Tag Archives: Gaston Faith Network

FaithHealth – Gaston

SEABROOK SAYS: Do you know Lisa Marisiddaiah?. She is a parish nurse serving both First United Methodist and First Presbyterian churches. She too, is highly involved with a new process that, done in collaboration, will save significant money for the taxpayers while giving needed service to those who are just discharged by our hospital. NOW THAT YOU KNOW, WHAT WILL YOU DO?

Did you know that there are almost 800 faith communities in Gaston County filled with compassionate members? Imagine if even a small percentage of those were willing to partner with a community initiative, not only to strengthen their own health ministries, but to reach beyond their own walls to assist their neighbors in need. And if faith communities in the same geographic regions were willing to collaborate, to create a partnership to serve those in close proximity by combining their assets, we could really make an impact…we are always stronger when we come together.

 FaithHealth-Gaston is a new community-initiated program. It is a “movement” of compassionate care, partnering the strengths of congregations, the clinical expertise of health providers, and a network of community resources. The goal is to assist patients by offering them a network that they can rely on, someone they can trust to be with them at a time of need. This program is strongly supported by CaroMont Health, the CaroMont Health Foundation, Gaston County Department of Health and Human Services, Gaston Faith Network, Gaston Together, HealthNet Gaston and the United Way of Gaston County.

There are many things we overlook in the course of our day, and maybe even take for granted…being physically able to drive ourselves to a medical appointment or having the ability to prepare a meal. And when we are not feeling well, most of us have family, friends or neighbors who can and will assist. We have the luxury of being blessed to have the basics that we need to have a comfortable life, good health, and a network of supportive people.

Imagine if you weren’t so fortunate. Imagine if you did not have a support system; if your health declined and you couldn’t drive yourself to the doctor’s office or to the pharmacy to pick up your medications. Imagine if you didn’t have the energy to stand up long enough to prepare yourself a nutritious meal, or even to get to the store to purchase groceries to make that meal. Unfortunately, this is a reality for many older adults in our community. Many go without proper nutrition or prescribed therapies because they lack access to transportation. Sometimes that can lead to a health crisis that could have been prevented.

After many months of planning, FaithHealth-Gaston will soon begin assisting frail, elderly patients who are being discharged from CaroMont Regional Medical Center; patients who do not have a support network in place. Hospital staff will assess the needs and make a referral to the FaithHealth-Gaston Community Coordinator who will connect the patient with a caring volunteer.

 Volunteers from congregations will offer health care ministries for their members and neighbors. When illness strikes, they’ll provide support before, during and after hospitalization. They’ll make home visits, provide emotional and spiritual support, and help with meals, transportation and picking up medications. Training will be provided to these volunteers in respecting patients’ privacy, hospital visitation, care at the end of life, mental health first aide, and other topics. Partnering congregations will receive a wealth of educational resources aimed at improving health. Volunteers will gain the many benefits that come along with helping someone else, and the recipients will witness what a true relationship between faith and health looks like.

If you have a desire to be a volunteer, or would like to see that additional information be presented to your faith community leader, please contact Lisa Marisiddaiah, RN, BSN, FCN, Faith & Health Ministry Manager, CaroMont Health. lisa.marisiddaiah@caromonthealth.org or 704- 834-3516

 For additional information, please visit http://www.FaithHealthNC.org/Gaston





Preserving a Passion for Life

Early in my adult life I was frequently described using less than flattering terms like driven, aggressive, and relentless. While my drive to achieve generated professional success, I simply was not a pleasant person. I always wanted more. No level of accomplishment was ever enough, so I pushed myself and everyone around me for the ever-elusive gold standard of perfection.

Since perfection inevitably proved impossible for me I would shift my efforts to making those around me perfect. My colleagues, coworkers, and family exhibited the proverbial patience of Job just to tolerate my never-ending quest for more, more, more.

Over the course of time the planets of my life aligned causing me to realize that I am not the center of anyone’s universe.  I still remember the moment while on a flight from Seattle to Charlotte when this reality struck me like a ton of bricks. That poignant and sometimes painful journey is another story for another day, but the essence of it is this — through a series of deep frustrations and self-inflicted setbacks it became increasingly clear that I am not the sum total of my accomplishments. I embraced the full truth of my faith tradition and discovered that relentless pushing for perfection is not necessary. I discovered the ‘rest’ of the gospel that I had so arrogantly short-sold all my life. Realizing that my identity had been established in the work of Christ and not my own my own performance brought a welcome wave of relief not only to me, but to those around me. Gradually my obsessive drive receded and in its place a newfound passion emerged. I began working from who I truly am, not who I want to make myself appear to be.

What made this difference? What is that changes one from relentlessly driven to purposefully passionate? For me, it was simply acknowledging with my heart and my actions, rather than only with my lips, that there is a God. Once that happened, I no longer had to control every circumstance of my life. I could trust God’s plan.  And from honoring God, it was simply natural to honor His creations, who were the neighbors I had previously viewed as competitors.

This shifted perspective caused me to begin pursuing the power of partnerships and collaboration because I no longer had to hoard all the credit to feed my own fragile identity. No longer did I have to insulate myself from failure. Instead I could work wholeheartedly with others, encouraging their successes and not just my own accomplishment. Every interaction with every person became a fresh opportunity for partnership. Accomplishments became victories to celebrate – not for my own ego, but for my community, my friends, my colleagues, even people with whom my belief set might differ on significant issues.

Even failure could be embraced as a learning opportunity. The drive for perfection was replaced by seeking, finding, sharing, and caring. Your success became our success. Together we grew. People became partners, not projects or competitors.

That, in a nutshell is what keeps the passion alive in my life. It may seem a bit simple but simple is good. It has been said that these kinds of things are ‘deep enough for elephants to swim, yet shallow enough for children to play.” I invite you to join me in the sea of passionate partnerships. Some may swim. Some may playfully splash. But everyone is welcome to engage their passions as together we collaborate for the common good.

Dwayne Burks serves as executive director of the Gaston Faith Network. You may reach him by emailing collaboratingforthecommongood@gmail.com