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Welcome to Region 8!

Region 8 Includes: 

Northwestern Pennsylvania Synod, Southwestern Pennsylvania Synod, Allegheny Synod, Lower Susquehanna Synod, Upper Susquehanna Synod, Delaware-Maryland Synod, Metropolitan Washington D.C. Synod, and West Virginia-Western Maryland Synod

Region 8 Calendar


Ruth G. Manchester
Silver Spring, MD

Marilee Tollefson
Silver Spring, MD

Welcome to ELPNA-the Evangelical Lutheran
Parish Nurse Region 8 web page.
Allow us to introduce ourselves.

If you have news to share from your Synod or Network, let us know so we can post.

Ruth Manchester originally hails from Minnesota, and after taking her nurses training at Methodist-Kahler School of Nursing in Rochester, MN and obtaining a BSN at the University of Minnesota, she then moved to the Washington, DC area. She has been a paid parish nurse at Saint Luke Lutheran Church in Silver Spring, MD for the past 21 years. In this capacity, she is in charge of Caring Ministries, Social Ministry, and the one-to-one caring that a parish nurse does. She has an MA in art history from the University of Maryland, so combines her love of art with Parish Nursing. She is wife to Paul, mom to Sarah and Dan and “Grandma” to Raina, Alden, Evan, and Aaron.

Marilee Tollefson is from South Dakota, has a BSN from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, during which time she joined the Army Student Nurse Program, and was on active duty for 23 years. During that time she earned her MSN from the University of Colorado, and upon retirement from the Army Nurse Corps, worked at Children’s Hospital National Medical Center in Washington, DC. She is currently paid staff faith community nurse at Lutheran Church of St. Andrew in Silver Spring, MD for the past 22 years, coordinating care teams, serving as staff liaison to Social Ministry, and supporting many volunteers on the Health and Wellness Teams.  Marilee is married to Luther, has two daughters, Sara and Mari Liv and is “Mimi” to Lauren, Eric, and Emery.

We are members of the Holy Cross Hospital network of faith community nurses.

Bereavement Support

For those who are grieving the death of a loved one, the Holy Cross Bereavement Program offers a nine-week grief support program  and  drop-in grief group  are available through Holy Cross Health in Silver Spring, MD.  Spanish language groups are also offered.  For more information, contact the Bereavement Center at 301-754-7742 or

Hope Connections for Cancer
You're not alone.
At Hope Connections for Cancer Support, you will find a community of support for all people affected by cancer.

Maryland NursesDear Licensee/Certificate Holder. During the 2021 legislative session, the Maryland General Assembly passed a new law that goes into effect on April 1, 2022, requiring all renewing licensees and certificate holders to complete an implicit bias training program approved by the Cultural and Linguistic Health Care Professional Competency Program. All licensees and certificate holders scheduled to renew their license or certification in 2022 must complete one course of the program before applying for renewal. This is a one-time requirement. The law may be accessed here

Click here for the list of approved program courses

Best Regards,

Karen Evans, MSN RN-BC, SD-CLTC

Executive Director

Maryland Board of Nursing

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This service is provided to you at no charge by Maryland Board of Nursing. Maryland Board of Nursing

NAMI Montgomery County, Maryland

National Alliance on Mental Illness of Montgomery County, Maryland, (NAMI MC) Annual Heroes Celebration honoring Congressman Jamie Raskin

Friday, October 7, 2022 | 7:30 - 9:00 AM7:30 AM | Registration & Networking8:00 AM | Program & Breakfast

Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center5701 Marinelli Road, Rockville, MD 20852

Registration Link below

Workshops and Educational Programs

FCN Monthly Circle

The FCN Monthly Circle sponsored by the Holy Cross Faith Community Nurse Network is open to all those in Health Ministry to connect and to share some resources and fellowship.  The Circle is held the fourth Wednesday of every month from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM Eastern Time. there may be a program and the remaining time will be sharing other resources and reflection.  The link to join the webex is below. Feel free to contact us with any questions.


Ministry spotlight:


 The Conversation Project

Now is the time.

The COVID-19 pandemic has clearly demonstrated how quickly one’s health can unexpectantly become a crisis. While unexpected circumstances are not always avoidable, addressing critical healthcare planning and decision-making in the middle of a health crisis is avoidable. This is so important that every April 16 is the designated Annual National Healthcare Decisions Day(NHDD). It is devoted to the importance of planning and telling loved ones and healthcare providers your wishes regarding healthcare decisions.

To help you and others consider options and begin conversations, visit the The Conversation Project. Here you will find the latest faith resources from The Conversation Project

 including the Community Call featuring Dr. Anthony Back, Co-founder, VitalTalk and Co-director, University of Washington Center for Excellence in Palliative Care. Dr. Back shared key takeaways on messaging research pertinent for NHDD and community groups shared what they are planning. Access the recording and slides 

from this recent Conversation Project community call.

Getting Started Guide for Faith Communities has recently been updated! This guide is filled with examples of how various faith communities are encouraging their faith members to have conversations about care wishes and what matters most.

The Faith resource page has additional updated materials including how to host a “Conversation Sabbath” for NHDD and organizing faith-based events.

Also, for pertinent cultural and religious traditions refer to this list of 14 Faith-Based Books on Living and Dying Well.

Additional Resources

End of Life Care on the Archdiocese of Washington (ADW) website Additional information also is available through Aging with Dignity, and Voice Your Choice, which is supported by Nexus Montgomery Regional Partnership for decision-making and has many tools and resources for individuals and families.

Community Resources:

Holy Cross Community Health


Health and Wellness Classes and Support Groups


COVID 19 Vaccination Booster offered by Holy Cross Health.

For more information and to register:


Caregiver Support:

Caregiver Resource Center (


Medical Adult Day Center:

Medical Adult Day Center Silver Spring, Maryland (MD), Holy Cross Hospital (

UPCOMING EVENTS: Educational Opportunities for Faith Community Health Ministry

To register: Wesley Seminary Online Health Minister Certificate Fall 2022

Health Minister Certificate FAQ webpage

Highlighting Community Partners

Prevention Services of the Northwestern Community Services Board

Last week I met with two prevention specialists and learned of the multitude of FREE resources available through this community partner.  Their mission is to prevent substance misuse and suicide and to promote mental wellness in the Lord Fairfax Planning District. This link gives more information on services and the work they are doing:  Representatives are scheduled to present to our network in September, and will provide more details on services, including those listed below.

Lock and TALK Virginia provides services and materials designed to promote safe and responsible care of guns, medication, and other lethal means.

Mental Health First Aid USA is a skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues.


Policies for Mental Health Services for the Uninsured: Click here for document
This is written in English and Spanish.  It has a 2010 date but is still current.

Cornerstone Montgomery ACT and Crisis Houses:
Cornerstone Montgomery is an independent, nonsectarian, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization with the capacity to serve more than 2,500 adults and transition aged youth.  We specialize in the provision of comprehensive, community- and evidence-based mental health and co-occurring mental health and substance use disorder treatments and interventions.

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CaringMatters (founded as Hospice Caring in 1989) serves children, adults and families facing serious illness and grieving the death of a loved one. CaringMatters also increases community awareness and advocacy about end-of-life concerns, advance care planning and grief. CaringMatters serves the culturally and economically diverse residents of Montgomery County, Maryland.

All services are delivered free-of-charge; none are covered by Medicare or other public or private insurances. A mix of individual and business donors, foundations and government supports CaringMatters.

Services include Hospice support, grief support groups, community education and more.  Click here for more information.   

Last updated: 04/15/2023

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