Special to the Advocate
At the 2005 Mississippi Annual Conference, Bishop Felton May called for individuals moved to work in health. Slowly the altar filled with willing clergy and laity.
The focus on health comes from the list of quadrennial initiatives for the Mississippi Conference.
Individuals who participated in the altar call are taking action. A Health and Wellness Task force was formed and is completing tasks which are moving the Mississippi Conference to a healthier lifestyle.
On March 2, more than 30 members of the Health and Wellness Task force attended a Congregational Health Ministries training. The Rev. Patrick Phillips and Alice Emanuel of Jackson Central UMC hosted the training. The training was conducted by Elaine M. Dye who formerly worked for the General Board of Global Ministries and was co-author of Congregational Health Ministries: A Guide for Congregations manual and training. Elaine works for The Partnership for a Healthy Mississippi in the college initiative. She is the wife of the Rev. Millsaps Dye of
Elaine Dye began with the question, “What is health ministry?”
Using an umbrella image, she described how all the church does fall under “health ministry.” Health ministry is a process for congregations to bring healing and wholeness to individuals and the community, she said. She stressed that health ministry is a process not a program.
Participants began the process by defining “health.” Health is not just physical but environmental, social, mental/emotional, economic/political and spiritual. Each person reflected on these health areas in his/her life and then drew a symbolic health person. Each part of the body represented one area of health. Were these perfectly balanced persons? No, health is a journey towards wholeness.
The group was then entertained and informed by the Rev. Jesse Moore who shared some of John Wesley’s rules for living:
Wesley wrote these rules in Primitive Physick in 1747.
The training continued through the five phases for Congregational Health Ministries:
During the five phases, participants brainstormed on health ministry activities, looked at models of health ministry (i.e. health minister, parish nurse and lay counselor) and discussed the health ministry team makeup.
Becky P. Williams, a member of Crossgates UMC in
Those interested in learning more about Congregational Health Ministries can contact Dye, firstname.lastname@example.org, or the Rev.