Prospect Presbyterian Church in Mooresville has received the North Carolina Council of Churches’ first Partners in Health and Wholeness (PHW) Gold Certificate for their commitment to better health. Rev. Joanne Hull serves as Prospect’s pastor.
Congregations from different denominations and geographic areas across the state are “exercising” their faith by acknowledging that our bodies are the temple of God and by participating in the PHW Certification Program. In January 2010, the first level of certification, Bronze, was unveiled which requires congregations to: name a health contact person to take the lead on health promotion, maintain tobacco-free buildings and serve healthier church meals. Then, in January 2011, Silver and Gold Certifications were announced – each of which include more advanced activities such as growing a community garden; getting involved in health advocacy at the local, state and national levels; and preaching one or more times a year on health as a faith issue.
As the Council’s first PHW Gold Certification recipient, Prospect Presbyterian has successfully demonstrated their commitment to better health by: hosting Health Awareness Sundays where they talk about the importance of health stewardship (i.e., eating nutritious foods and being physically active); hosting health fairs which include BMI measurements, blood pressure checks, flu vaccinations, and consultations with the Parish Nurse; advocating for long-term solutions to worldwide hunger; playing an instrumental role in changing Rowan County’s regulations on industrial air pollution (now the strictest in the state); incorporating health education, particularly around nutrition, into Bible studies; and holding “Lunch ‘n Learn” events immediately after Sunday worship services, covering such topics as: “Cholesterol: What you Need to Know”, “Diabetes vs. Hypoglycemia”, and “Wise Up on Meds”.
The Council – including our 27 member judicatories, eight member congregations, Governing Board and staff – is proud of all the good health-related work that is happening in churches across the state as we work together to reduce the impact of physical inactivity, poor nutrition and tobacco use. And we stand in awe and admiration of Prospect Presbyterian Church in Mooresville for being the first to achieve our highest level of honor and for taking seriously the health of God’s people!
Willona Stallings, PHW Program Coordinator