Robin Swift, Ed Moore, and the wellness advocates have just returned to Durham from Oak Island, N.C., the site of the last of our spring series of Spirited Life workshops. Though putting on a road-show for the last three months has proven intense for our staff, we’re thrilled that the pastors have found these events to be the powerful introduction to Spirited Life that we hoped they’d be.
Health isn’t something we can achieve solely on our own – it’s connected to the environment around us. Having access to fresh foods (and being able to afford them!), being able to walk or jog safely without the risk of being hit by a speeding car -- these things all play into our overall sense of well-being.
There are definitely things that congregations can do to improve the health environment in and around the church. And we want to hear about them!
Bethesda United Methodist Church in Welcome, N.C., offers exercise classes twice a week to serve church members and others in the Welcome community. Bethesda is in the Lexington District of the Western North Carolina Conference, and Dennis Marshall is in his second year as pastor there.
I'd like to return to a theme I've touched on before: that the local church is a great venue for health-promotion activities.
Below are a few resources for churches that are intentional about caring for the bodies of congregants and community members. All of these program templates have some basic principles in common:
The Staff-Parish Relations Committee is a pivotal thing in the life of a United Methodist pastor. PPRCs / SPRCs can be a source of real support to a pastor. Or things can go off the rails at that point. The committee can be a stress reliever or a stress producer.
Pastor, what does your congregation do to demonstrate care for the physical health of your members? Are your church buildings designated tobacco-free? Are low-fat foods or unsweetened beverages even an option at church fellowship events? Have you ever preached or taught on The Body as a Temple?