After hearing about the 2009 ELCA video contest, Linnea Jackson knew her congregation had to enter.

Prince of Peace Lutheran Church had “something special to share,” she says.

Linnea is one of two parish nurses at the ELCA congregation in La Crescent, Minn. The congregation featured its parish nurse program in the video contest, winning a $5,000 ministry grant as the first-place winner in the congregational category.

Winning has meant garnering thousands of views of the video on the Internet — and promoting its parish nurse program.

“It was fun to have an outlet to share this special ministry,” Linnea said. “It would be such a great thing if every church had a parish nurse program.”

The video illustrated the ELCA tagline, “God’s work. Our hands.”

Linnea and Bev Nelson, the ELCA congregation’s second parish nurse, were shown in a variety of their duties, from taking a member’s blood pressure to leading a fitness program and visiting a new mother and her infant.

“People may be surprised to learn about the wide range of things we do,” Linnea said. “We seek to provide ministry to all ages, from newborn babies to those who are at their deathbed.”

Linnea and Bev’s ministry includes mentoring high school girls, referring members to medical professionals, leading wellness programs, visiting the sick and accompanying seniors to doctor appointments.

“It’s never ending,” Linnea said. “There is always something to do.”

Others who collaborated on the video project included Mike Woods, pastor of Prince of Peace, who wrote subtitles, congregation members Adam Beardmore, videographer, and Denine Rood, musician.

“Our video has been a great tool to show off the parish nursing program,” Adam says.

“During one of our best weeks, we might have 1,000 people in and out of the doors of our church. But our video, within just a couple of weeks, had 7,000 views on the Internet. It was rewarding to see that our Lutheran church in La Crescent, Minn., could do something that could be seen around the world.”

While the leadership and members of Prince of Peace Lutheran have not yet decided on how to use the prize, they have determined they would like the grant to help the community for years to come.

“We are not rushing into a decision,” Adam said. “We are still basking in the glow of winning.”

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