and fundraising support.

“Parish Nursing is new to the UK. This new ministry is reminiscent of the past tradition within the church nation-wide whereby the church not only met people's spiritual needs but also their physical and emotional needs in a holistic approach to healthcare.”

Jane has completed a three-year pilot scheme with Parish Nursing Ministries UK and will be working with church ministers, healthcare professionals, and offering health advice, referring people for treatment, making pastoral visits, and providing bereavement care.

The church conducted a community survey in Walton three years ago in order to gauge the needs in the community and the nursing projects aims to meet some of the key needs identified.


What do you think of the parish nurse idea? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail