By Kaitlyn Brodar, PHW Intern
I recently had the distinct pleasure of speaking with Norma Boone, the health lead at Corinth AME Zion Church in Siler City, NC. The church has been actively involved with Partners in Health and Wholeness since 2012, and is currently a silver-certified congregation. According to Norma, “Through this program, we have been able to encourage our members to do more about their health and well-being on a weekly basis. This program has also helped us to support programming for our children and youth during our summer enrichment program.”
Corinth AME Zion is a very active congregation, especially when it comes to health. They have a health ministry that meets regularly, and they provide health information in their weekly church bulletin. Each month, Corinth AME Zion addresses a different health topic. In May, they recognize Mental Health Awareness Month by highlighting mental health through sermons, discussions, and church bulletin information. In June, they celebrate Men’s Health Month. The entire congregation wears blue for Father’s Day, and men in the church are given information specific to health issues they may encounter or find particularly relevant. They also celebrate Red Dress Day in February by hosting a workshop for members of the church in which they discuss nutrition, exercise, and stress management.
October brings Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The church recognizes the pain and suffering that breast cancer can bring to individuals and families by providing social support and information, and also rejoices over victories and successes that individuals with breast cancer experience as they fight the disease. Each year, they celebrate Breast Cancer Survivors’ Day by giving thanks to God for those in the church that have survived breast cancer. They show their gratitude by providing small gifts for each survivor, and “everyone in the church wears pink—even the men!”
This past year, Corinth AME Zion also hosted a breakfast for senior citizens from the church and the surrounding community. The breakfast had the theme of “perennials.” I loved this theme from the moment Norma described it. If you know about plants, you know that perennials tend to
be hardy—they don’t need to be replanted every year, and most of them stick around for a long time. More importantly, many perennials have adapted to be resilient even in harsh conditions, like extreme cold or heat. Despite what life throws at them, they keep coming back, year after year. At the breakfast, seniors stood up and talked about what’s helped them to live like a perennial—how they’ve weathered the storms of life and made it to where they are today. They gave tips for how others can be healthy, strong, and resilient. Resiliency is an important part of physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Corinth AME Zion Church is a great example of how a faith community can help individuals be resilient in their path toward health and wholeness.
If your congregation would like to put your faith into action by prioritizing the health of your members, please visit the PHW website at www.healthandwholeness.org.