It is awesome how many people spend their days thinking of ways to make this world better. I was reminded of this during the latest Come to the Table Conferences. Both Kinston and Greensboro, the two locations for the Eastern NC and the Piedmont conferences respectively, brought together people of faith who love seeking justice. Both of the conferences this year exceeded past attendance and drew together churches who are doing amazing work around food. Rev.Jesse Joyner spoke of his work with youth around gardening and beekeeping (18 hives) at Conetoe Family Life Center. Another exciting part of this venture is that the young people raise money. They are able to use the proceeds to buy school supplies and to pay for their summer camps. Rev. Joyner was one of the opening panelists during the Kinston conference and shared their story. I fell in love with the spirit of the young people he brought with him. One of them, Tobias, was tall and seemingly soft spoken but has a giant spirit. I ate lunch with the youth who came with Rev. Joyner, and they taught me a song–which they ended up leading everybody at conference in singing!
The Greensboro conference was equally powerful. There were workshops surrounding food justice as well as finding support for your ministry or nonprofit. I was especially proud of the representation from Robeson County. We had two Partners in Health and Wholeness-certified churches participate: Gold-Certified First Baptist Church 2nd St with Pastor Dr. Thomas Murray and Bronze- Certified St. Matthews Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church with Rev. Joseph Young serving as the church leader. Both churches participated in the events that spanned the two days. In particular, Jay Leggette of FBC was one of the panelists who shared resources he has found for his church in order to do work partnering to hold dental clinics and health classes. They are now gearing up to plan for a garden or greenhouse.
You can find success stories like these on the on the Partners in Health and Wholeness website here. Many of the folks at the conference joined our Facebook page as well as our PHW Book Club. I would invite you to do the same. In both of these resources you will find encouragement to continue pursuing God’s direction for your health, and engage in safe and stimulating conversation around food and faith. I hope to your read your comments in the future on either resource.
Partners in Health and Wholeness is an initiative of the North Carolina Council of Churches. PHW aims to connect health as a faith issue. Please visit our website to sign your personal pledge to be healthier, and to find out about grant opportunities for churches in NC. Continue to stay connected with PHW by liking us on Facebook.