Parish Health’s Mission:

 Opening doors to Christ by promoting the Spiritual, Physical and Mental Health of all members of First Lutheran Church and our Community.  

 Tai Ji Quan:  Moving for Better Balance

Starting January 8th! This class is an adapted Tai Ji Quan exercise program to help improve balance, mobility, walking and physical and mental wellbeing.  We will teach a variety of movements from the traditional Tai Ji Quan which have been specifically tailored to train balance, self-awareness, and controlling of body movements in performing various activities of daily life.  The class is led by Diane McCormack and Denise Gaard.  For further information contact Denise at 218-847-5656.


Winter fitness: Safety tips for exercising outdoors 

Dressing in layers, protecting your hands and feet, and paying attention to the forecast can help you stay safe and warm while exercising outdoors in cold weather.

Check weather conditions and wind chill before heading outside.

Wind and cold together make up the wind chill. The wind can penetrate your clothes and remove the insulating layer of warm air that surrounds your body. Any exposed skin is vulnerable to frostbite.  At wind chill levels below minus 18 F frostbite can occur on exposed skin in 30 minutes or less.

Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia.

Early warning signs include numbness, loss of feeling or a stinging sensation.  Immediately get out of the cold if you suspect frostbite. Slowly warm the affected area — but don’t rub it since that can damage your skin. Seek emergency care if numbness doesn’t go away.  Hypothermia is abnormally low body temperature. When exposed to cold temperatures, your body begins to lose heat faster than it can be produced. Older adults and young children are also at greater risk.  Hypothermia signs and symptoms include intense shivering, slurred speech, loss of coordination and fatigue. Seek emergency help right away for possible hypothermia.

Dress in layers.

Dress in layers that you can remove as soon as you start to sweat and then put back on as needed. First, put on a thin layer of synthetic material, such as polypropylene, which draws sweat away from your body. Avoid cotton, which stays wet next to your skin.  Next, add a layer of fleece or wool for insulation. Top this with a waterproof, breathable outer layer.

Protect your head, hands, feet and ears.

Wear a thin pair of glove liners made of a wicking material (such as polypropylene) under a pair of heavier gloves or mittens lined with wool or fleece. Put on the mittens or gloves before your hands become cold and then remove the outer pair when your hands get sweaty.  Consider buying exercise shoes a half size or one size larger than usual to allow for thick thermal socks or an extra pair of regular socks. And don’t forget a hat to protect your head or headband to protect your ears. If it’s very cold, consider wearing a scarf or ski mask to cover your face.

Drink plenty of fluids

Don’t forget about hydration, as it’s just as important during cold weather as it is in the heat. Drink water or sports drinks before, during and after your workout, even if you’re not really thirsty.  You can become dehydrated in the cold from sweating, breathing, the drying power of the winter wind, and increased urine production, but it may be harder to notice during cold weather.

These tips can help you safely — and enjoyably — exercise when temperatures drop. Closely monitor how your body feels during cold-weather exercise to help prevent injuries such as frostbite.  Consider shortening your outdoor workout or skipping it altogether during weather extremes, and know when to head home and warm up. Also, be sure to let someone know your exercise route and your expected return time, in case something does go wrong.





Some people call them immunizations. Others call them vaccinations or shots. Whatever you call them, immunizations are one of the best weapons we have against many serious diseases such as measles, pneumonia, and the flu, to name just a few. It’s important to know which shots you need and when to get them.

Everyone age 6 months and older needs to get a flu vaccine every year. Many other shots work best when they are given at certain ages.

For More Information go to:   or



Keep an eye on the “What’s Happening” link for upcoming events related to congregational health. The following is more information on some of our health ministries:

Blood Pressure Checks are done one Sunday every month in the church office by Denise, Parish Nurse.  See the “What’s Happening” link for dates.  

  • About 85 million Americans — one out of every three adults over age 20 — have high blood pressure. (Nearly one of out six don’t even know they have it.)
  • The best way to know if you have high blood pressure it is to have your blood pressure checked.
  • Your blood pressure numbers and what they mean
    117 over 76 millimeters of mercuryYour blood pressure is recorded as two numbers:

    • Systolic blood pressure (the upper number) — indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats.
    • Diastolic blood pressure (the lower number) — indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.

    Which number is more important?
    Typically, more attention is given to systolic blood pressure (the top number) as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease for people over 50. In most people, systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term build-up of plaque and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease.

    However, elevated systolic or diastolic blood pressure alone may be used to make a diagnosis of high blood pressure. And, according to recent studies, the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles with every 20 mm Hg systolic or 10 mm Hg diastolic increase among people from age 40 to 89.

  • For more information on Blood Pressure and Heart Health visit the American Heart Association at:


Prayer Shawl Ministry

Prayer Shawls are made by members of First Lutheran Church as a gift of love to the recipient.  The shawl is meant to symbolize the love and embrace of God. Each shawl has been lovingly made and prayed over for someone going through a difficult time.  It is hoped that the use of the prayer shawl will bring comfort and blessing.

For more information on this ministry or if you are interested in making a prayer shawl please contact Denise at 847-5656 or email

Grief Support

The following two local agencies offer excellent grief support:

1. Hospice of the Red River Valley (HRRV). For more information and program schedules at HRRV call 800-237-4629.

2. David Donehower Funeral Home.  The Caring Cup support group at David Donehower meets every 2nd and last Wednesday of the each month.  For more information on The Caring Cup call 218-847-4147.

You can also contact Denise, Parish Nurse for any needs or more information regarding grief and loss at the church office.

Visitation Ministry

Are you interested in spending a little time each month easing someone’s loneliness, reading scripture with someone or just providing a listening ear?

For more information on this ministry please contact Denise at 847-5656 or email

Morning Out Program

Every Monday First Lutheran Church Library

   For People with Alzheimer’s or a Dementia related Disease

   For more information, call Lutheran Social Services @ 218-847-0629 or the church office @ 218-847-5656


PH-logo-1A licensed Registered Nurse who: Integrates faith and health practices by communicating and collaborating with other ministries in the church to meet the faith and health needs of the congregation.

Provides Health Education…

By supplying health information through a variety of resources

Becomes a personal health counselor…

When discussing health concerns with parishioners where they are living, recovering or in other settings

Is a referral agent…

Networking within the church and community to assist parishioners to gain access to appropriate resources and services

The Parish Health Ministry and Parish Nurse do not replace medical care, pastoral care, home health or community health nursing.  Direct care is not provided.  All concerns and information shared by members are held in confidence.

Personal Visits

  • Home
  • Phone
  • Hospital
  • Nursing Home

Blood Pressure Screening

Once each month(Check Newsletter for date)

Other times by parishioner request

Health Advocate

Assist with referrals

Provide spiritual support

Health Education

Instrumental in providing information on health topics. Forums on other topics of spiritual, emotional, and physical health offered on an occasional basis.

Visitation Ministry

Meeting spiritual needs of home bound members by being a listening presence with a heart of compassion.