New initiative will promote “Healthy Congregations, Healthy Communities”
United Methodists who are engaged in health ministries are preparing to learn about a new congregational health initiative. “Healthy Congregations, Healthy Communities” will be introduced at a U.S. Health Summit scheduled for September 8-10, 2015, in Houston.
The initiative is being launched in a joint effort by the denomination’s General Board of Global Ministries, the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, and Wesley Theological Seminary. The summit will be hosted and co-sponsored by Houston Methodist and St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
At the Global Ministries’ April board meeting, top executive Thomas Kemper said, “I consider our opportunities in health ministry one of our expanding fields of mission.” He continued, “We ask God to give us the energy and wisdom for this work of healing and wholeness in the world.”
The health summit will highlight congregational and annual conference work in health ministry, covering topics including community outreach, congregational health ministries, hospital-based community engagement, health and wholeness, academia, and spiritual healing ministries. The summit will also feature work across general agencies that supports healthy clergy, congregations, and communities.
The Methodist heritage is rooted in a strong concern for health, which is reflected in the current United Methodist commitment to “abundant health for all” in communities throughout the world. John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, compiled the best available medical information of the day, which every Methodist preacher was expected to carry while making rounds. The Healthy Congregations, Healthy Communities summit extends that tradition in the 21st century, providing current information and guidance to improve health for U.S. United Methodist congregations to use in their own ministries.
Representatives from 29 annual conferences have registered for the summit. Churches and conferences who are interested in follow-up events are encouraged to contact Patricia Magyar or Matthew Ellis.
Media contact: Melissa Hinnen, United Methodist Public Information Officer, 212 .870. 3833