PHW Liaison, Sarah Dean, is a dynamic individual who runs a successful health ministry at her church in Anson County. She applied on behalf of her church, Ebenezer Missionary Baptist Church, for a Blue Cross and Blue Shield Healthy Eating Equipment Grant. Although they were not one of the grantees, Ms. Dean says, “I do give praise and honor to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. God is still in control. We do plan to keep pushing forth. We did Pink Sunday on the fourth Sunday and applauded all five breast cancer survivors. We are focusing on “Stroke” this month. We will continue to fight these diseases and promote healthy eating and exercise.”
I am so proud to know this woman and the good work she is doing in the community. The first time I visited her church, I actually was driving around Wadesboro randomly dropping-in on churches. This was when I first started at PHW and didn’t have any contacts. I was driving the main road in Wadesboro, saw the church with a car parked in front of a door, so I turned into the church grounds. I parked away from the car, not sure why I did, but I did. I remember that the door was locked and I rang the doorbell several times. No one came to the door, but I was determined to not give up, especially since there was valid evidence that someone had to be in the building, right?
I went back to the rental car, which was a red sports car that was gifted to me by the rental agency because they had rented all the economy cars. I was dressed with high heels and a skirt (my dress-code at the time). I almost felt as though I was a police officer on a watch. My eyes were glued to the door. I started making phone calls to other churches in Wadesboro I got from a phone book, and thankfully, shortly after, another car pulled up. The driver parked next to the door. Got out without hesitation, made a curious glance in my direction, and went to the door. He had a key. He was met at the door by another gentleman, and they were on the move. Meanwhile, as soon as I saw the other car park near the door, I quickly put down my jug of water, spilling a bit in the process, and opened the door clumsily. As I speedily headed out the driver’s side door, I remembered that I needed my folder; I then reached over the passenger side to grab it, all the while looking over my right shoulder to see how swiftly they were moving inside. As I got out the car door, car keys in one hand, folder in the other, I had to call their attention and lock the car door at the same time. I started flailing my hands over my head and calling, “Hello-Hi-Good morning” as I was trying not to fall in my heels as I ran.
Conversation stopped and eyes glued on me. Yes, I was still running or skip/walking towards them in my heels with hands over my head, smiling to seem harmless. I’m sure my keys and folders looked like pathetic pompoms to my chant as I neared them. “Hi-Hello-Good morning.” I abruptly stopped. I reached them. I held out my hand to shake theirs. I didn’t know what to do next. I tried to act like I wasn’t out of breath, as I continued, “I’m Joy Williams with Partners in Health and Wholeness, and I couldn’t help but notice this church” as I motioned with my hands toward the church grounds, smiling as though I was just in my car admiring the fine craftsmanship of the brick wall I was parked in front of. I just got expectant stares. I awkwardly proceeded, “I was hoping to meet with the Pastor, if possible,” I said flatly.
“Oh, OK. I’m the Pastor,” said the gentleman who answered the door from the inside. The other two gentlemen finished their business and he invited me inside, out of the heat.
It was from that moment on that I met Pastor Tony Barr. He not only relieved the hot sun with the air condition of his office, but he went back into the hot sun to record a short clip as to the great work that his church is doing around health. It is a great pleasure to work with this congregation, and I look forward to sharing with all of you their service to the Lord that keeps them a winner.
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 places of worship in NC.