- The Washington Times - Friday, June 5, 2009

A spiritual journey

“It has been a journey with many twists and turns along the way, but Judaism is the language of my soul, and it’s what resonates with me,” says Alysa Stanton, who on June 6 is scheduled to be ordained as mainstream Judaism’s first black woman rabbi.

Miss Stanton, 45, converted from Christianity when she was in her 20s but says she didn’t always feel accepted by Jewish congregations or her friends.

“A lot of my African-American friends thought I’d sold out; the Jewish community wasn’t as accepting then; and some Christian friends thought I had grown horns,” she says. “I felt ostracized at times, but I had to learn who I was, what my values were and move forward.”

Miss Stanton will become the rabbi at Congregation Bayt Shalom in Greenville, N.C., on Aug. 1.

The Cleveland native says her mother instilled in her four children the importance of having God-based faith and a spiritual path.

Church no place for violence

Alveda King, pastoral associate of Priests for Life, said the killing this week of late-term abortionist Dr. George Tiller brings tremendous sorrow.

“Two years ago, I visited George Tiller’s clinic in hope of telling him that babies desire mercy,” she said. “I wanted to share with him the harm I experienced from abortion. My prayer was that one day he would join me in repentance. I am deeply sorry that his life was taken before that could happen.

“It’s especially horrifying that Dr. Tiller was shot in church,” the niece of Martin Luther King added. “My grandmother, Alberta King, was killed by a Christian-hating gunman as she played the organ during Sunday services. Just as the womb should be a safe haven, so should church.”

Nurses of faith

Faith-community nurses (FCNs) are playing an increasingly significant role in providing better access to basic health services for underserved populations.

A study by the University at Albany’s Center for Health Workforce Studies, “Findings From a Study of Parish Nurses/Faith Community Nurses in the United States,” suggests that FCNs provide members of their congregation with various forms of health consulting. FCNs work from a public health model, focusing on education and consultation to help community members prevent and manage chronic diseases, EmaxHealth.com reported this week.

Researchers surveyed more than 500 faith-community nurses nationwide and found that 99 percent arewomen, with a median age of 50; about 37 percent serve congregations in suburban areas; 23 percent serve congregations in rural areas; 17 percent serve congregations in small cities (population 25,000 to 50,000); and 23 percent serve congregations in large urban areas (more than 50,000 population).

Results also showed these nurses were likely to offer several services - including health counseling, blood-pressure clinics and crisis intervention - to their congregations. They also give referrals.

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