JoAnn Gundersen & Sandy Edwards

Bethel Lutheran in Fergus Falls

They share a paid staff position Mon. through Thur. Sandy works two days and JoAnn works the other two days, paid hourly with mileage reimbursement. Their supervisor is the Pastor. JoAnn & Sandy worked together at Lake Region Hospital for 20 years so knew each other a long time there and at church. Bethel has had the parish nurse position for 20 years and so they knew the parish nurses over the years as members. JoAnn says they meet every two months with five other FCN's from Grace Methodist and Trinity Lutheran to share and collaborate and have support for the ministry. They visit all the nursing homes each month and see 35 people on these regular visits. One of them goes to the hospital each day to see parishioners there. In home visits they make, they assess needs, connect with family of those visited and see them after a hospitalization if needed as well as new moms as needed. Their church has a food ministry that is a real blessing. Two groups of food ministers make sure there is always food to bring to homes, using frozen meals they purchase, and gift cards for Subway, pizza, etc. The parish nurses can always bring a meal for people they visit.

The church also has a very active Stephen Ministry which they work with. The Pastor is the coordinator of it. I found it very interesting that Stephen Ministry is a very active ministry in the whole community with collaboration across churches. Bethel recently commissioned three new Stephen Ministers and a total of 15 from city churches were commissioned.

Visit the Bethel Ministries web site and choose "Care". Note that they have a link to an article for people on "What is Parish Nursing".

Most Important Part of Our Parish Nurse Ministry

JoAnn asked me to share this, "The people we visit say the biggest blessing we bring to them is reading scripture and praying with them."

JoAnn and Sandy have a long list of scripture and prayers for whatever needs present themselves.

Here is how the website at Bethel Lutheran Church's Page on Parish Nursing looks:


Discouraged? Lonely? Grieving? Feeling hopeless? Need help? Bethel 's caring ministries exist to come alongside those going through emotional, spiritual and physical challenges. Stephen Ministries. Parish Nurses. GriefShare.

Parish Nurse Ministry

The Parish Nurses share in the ministry of caring for the congregation in the following areas:

  • Home visitation and assessments to seniors, shut-ins, and others, referring them to community resources as needed.
  • Active listening, prayer and encouragement from God's Word for women struggling with various life issues.
  • Hospital visitation and follow-up after discharge.
  • Health education and health updates.
  • Stephen Ministry involvement and support.
  • Assistance at monthly communion and Bethel Fellowship services on the Broen Home Campus.
  • Administer the meals in cooperation with Bethel's Food Ministry to the congregation

Contact Us: JoAnn Gundersen and Sandy Edwards can be reached at 218-736-5654, ext. 15 or

A nurse is available in the Parish Nurse office on Tuesdays, 10:30 a.m. to noon for blood pressure checks, consulting on lifestyle housing (independent or assisted living or nursing home), listening or talking with you about your concerns, prayer, checking out resource books.