Interview with Katia Reinert

Featured Article, March 2024

Ms. Katia, It’s my honor to have you share your views with the AAFCN community. On this 10th yr. anniversary, I am excited to hear about the origin, rich history, and progress of the Adventist Association of Faith Community Nursing. “AAFCN” organization.

RS: Question #1: What was the origin of the AAFCN organization? Date?

KR: The preliminary work for the development of The Adventist Association of Faith Community Nursing (AAFCN) begun in 2011, and it became an official organization in 2013.

RS: Question #2: Who were the founding members? Names? Where did they garner their inspiration to start such a ministry?

KR: The founding members were Dr. Katia Reinert, Christine Vandenburg, Candace Huber, and Dr. Lilly Tryon. These individuals served as FCN coordinators for different Adventist health systems in the US and saw the need to create an association that would meet the needs and support SDA FCNs. Dr. Reinert ended her role as FCN coordinator for the Adventist Healthcare when she got called to be the NAD HM Director in December of 2010 and envisioned FCN becoming a division wide ministry. The NAD Ministry Vice-President, Debra Brill, supported the idea. In 2011, Christine (Chris) Vandenberg was selected by Dr. Reinert and Debra Brill as the FCN representative in the NAD HM Committee. At the time, Chris was the FCN coordinator for Kettering Health Network. Dr. Reinert asked Chris to draft a constitution and possible bylaws for an Adventist Association to present a proposal to the NAD HM Committee. In December of 2011, the NAD HM committee approved the proposal to form an Adventist association for FCNs. As the organization was being conceptualized, Katia, Chris, Candy, Lilly, and later Joyce Christman, worked on editing and revising the first Adventist FCN manual that had been used to train FCNs at Adventist Health. In 2012, while the organization continued to be conceptualized and the manual being revised, these leaders held the first FCN training at the NAD Health Summit in Orlando, in January of 2012. Throughout 2012, others were invited to become part of this effort, including Betsy Johnson, Teresa Nelson, and Maxine Blome. This group continued to conceptualize the focus of this association. Debra Brill and Katia Reinert facilitated the process for the approval of the constitutions and bylaws for the AAFCN formation in collaboration with the NAD legal council (OGC). The NAD administrative committee approved the formation of the organization under NAD HM in late 2012 pending legal approval. By June 2013, the legal issues pending with OGC were resolved and the AAFCN was officially established and started welcoming members. The FCN working group team before the official board was formed and the organization started to accept general members these were:

Katia Reinert, Executive President

Chris Vandenburg, President

Candace Huber, President-elect

Teresa Nelson, Secretary

Lilly Tryon, Membership Coordinator

Betsy Johnson, FCN Representative

Maxine Blome, Historian

This committee worked together to develop resource ideas and provide FCN training at the NAD Health Summit held in New York in January 2013. Once the legal team at NAD officially approved the pending issues related to the organization in June of 2013, AAFCN had its first official board:

Katia Reinert, Executive Director

Candy Huber, President

Teresa Nelson, President-elect

Christ Vandenburg, Secretary and Newsletter Coordinator

Lilly Tryon, Membership Coordinator

Betsy Johnson, FCN representative,

Maxine Blome, Historian.

RS: Question #3: What was the mission/vision for AAFCN?

KR: The primary goal of the association was to offer support for the Ministry of Faith Community nurses in the NAD territory through resource development and training. This was the working vision since 2011, when the founders started conceptualizing the organization. In the Fall of 2013, these goals were first published in the first issue of the AAFCN newsletter, called AAFCN News:

1. To encourage the spiritual and professional growth and development of its members by:

• Promoting understanding of Faith Community Nursing as a specialty practice for Seventh-day Adventist Registered Nurses and congregations in North America.

• Fostering cooperation between the pastor, local leadership, and Faith Community Nurses to develop health as a ministry at the local congregational level.

• Assisting each congregation to become a center of healing and wholeness in the community.

