News and Information

CaroMont Integrating Faith and Health in the Community


CaroMont Health is taking health and wellness into the community through its Faith Community (Parish ) Nurse Program. This program supports the organization’s overall wellness initiative to provide the community greater access to health information and services and improved quality of life.

The Faith and Health Ministry is a CaroMont Health System-supported, church-based health initiative adapted from the Abundant Living model established by Palmetto Health Baptist, Easley, SC. This model is similar to the Faith Community Nurse Program (formerly Parish Nurse) developed by Granger Westberg in the 1980’s. It is a hospital-supported volunteer model. The ministry is part of CaroMont Health’s Wellness Division and reports directly to the Director of Spiritual Care.

“What sets us apart is that all our volunteers in the program serve because they feel it is a calling,” said Mike Johnston, Director of Spiritual Care.

Last year, Charlotte Craig joined the team as the Coordinator of Faith and Health Ministry bringing with her 12 years of experience in Parish Nursing. Craig began as a Volunteer Faith Community (Parish) Nurse in her home congregation, Providence Baptist, Gastonia in 1997 and later developed a volunteer Parish Nurse Program at Kings Mountain Hospital with a Duke Endowment grant. She has served in three United Methodist churches in the Gastonia area as a Parish Nurse in a paid model.

“My Passion is to assist nurses and lay-persons with fulfilling their call to health ministry,” said Craig. “It is rewarding to see a nurse or lay-person seek out ways to use their gifts and profession to develop a health ministry that impacts the spiritual and physical health of their congregation and community.”

The first class was held last year, Integrating Faith and Health: A Ministry for Congregations consisting of seven nurses and two lay Congregational Health Promoters (CHP) representing four congregations: Agape Lutheran, Bethlehem Church, Ebenezer United Methodist Church, and Mt. Calvary Baptist, Shelby. The second session of orientation was held on January 14, 2012 in the Pine Room at CaroMont Health. Once nurses and lay CHPs complete orientation, they will begin their ministries by interpreting the relationship between faith and health for their respective congregations. After surveying their congregations, the CHPs will meet the needs identified by providing health assessments, health counseling, health education, referral and advocacy.

As the program evolves, more CaroMont employees step up to volunteer their time and skill. Crystal Remilus, RN, has been at CaroMont for 13 years, seven of those in the Birthplace. Remilus represents Bethlem Church in Gastonia where she first learned about Parish Nursing. As a new church member, Remilus feels led to use her nursing background as her ministry.

“In a sense it became a way for me to get involved in the church and fellowship with Christians who I had something, besides serving God, in common with,” said Remilus.

For further information on how you and your congregation can partner in this ministry, please call Charlotte Craig, RN, Coordinator of the Faith and Health Ministry of Gaston County at 704-834-3516 or Dr. Mike Johnston, Director of Spiritual Care at 704-834-2888.

About CaroMont Health
As your locally focused, nationally honored health partner, CaroMont Health is promoting a more vibrant community through individual health care. To do this, we’ve created a network of top resources across five counties, all centered on a state-of-the-art, 435-bed hospital that’s ranked among the best in the nation. It’s a spectrum of health services that’s just the right size to deliver high-quality, individualized care that has been recognized by the following experts:
• CareChex rating service: First in the nation in medical excellence for overall hospital care
• Region’s only Hospital to receive North Carolina’s Award for Performance Excellence (Baldrige)
• Joint Commission: Top Performer on Key Quality Measures for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia and surgical care.
So get to know CaroMont, and let’s begin a healthy relationship.