Global Ministries

The United Methodist Church

Connecting the Church in Mission

Global Ministries

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Local Pastor Who Is a Nurse Bringing New United Methodist Church Health Program to Portland

Montavilla UMC Named First
“Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children” Partner in Oregon

June 1, 2016, PORTLAND, Ore. As a nurse, Timothy Winslea of Portland, Ore., is concerned about the physical health of the congregation at Montavilla United Methodist Church. As the pastor of Montavilla UMC, Winslea is concerned about the spiritual health of his congregation. Now, through a new program recently announced by The United Methodist Church, he is able to combine his two concerns into one as church members dedicate themselves to bringing the program called “Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children” to the people of the Rose City.

In recognition of their dedication to the initiative, Montavilla UMC has been named the first Abundant Health partner in the state of Oregon by the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church. The mission agency of the denomination is working to recruit 10,000 congregations in the United States to join the global initiative that aims to reach 1 million children with lifesaving interventions by 2020.

“As both a pastor and a nurse, I am very interested in the intersection between healthcare and faith,” said the Rev. Timothy Winslea, pastor of Montavilla United Methodist Church. “My congregation knows I am an advocate for all forms of health education. Together we’ve had many discussions about mental health, wellness programs, and access to health services in our community.”

Health as a mission is such a priority for the church, located at 232 SE 80th Ave., Portland, that the congregation recently spent $20,000 to convert space in their building into a fitness center. Equipped with DIN exercise grade standard flooring, this studio currently serves as a great space for dance and Taekwondo classes and hopefully yoga, Pilates, Zumba and other fitness activities in the near future.

“Our congregation is deeply aware of the role health and wellness play in the lives of the people of Portland,” stated Winslea. “I feel that churches naturally have the resources to be an effective player in this global effort. We are excited to receive this honor and join with a program that helps people see what United Methodists are doing to affect their communities for good.”

Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children, which was affirmed at the denomination’s general conference held in Portland in May, will be The United Methodist Church’s primary global health initiative for the next four years. It will focus on four core areas impacting the health of children throughout the world. The initiative aims to ensure safe births, address nutritional challenges and promote breastfeeding, advance prevention and treatment of childhood diseases, and promote children’s health and wholeness.

The Abundant Health program seeks to engage at least 10,000 churches in the United States to develop support systems for education and prevention in their surrounding communities. Global Ministries will encourage churches to engage their neighboring communities by promoting physical activities, encouraging healthy diet and nutrition, providing education for tobacco- and drug-free living, and promoting mental health education.

Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children will be led by Olusimbo Ige, MD, MS, MPH, executive director of the organization’s Global Health program, and her team. As a Nigerian, Dr. Ige has witnessed firsthand how limited or nonexistent access to medical services can impact a child.

“Abundant Health is a way for us to combine the work we have done overseas, taking care of people who are facing chronic needs, and bring it back to the United States,” said Ige. “We are thinking about people in our own communities who lack the healthy qualities of life they need to sustain themselves.”

“Globally, we will address malaria, diarrhea, birth complications, and respiratory infections in developing countries where resources are scarce,” said Ige. “But even here, in the United States, there is work we can do as a church to respond to health challenges.”

“There are many simple things a church can do to make a difference,” stated Ige. “At their potluck dinners, churches can provide more fruits and vegetables. They can also provide opportunities for children to exercise or a space in the basement for a gym. And, churches can host summer food programs or invite someone to come in and talk about substance abuse.”

“As United Methodists, we find care and concern for children rooted in our social principles, where we talk about putting children and their families first,” said Thomas Kemper, general secretary of Global Ministries. “This year’s conference affirmed that children have the right to food, shelter, clothing, health care, and emotional well-being, as do adults, and these rights are theirs regardless of the actions or inactions of their parents or guardians.”

“Our goal for Abundant Health is to promote the physical, spiritual, mental, and emotional health of children worldwide,” Kemper continued. “The initiative’s name is derived from the Gospel of John 10:10: ‘I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.’ We are committed to living into our promise to children by imagining abundant health for every child in every place.”

“A lack of abundant health is not only when you are sick, it can also mean that your potential for good health is not fully realized,” Ige stated. “We want to connect with every child in every place, and we are calling on every church and every individual to join us in this effort.”

For more information about Abundant Health: Our Promise to Children visit or


About the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church

The General Board of Global Ministries is the worldwide mission agency of The United Methodist Church. Founded in New York City in 1819, Global Ministries today supports 340 missionaries in 60 countries, including the United States. It has personnel, projects, and partners in a total of 136 countries. Learn more about Global Ministries by visiting and follow and