The Faith Community Nurses International (FCNI) Board of Directors is composed of officers and board members. The Board meets monthly. Approved minutes are maintained on the Board Members Only portal with Committee Annual Reports also available on the Members Only portal.

FCNI Officers and Board of Directors

Mary Lynne Knighten


Mary Lynne Knighten, DNP, RN, NEA-BC

Dr. Mary Lynne Knighten is a nurse leader with over 37 years of experience in many areas of nursing, including being credentialed as a Faith Community Nurse, with a post-masters certificate in Faith Community Nursing from Azusa Pacific University.

She has been the Health Ministry Director at St. Dominic’s Catholic Church in Eagle Rock for 22 years and Adjunct Faculty at Azusa Pacific University. She has taught in the FCN Foundations course for various organizations since 2000, and is currently lead faculty for this course at Azusa Pacific University, in Azusa, CA. She is a regular guest speaker at California State University, Los Angeles on Health Ministry and Faith Community Nursing in the spirituality course for the last 19 years. Dr. Knighten is a member of FCNI, serves as President-Elect/Vice President, initiated the Practice Committee, actively participates on the Research Committee, and is passionate about translating research and evidence to practice.

Dr. Knighten is a published author, educator, speaker, and internationally recognized expert in leadership, palliative care, health policy, and patient-and family-centered care. She has authored the Evidence-Based Practice Position Statement for the Westberg Institute for Faith Community Nursing, and published articles regarding Evidence-Based Practice in the Role of the Faith Community Nurse.

Francesca C. Ezeokonkwo

Francesca C. Ezeokonkwo, PhD, RN

Francesca C. Ezeokonkwo is an assistant professor at James Madison University School of Nursing, Harrisonburg, Virginia. She earned an associate degree in Pre-pharmacy from Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois, before switching to a career in nursing. Subsequently, she received her B.S. in Nursing from the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, her M.S. in Nursing Education from Benedictine University, Lisle, Illinois, and her Ph.D. in Transcultural Nursing from Duquesne University Pittsburg, PA.

Her clinical experience focuses on health promotion in vulnerable populations, especially older adults. Her research focuses on loneliness and well-being in older adults and the intersection of spirituality and health. She is a dedicated educator and desires to instill her passion for learning in her students.

She is a member of Sisters for Christian Community (SFCC), Sigma Theta Tau, Gerontological Society of America (GSA), Transcultural Nursing Society, and Faith Community Nursing International (FCNI).

As a religious sister, educator, researcher, and lifelong learner, her ultimate goal is to help reduce illness burden and alleviate human suffering through education, research, and community outreach and engagement. She enjoys traveling, meeting new people, and learning about different cultures.



Directors/Chairs of Committees

Renee Kumpula

Director/Chair, Education Committee
Renee Kumpula, EdD, MA, RN, PHN

Dr. Renee Kumpula, EdD, MA, RN, PHN, is an Associate Professor and Graduate Research Faculty at the Minnesota State University, Mankato (MNSU) in undergraduate through doctoral programs. She served as former Director of Continuing Professional Development at the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, an ANCC provider and Jointly Accredited provider, the first research 1 public university in the nation to achieve this designation.  Her career experience includes acute care, public health nursing, community nursing, hospice nursing, faith community nursing, and leadership across settings. Her research interests and expertise include palliative and end-of-life nursing, spiritual care, adult learning theory, continuing professional development and continuing education, and interprofessional teams. She currently serves on a 1.5 million HRSA SANE grant team with the University of Minnesota and MNSU, and a palliative care research team partnership of MNSU and colleagues in Catalonia, Spain. She has been engaged with various faith communities throughout her career.