• Encouraging each member to experience the abundant life promised in John 10:10 for spiritual, physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

2. To follow Christ’s healing ministry to make man whole, furthering the spiritual, physical, and emotional health objectives of the Seventh-day Adventist Health Ministries Department.

RS: Question #4: How did the organization progress through the years?

KR: The organization grew steadily, welcoming new members and reaching over 50 members in a couple of years. From 2013 to 2015 the following resources and materials were produced:

-the Adventist FCN manual was revised and printed

-a DVD was produced featuring stories of FCNs working in different Adventist churches across the country, with pastors sharing their view of the importance of each FCN in the ministry of the church

-a pastors guide/booklet was produced, aiming at inspiring pastors to partner with FCNs and support the FCN role as partners in ministry

-FCN foundations courses were held annually with dozens of graduates

-an AAFCN Facebook page was started

-an AAFCN pin and logo were created

-an AAFCN Newsletter was created, called AAFCN News

-Articles were published in the Ministry magazine for pastors to read

-AAFCN membership meetings were held, and CE activities offered

Question #5: What was your role, and what comes to mind when you think about the AAFCN organization, and how far has it come these 10 years?

KR: As mentioned above, my passion for Faith Community Nursing started when I served as FCN Coordinator and Educator for Adventist Healthcare in Maryland. In that role, I provided training and support for FCNs. I was inspired by my other colleague coordinators who like me, were passionate to see FCNs in every Adventist church. So, when I became NAD HM director in December of 2010, it was a top priority for me to see it become part of the Health Ministries of the SDA Church. I was pleased to have FCN fellow coordinators and friends who were equally committed to seeing Faith Community Nursing grow in our church. I was blessed to facilitate the formation of the organization and work with a dedicated group of volunteers who dedicated much time and effort in the conceptualization of the AAFCN organization. Today, I feel very grateful to God as I see how He has conducted this organization throughout the last 10 years. I have no doubt He will continue to lead this organization as it grows and expands its vision and focus, supporting nurses set apart to minister to the whole person needs of people in Adventist churches and the surrounding communities.

RS: Question #6: Can you tell us some of the challenges you faced in promoting the organization and encouraging others to buy in?

KR: The first challenge we had was to have full buy-in from our legal counsel to gain approval. They were concerned with the potential liabilities that could result. It took over a year to work through the constitution and changes to the bylaw language, in order to have all legal questions answered and receive full clearance from the church’s legal counsel. Once that happened in 2013, we could start recruiting members. Thankfully, we had full support from the NAD VP for HM at the time, Debra Brill, who embraced the idea from the start. She strongly advocated for the organization and facilitated the buy-in from the officers and legal team. Another challenge was getting the word out to the pastors. Thankfully again, the NAD ministerial director understood the importance of the FCN role (he attended a church with several FCNs). He supported us in doing workshops at ministerial meetings and participated in disseminating the pastor’s guide booklet and the videos promoting FCNs. Once pastors and nurses became familiar with the concept, they were open and interested.

RS: Question #7: Have you seen the benefits or impact that AAFCNs have made within our churches and communities?

KR: Churches that have FCNs have a vibrant ministry that meets the needs of families and individuals. The church ministry flourishes as members feel the leaders of the church care for them. FCNs lead many ministries that meet the whole-person care of families and individuals. These individuals grow in their spiritual walk (discipleship journey) and become more engaged in their church. Additionally, they find in FCNs the support they need for dealing with grief, trauma, or chronic stressors, such as caring for someone ill or dealing with a terminal illness in a way that enhances well-being.

RS: Question#8: On this 10yr anniversary what are your prayers for the organization?

KR: I pray this organization will continue to seek God’s guidance as it grows and expands. I pray it will inspire thousands of nurses to become FCNs, being equipped to minister to the spiritual needs and whole person needs of their clients. May they model their ministry after Jesus’ healing ministry- ministering to broken and hurting and leading them to Jesus as the true source of health, healing, and wholeness.

By Rosalyn Saunders, AAFCN

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