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865 Second Avenue West
Owen Sound, Ontario

St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church: a church community of faithful disciples of Jesus Christ, worshiping in Owen Sound, Ontario.

Congregational Nurse/Good Grief Groups

Congregational Care Nurse


information nights

May.15/19          Meditative Gardening..Growing Stillness

June 19/19          How to Keep Your Happy Brain

Upcoming Topics and Date to be announced for the rest of 2019

roles of congregational nurse

“P”     Prayer for guidance in words and sentiments when at the side of your parishioner and family is such a large part of what I do and live. At present the tone of prayer is to find solutions and be still to hear the answers to our prayers for His wisdom.  It is His church and we are but his servants.

Much time and effort has gone into the support of those who have lost someone in death and the consequence of grief and bereavement.  It is an arduous journey which never really ends but does get liveable and assimilated.  You have to learn to be a new entity and that takes support to find yourself and be able to go forth. Prayer for one another in the groups has always felt like handing over our burdens to the real Healer and is always included in our groups. It is the message of  'you are never alone....He is with you.' plus you have a group of friends that really know how you feel and allow you to pour out your truth. They are companioning with you.


“A”  Advocacy is a large portion of what I do. It does help to know the “System” of delivery of health care to the community.  I have worked in all levels of it from front line nursing, to teaching at Georgian College to management....  When someone is either ignored or has no real answer or appointment for 6-8 months, I have had the privilege of getting it moved into the near future and getting the job done. I go with the client and speak the language.

This also pertains to finding solutions to emergency placements into retirement homes and nursing homes. Many times the family needs education into the requirements of their family member and then support and advocacy to make it happen.

Another aspect is advocating for pain control issues and involves phone calls to the Dr. and follow up on the efficacy of the medication and monitoring if it really is working. Often the pain crisis will be on the weekend so we will engage in prayer, imagery and anxiety control until we can find the solution.


“R”  Respect is such a large portion of what I do. Whatever the client wants, I respect their wishes and we get it done. When we also respect the Medical professionals, we get respected.  I go with intention and respect. It is returned.

Simple things such as teaching the patient or family member to go into the Dr.'s office with a list of clear, written questions which we have crafted to be precise and then to sit quietly to let the Dr. read it and you will get real answers. It sets the attitude of the appointment.

Another part of respect is the necessity of confidentiality. As nurses we are bound to this principle so that we must not divulge the nature of illness or treatment unless we have consent. In a small town it is a real dilemma and can bring about some misunderstandings when you have to reply that you do not know. Often the neighbour knows  'the rest of the story' already.


“I”  Individual care and consultation. Much of the work involves sitting with the client and listening until the real source of pain surfaces.  As we all know there is so often an emotional unease or “dis-ease” at the basis of many crises. The delivery can be at a private session at the church meeting room or often in a crisis, the phone rings and we start to find solutions no matter what the hour. Ultimately, I have often ended up in Emergency with the client to support and get a solution started.

In particular, when there is a problem with some one in the desert of dementia the call comes from the spouse as she/he tries to deal with violent or unreasonable behaviour. I have talked down many on the phone.

Other cases are for those who are going through a particularly rough time in grief and sometimes decisions must be made to seek more chemical solutions from a physician. Other cases have to do with conflict resolution in a family situation. Certainly when it is outside the realm of my scope of practice, I refer.


“S” Sacred is the word that I feel.  I consider the role as a sacred calling. Every day it feels that there is a nudge to do a job for Him. I feel like such a fortunate conduit of God's grace and healing and feel so blessed to be able to use all the experience and joy that I am in the role. In fact, that is how the original Grief and Bereavement Support Groups started in October 2014. It has been a referral outreach from other funeral homes in the area as well.

I have always considered nursing and medicine to be a calling and when I am now able to add in the “Spiritual “aspect, it is complete.  How wonderful to be there to give reassurance that you know of so many stories of those final hours where someone saw the face of God or angels or an amazing heavenly throng singing to allow them to reach up and go in peace and joy. There is no fear when you know where you are going!!!!


“H” Hope is the wonderful opportunity that I have to give.  Through ongoing education in energy medicine, grief and bereavement facilitator training, naturopathic medicine and further training in Palliative and End of Life care just completed with University of Dayton, I feel equipped to offer hope and resources through the latest education and research. It is a responsibility of our oath as a nurse. It is generally so comforting to both client and family when the alternative solutions have been soundly researched and explored. They then can make informed and valid decisions which again adds to the feeling of having explored all possibilities.

To further add the ultimate answer to the fear of death in knowing that you will be received with Love into the waiting arms of Jesus....what a gift of Hope.  I speak of it easily.

“Health teaching” is another large part of what I have done over the years. Many call with questions as to what other solutions they might try.

Many have sought out info on sources and the legality of finding medicinal sources of marijuana or hemp oil for pain control.

Many need further health teaching on what has been prescribed or what to ask for and to hear of cases where it has worked. When the fear is dispelled efficacy increases dramatically.                                                               

Also being able to rationally walk families through the MAID (Medically Assistance In Dying) program was a gift entrusted to my navigation.

As a consequence, I have been invited to speak at a forum on the topic from the point of view of  a Parish Nurse. All research shows clearly that emotional peace at the end of life is such a gift to ease your exit. It clearly adds an option of hope and reassurance to remaining relatives for there being a choice in dying with dignity.... if you choose.

Bev Wilkins  R. N. , W.I.P. , N.D.(diploma) , CAPCE,  C.V.N.

March 2018

I will be in the Church office from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. every WEDNESDAY for anyone wanting to have a chat. It is always confidential.

Many of you have questions on issues of what to talk to your Dr.?, how do I advocate for a specialist ? how do I make arrangements for placement for a relative? just need a second opinion on something that is niggling at you ?  I am open to any and all questions. 

Good Grief Groups


Where do you look for comfort and consolation when death changes you from a wife to a widow? How do you deal with the tears, the overwhelming confusion, the loss and the loneliness? The world is unchanged but for the widow life is forever different.

The answer came for so many in St. Andrew's Church, and beyond, when the church's parish nurse, Bev Wilkins, bade farewell to her beloved "Jiminy Cricket." Bev scarcely allowed herself time to grieve the loss of her husband, Jim, before she reached out to others with a program she appropriately named "Good Grief." It is designed to show those wrapped in loss that there is life after death and to guide them along a path of GOOD GRIEF.

Initially meetings were held at Bev's rural home and those attending were invited to talk of their loss, or pass.  Death isn't the end. Neither is the grieving period identical for any two people.

We now have several GOOD GRIEF GROUPS.


For those who have been through a grief group, we invite you to come and share your progress in your journey and a night of socializing. We invite you to bring a friend anytime and share this occasion if they are alone. Eating together is such a primal social need and food loves to digest with smiles!! It is a fact. Come along and heal one another with laughter!!

New location - Peninsula Grill (across from the Legion) at 5:30 p.m. on Thursdays (April 18th, May 16th & June 20th)

**Please RSVP so that we can let the grill know.


GOOD GRIEF GROUP # 6  Every Friday @ 5:00 p.m. 


GOOD GRIEF GROUP #7   We will start the next group on Wednesday October 10th, 2018 @ 2:00 p.m.

It will be 10 weekly sessions until Dec. 12. Please call Bev (376-5355) or leave a message at the church (376-7886) for any one who you feel could use the “ Companioning effect.” It works so well.

GOOD GRIEF GROUP #8 - starting May 23rd at 3:00-5:00 p.m. We will start weekly every Thursday afternoon. Please pass along the word to those who could benefit from companioning. Contact Bev @ or call 519-372-8657.

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