Welcome to the United Church of Sun City 

January Article

Happy New Year! How often do we say that without thinking about what we are wishing for! It becomes part of a habit of greetings at this time of the year. But what would really make this a Happy New Year? For me, a year of growing in my relationship with God, and improving relationships I have with others as well as forming new relationships is a big part of it. Also, I always hope for a physically healthy New Year – but I know that means working on healthy habits like eating better, exercising regularly and stressing less. I’m preaching to the choir, aren’t I? You have heard me talk about these same things month after month, year after year.

Just because these principles are repeated doesn’t mean they are not important. In fact, I focus on them because they are important! Focusing on healthy habits helps to balance our lives as they change and challenge us. In fact, the one thing we can ALL count on this year is change!

That being said, I am going to offer you several opportunities to improve your chances of a Happy New Year!

First, an opportunity to develop healthy physical habits. We are expanding our SilverSneakers Class and will be having an orientation for new members on Thursday, January 5 at 2:30 pm in the Beehive. Talk with those who have taken part and invite others to join you in this information session.

Then on Tuesday, January 10, we will begin our next session of exercise! At 1:00 will be the SilverSneakers Classic – for those who want a bit of a challenge. This class will focus on progressing from where it left off this past fall and will focus on more intense exercises to improve our strength, balance and endurance. Don’t be intimidated, our instructor Ginger always progresses us slowly and steadily.

At 2:30, we will begin a new group of SilverSneakers which will focus on strengthening and balance. This group will start with low level stretches and exercise and advance as our class in the fall did. So join us! Start the New Year with focusing on your physical health.

We will also continue our walking group on Monday and Wednesday from 1-2 p.m. This group allows you to monitor your blood pressure and pulse, and to walk at your own level in a controlled setting. It also provides an opportunity to talk and connect to others.

I will also be starting a Wednesday morning group on January 11 at 10:00 am. I am calling it “Healthy Living, Learning and Connecting”. We will be using a book called The Six Conversations. It focuses on learning about loving conversations. In this post-COVID period, I certainly can use a refresher course on connecting with other people. Many of us have been more isolated and depending on technology rather than connecting with people around us. Come join in the fun of sharing together as we learn and practice loving communication.

Our Speaker Series in January will feature Darren Holmes, a local lawyer who focuses on common sense approaches to trust planning. Join us for this very practical presentation on planning for the future on Tuesday, January 10, at 11 am in the Beehive. Most importantly, have a blessed New Year.

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.