Paula Staab-Polk

Director/Chair, Fund Raising Committee
Paula Staab-Polk, BS, RN, FD/EMB, End of Life Doula

Paula Staab Polk has an extensive professional background in nursing, funeral service, event planning, and volunteering. She is passionate about helping and serving others during difficult transitions in their life by offering physical, psychological, and spiritual resources and support to the individual, family, and community. Paula moved 2 years ago from Chatham, IL to Burbank, CA, and is a consultant, developing virtual programs for the homebound for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. She is the Health Ministry Leader for St. Finbar Church, in Burbank. Paula is fund-raising committee Chair for FCNI.

Director/Chair, Journal and Publication Committee
Liz Sturgeon, PhD, RN, CNE

Director/Chair, Governance Committee
Karen May, PhD, RN, CNE

Cynthia Garrett

Director/Chair, Membership, Marketing, & Outreach Committee
Cynthia Garrett

Dr. Cynthia Garrett is a Christian, wife, mother, and dedicated nurse with a servant heart. Cynthia knew from a young age that she would pursue a career in healthcare. She often practiced on her dolls and stuffed animals. So, there was no question about what she would do after high school. She attended Samford University’s Ida V. Moffett School of Nursing in Birmingham, AL where she had the privilege of walking the same halls during clinical rotations as Ms. Moffett would often address the students and share her pearls of wisdom. Cynthia has a very diverse experience in nursing from pediatric, hematology/oncology, obstetrics, quality risk management, case management, worker’s compensation, and home health. She has enjoyed the privilege of serving as bedside nurse, nurse educator, case manager, nurse manager, nursing director and chief nursing officer. When she is not working she enjoys spending time with her high school sweetheart and husband if 33 years, Pete. Cynthia is inspired daily by her husband and children and loves hugging them every opportunity she gets. Lauren is 29 living in Kansas and PJ is 25 living in Georgia. The highlight of her day is coming home to her little terrier, Pearl. Cynthia enjoys cooking, sewing, reading, and traveling.

In 2012, she worked with the Congregational Health Program at Samford University to establish the Health and Wellness Ministry at her church and enjoys serving in the community and helping others as a parish nurse. As an active member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. she serves alongside others assisting to meet the needs of our communities in the Greater Birmingham Area.

Dr. Garrett is a proven leader with a servant heart and uses her positive, caring attitude to encourage others to work hard and succeed.

Bob Kentner

Director/Co-Chair, Membership, Marketing, & Outreach Committee
Bob Kentner, DNP, MSN, RN

Dr  Bob Kentner received his Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2021 from the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences, St. Augustine, FL, his Master of Science, Nursing in 2018 from Central Methodist University, Fayette, MO and his Bachelor of Science, Nursing in 2015 from Fort Hays State University, Hays, KS. Presently he holds the position of Quality/Infection Prevention Manager Sidney Regional Medical Center in Sidney, Nebraska. Bob is a Faith Community Nurse at Grant United Methodist Church in Grant Nebraska. Bob is an active member of FCNI working with others on the Practice Committee. He recently co-authored the following article: Knighten, M. L., Hacker, L., Solari-Twadell, P. A., Owen, L., & Kentner, B. (2021). Faith community nurses: Caring for individuals, congregations, and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Journal of Faith Community Nursing International, 6(1), Article 4. https://digitalcommons.wku.edu/ijfcn/vol6/iss1/4/.

Mary Martin

Director/Chair, Practice Committee
Mary Martin, MSN, RN

Mary Martin is currently the Administrator and Director of Nursing at the Princeton Elim Oasis Adult Day Center. She recently served as Director of Faith Community Nursing at Cassia, the Quality in Living Specialist Nurse at Redeemer Healthcare Center, and the Faith Community Nurse at Oxlip Evangelical Free Church in Minnesota. Additionally, she serves as leader in the FCN Network of the North Central District (Minnesota).

