Welcome to the United Church of Sun City 

December Article

First of all, I want to thank you all for participating in the Gratitude Tree! It was wonderful to see everyone practicing the art of gratefulness each time you came in the church building. I hope and pray you will continue to be grateful each day of this year.

Next, I want to wish you all a special Christmas Season! It always seems to arrive so quickly! I’m just adjusting to the fact that it’s not summer any longer! Have a blessed time this season, slow down a bit to think about the wonder of God coming to live with us in human form – our Emmanuel. It is really mind boggling! And be thankful!

Second, I want to give you a preview of opportunities coming in January. We will resume our SilverSneakers Exercise Program on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, but we will be adding a new option. At 1:00 pm, we will have a slightly advanced Classic Silver Sneakers program. This will begin to focus more on strengthening and endurance using small weights, balls and stretch bands. 

At 2:30 pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, we will be doing the exercise program we are participating in now, which focuses on strength and balance. I know from personal experience that this class has been very helpful in improving balance and in helping with simple activities like getting up and down from chairs. There will be an orientation class on Thursday, January 5, 2023 at 2:30 pm to introduce the SilverSneakers program and expectations. Please tell your neighbors and friends about the opportunity to participate in a low-level exercise program.

We will also be continuing the Walking Group on Monday and Wednesday afternoons at 1:00 pm in the Sanctuary. Come join in the fun!

Also, on Wednesday, January 4 at 10:00 am, we will begin a new small group discussion. We have called this a “Book Study” in the past, but it is not a book club or a discussion of the newest fad book. We use a book to begin the discussion, but the primary purpose of the group is to be able to share with each other where we are on this journey called Life.

In my role as Parish Nurse, I find it important to provide a place to talk about our thoughts, emotions and souls as well as our physical bodies. This group is intended to be a safe place to share some thoughts and ideas that impact our emotions and spirits while challenging our minds with new ideas. Please join us as we begin this new session in January.

Lisa Dunbar, Parish Nurse 

Wellness messages written and recorded by our Parish Nurse Lisa Dunbar, BSN, RN.
A new video will post each Tuesday at 5 pm Arizona time.

To view previous videos, click here.

Scroll down this page to view Lisa's monthly article.

Dispelling Some of the Information About the COVID-19 Vaccine

As a Parish Nurse, the pandemic of COVID-19 has certainly brought many challenges in focusing on the health of our congregation. Currently, the challenge is to help our congregation members to understand, to make an educated decision, and to receive the vaccination.

I have found that the first hurdle is in educating our congregation. I have been able to put short articles in the church newsletter, and to send an all-church email that gave information about the vaccine. It focused on dispelling some of the misinformation being disseminated on the web.

For instance:

Concerns have been expressed about the vaccine being developed so quickly. Is it safe?
Although we don’t have years of research, the companies developing the vaccines tested it on the usual number of people that they have tested before with any new drug or vaccine. The difference in the timing is because much of the governmental bureaucracy that slows down the process after the test is finished was mitigated. The testing itself was still completed in a manner similar to other vaccines. As with any new treatment, vaccine or drug, there are potential side effects, but for the vast majority of recipients, the benefit far outweighs the risk.

I have heard about people reacting to the vaccine and becoming very ill, or even dying. Is this true? 
As with anything that we put into our body, we run a risk of being allergic to a substance in the medication or vaccine. At times, this may be a severe reaction called anaphylactic shock. In this case, the allergy may cause the body to swell tissues especially of the neck and trachea that may result in shortness of breath, a racing heart, and at its worse, a cardiac arrest. This is the reason that any recipient of the vaccine is required to remain at the site for 30 minutes after the injection as this is the time period where an anaphylactic reaction would take place. Each site is equipped with medical personnel and supplies to deal with this type of allergic reaction.

This happens very, very rarely. The current numbers are 11 reactions like this in 1 million recipients. These reactions may also occur after an influenza vaccination injection at a slightly lower rate. Although very serious for the 11, the 999,989 other recipients had no serious problems. A recipient of the vaccine may commonly have minor symptoms – a sore arm, muscle or joint pain, a low grade fever – similar to symptoms following other vaccinations. These are from an inflammatory response our body produces after a foreign substance has been introduced and usually only lasts 24-48 hours.

I have heard this vaccine may change my DNA. Is that true?
There is nothing in the vaccine to change our DNA. This vaccine is a new technology. In the past, vaccinations have carried in them a weakened amount of virus, which immediately stimulated our bodies to make antibodies to fight off the infection, The new Covid 19 vaccine has no weakened virus in it. Instead, it carries a message to our RNA to watch for an identifying factor on the virus – in this case a “spike” on the virus body. When our body recognizes that factor, it then begins very rapidly producing antibodies to fight the virus.

So a recipient may in fact “have the virus” for a short time before the antibodies are produced. It fights the virus before serious symptoms develop so one does not become ill. But it does raise the question of whether someone who has been vaccinated may still “spread” the virus even though they may have no symptoms. Studies continue to focus on this question. This is why even after vaccination, we may be required to wear masks in public places where social distancing is not possible.

Are fetal cells used in the production of the vaccine?
Fetal cell lines from fetuses in the 1960s and 1970s continue to be used in much of the early testing of many of our vaccines and other drugs. These tissues are registered and reported as the testing takes place. But no recent fetal tissue has been used in developing the Moderna or Pfizer Vaccinations. Other vaccines, notably the one from Johnson and Johnson, do continue to use more recently harvested fetal tissue in their development. There may be other companies as well.

After educating our congregation, the next step has been to identify those who are most vulnerable and require help in registering for the vaccination.

I began to make phone calls on those over 75, and those with chronic illnesses. Many had family or friends who were working with them to register for an appointment and who were willing to transport them to the appointment.

However, some of our congregants did not have access to a computer or were not able to complete the process on their own. I was able to assist them over the phone, at times registering them as my “family members” (after all, we are a church family!). I also helped to arrange transportation for those needing assistance.

Finally, I have continued to follow up with those registering – reminding them to take their ID and insurance card, walking them through the process at the sites, and informing them of the possibility of minor discomfort after that could be treated with Tylenol. I also continue to remind everyone to continue their social distancing precautions, handwashing, and wearing a mask.

Some in our congregation have chosen to wait to receive the vaccine. Some because of concern of long-term effects of the vaccine, others wish to wait for the vaccines with only 1 injection. I continue to share information with them, and to support them as they continue to follow the social distancing precautions and choose to remain limited in their social activities.