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Harris Methodist Hospitals and Faith Leaders Unite for Health and Safety

FORT WORTH, Texas – Equipping faith communities and their leaders to lead lasting change in their ministries and to deal with the health and safety issues of the 21st century will be the focus of the 2007 Faith Community Leadership Summit on Tuesday, Feb. 13. The summit, sponsored by the Harris Methodist Hospitals pastoral care department, will be held in the McDavid Studio at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is open to all faith leaders from area churches, synagogues and mosques.

This occasion will bring together a diverse and giving group from Tarrant and the surrounding counties to dialogue, network, share best practices, provide needed resources and prepare leadership for today's challenges. Emergency management, family violence prevention, safety, hand hygiene and faith community nursing are just a few of the topics slated to be addressed.

“The issues and challenges facing all faith communities are unparalleled,” said Ed George, senior chaplain for Harris Methodist Health System. “The purpose of the summit is to provide faith community leaders with the information, support and connections needed to engage those challenges today and tomorrow.”

Leading lasting change in the church will be the topic of the keynote address presented by Dr. Lovett H. Weems Jr., distinguished professor of church leadership and director of the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington D.C. Dr. Weems is the author of Take the Next Step: Leading Lasting Change in the Church; Leadership in the Wesleyan Spirit; Church Leadership: Vision, Team, Culture, and Integrity; and John Wesley's Message Today. He also is editor of the online newsletter, Leading Ideas, available for free at

All faith leaders are invited and welcome to attend the Faith Community Leadership Summit, which organizers said is the first of its kind in North Texas. The free event will include a continental breakfast and catered lunch. Seating is limited. To make a reservation, call 1-888-4-HARRIS, or send an e-mail to

Collaboration is Key to Community Health
The concept of the Faith Community Leadership Summit was influenced by post-9/11 and Hurricane Katrina discussions about the role of faith and ministry in emergency preparedness, response and recovery. In the event of a disaster, faith leaders are often called upon to provide recovery assistance to their congregations and the communities they serve. Organizers hope the summit will help area faith communities, both big and small, prepare for the unexpected and make connections they can tap into for information and resources in the midst of significant community health issues or crises.

“I think we are a leader, and that puts us in a position to lead this discussion and to share some of the best practices in wellness and emergency preparedness with leaders of our faith communities who people trust and often turn to for help,” said Barclay E. Berdan, president of Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital and executive vice president for Texas Health Resources (THR).

Collaborating with ministers to lead their congregations to better health and safety is one of the avenues Harris Methodist Hospitals is using to provide prevention and wellness programs that benefit the community and improve the health of North Texans, administrators said.

“For us at Texas Health Resources the mission is unique – to improve the health of the people in the communities we serve,” said Douglas D. Hawthorne, president and chief executive officer for THR, the parent company of Harris Methodist Hospitals. “It means not to just provide sick care to those who come to our door needing assistance, but it is also how, outside the walls of our hospitals, can we improve the health and wellbeing of the community?”

The health system first put the concept of faith community collaboration for better health into action with its faith community nursing/congregational health program where professional nurses provide health education and screenings for members of their respective churches, synagogues or mosques. Faith community nursing is a unique, specialized practice of professional nursing that focuses on the promotion of health within the context of the values, beliefs and practices of a faith community and its mission and ministry to its members and the community. “It is an extension of God's healing ministry,” Hawthorne said. “It is a calling and a mission that we have to be able to care for people who are in need, and I think our faith-based history, heritage and belief system have allowed us to truly indicate to the community that we are here for them and all comers are welcome.”

Click the link for more information about the Faith Community Leadership Summit or to watch a video about the congregational health program.

About Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital
Opened in 1930, Harris Methodist Fort Worth Hospital is a Magnet-designated hospital, and Tarrant County's largest and busiest hospital and regional referral center. A member of Texas Health Resources, HMFW is licensed for 710 beds and provides the following services: cardiovascular; high risk and routine obstetrics and gynecology; neurosciences; orthopedics and sports medicine; rehabilitation; adult critical care and neonatal intensive care; trauma and emergency medicine; cancer care; medical/surgical; kidney transplants; occupational health; and more. The campus is home to almost 1,000 members of the medical staff, more than 4,000 employees, 200 volunteers and the new state-of-the-art 100-bed Harris Methodist Heart Center. For more information, please call
1-888-4-HARRIS, or visit

About Texas Health Resources
Texas Health Resources is one of the largest faith-based, nonprofit health care delivery systems in the United States and the largest in North Texas in terms of patients served. THR controls 13 affiliated hospitals and a medical research organization, and is a corporate member or partner in seven additional hospitals and surgery centers. THR's family of hospitals includes Harris Methodist Hospitals, Arlington Memorial Hospital and Presbyterian Healthcare System. For more information about Texas Health Resources, visit

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