She is a member of numerous professional organizations, and is board member of several, including: The Family Table Ukraine (TFTU) Board Member, Faith Community Nurse Network – Twin Cities, member, Board of Director, NCF (Nurse Christian Fellowship) Leadership Team, Twin Cities, Spiritual Care Association, Logos Center, International Advisory Board Kyiv, Ukraine, , the  European Parish Nurse Network and Sigma Theta Tau International.  Additionally she serves actively on the FCNI Practice and Education Committees.

 Mary has presented nationally and internationally on the topics of faith community nursing, domestic violence, mental health, elder abuse, chronic illnesses, spiritual care, self-care, diabetes, depression and drug/alcohol addiction.  She recently co-authored the article below.

Martin, M., & DʼAndre, P. (2019).  Ukrainian faith community nursing: Meeting the challenge to care. Journal of Christian Nursing.  36.2, 88-92. https://doi.org/10.1097/CNJ.0000000000000594

Donna Callaghan

Director/Chair, Research Committee
Donna Callaghan, PhD, RN-BC, CNE

Donna Callaghan, PhD, RN-BC, CNE, Chair of the Governance Committee, is the Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning and Professor at Widener University School of Nursing, Chester, PA. She is a certified faith community nurse and is the Coordinator of the Parish Nursing Ministry at Our Lady of Peace Parish, Williamstown, NJ. Dr. Callaghan is the lead faculty for the Westberg Institute for Faith Community Nursing’s Foundation of Faith Community Nursing Curriculum at her university.

Esther Brown

Director/Chair, Spiritual Resource Development Committee
Esther Brown, EdD, RN, FCN-BC, ThB

Dr. Brown received her Doctorate from Immaculata University and her Master’s in Community Health Nursing Administration from West Chester University in West Chester PA.

She was employed at Widener University School of Nursing as Associate Professor where she taught Population Health in the undergraduate program, Population health for the RN and Epidemiology and Population health for the APN. Dr. Brown remains adjunct Associate Professor at Widener University. Dr. Brown is a Board member of FCNI and the Chair of the Resource Development Committee.

She is President of Boulden Seminary and a Pastor. She is also the Founder of Stained-Glass Ministry

Yvette Dulohery

Director/Chair, Technology Committee
Yvette Dulohery, EdS, MSN, APRN

Yvette Dulohery, EdS, MSN, APRN-BC is a Faith Community Nurse and has been active in the Faith Community Nurse Network of the Twin Cities (FCNN/FCNN-TC), the Southwestern Minnesota Faith Community Nurses, the Evangelical Lutheran Parish Nurse Association (now Lutheran Faith Community Nurse Association), and FCNI. She has previously served as FCNI Secretary and Chair of the Technology Committee. She retired as an oncology nurse practitioner at Mayo Clinic,  Her clinical experience includes medical surgical, oncology, critical care, trauma, obstetrics with intermediate-risk nursery, chemical dependency, home health care, and administration. She was among five colleagues who developed a hospice in DeKalb, IL, and was their first director. She taught at Northern Illinois University and Minnesota State University, Mankato, where she was an Associate Professor involved with the Simulation Committee and the Electronic Academy. 

Linda Garner

Elected Non-Voting Board Member/Chair, Leadership Succession Committee
Linda Garner, PhD, RN

Linda F Garner earned a doctorate from North Texas University with doctoral nursing preparation from Texas Woman’s University.  Her Master’s degree is from the University of Minnesota with a focus on nursing education and medical-surgical nursing.  She earned a BSN from Baylor University.  She served as faculty at Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing retiring after 40 years as Professor Emerita.  She organized the CNE program at Baylor. She served as Director of Nursing at Bangalore Baptist Hospital in Bangalore, India for two years as a missionary and has participated in missions in many other countries.  She has been Parish Nurse/Faith Community Nurse at Wilshire Baptist Church in Dallas, Texas for nearly 20 years, beginning as faculty practice, then full time after retirement.  She is a Faith Community Nurse educator  and an End of Life Nursing educator and volunteers for hospice with her therapy dog.  She serves as a FCNI Director and Chair of the Education Committee.

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