Wellness is about Relationships

By: Rev Dr Kristopher Hewitt, Pastor
IVANHOE CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH, UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST

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The Wellness Ministry program of our church has truly been a blessing. I believe ministry is all about relationships. Living out our faith means that we share God’s love and care for one another. The church is a healing community. While the church is the people, and not a building, the place where we meet provides an opportunity to gather together to host programs that help us care better for ourselves and build up the body that is the church. 

Our program began as one that we hosted for a year. We surveyed members about their needs and interests, and then scheduled monthly workshops.  We always had community members attend, in addition to church members.  After we saw interest from the community, the next year we sought to collaborate with other churches in hosting events, so we could try to serve the broader community.  Those relationships can help widen the network of care.

Perhaps the greatest impact for our church is that the wellness ministry has become contagious. As ideas for future programs are generated, leaders are making health a priority.  Relationships between members include conversations not only about health concerns, but also helpful referrals and recommendations.  Members with skills and education have started to share their gifts with additional classes and programs. 

The greatest asset in the wellness program is the Advocate staff. The Congregational Outreach Coordinator has relationships across the system to provide experts in every field. The programs truly are a ministry aimed at promoting healing through body, mind, and spirit.  Each event is introduced as an extension of their office and then evaluated for potential improvements. I believe the most successful programs have been ones where those in attendance are most involved.  Whether during a cooking demonstration, or in conversation, inclusion fosters community relationships. The presenters know their material and know how to listen to participant’s questions and concerns. I know that the participants share the knowledge gained with their friends and family to improve the health of the whole community.

I am grateful for our wellness ministry that helps create a caring and healing community.