Partners in Health and Wholeness ambitiously endeavors to work for and toward issues of mind, body, and spirit with faith communities. The words ‘health’ and ‘wholeness’ are truly huge words, landscaping innumerable concerns, issues, and conversations. Daunting, yes. Needed? Definitely.
As daunting as the work around health seems in this state, I was reminded of the importance of community in regards to health, and particularly wholeness, during two separate events recently.
The ‘wholeness’ half of our program is crucial to our overall health. Health is comprised of all issues relating to the interconnectedness of mind, body, and spirit. Wholeness is the fabric of our body’s synergy; our emotional health is directly tied to our physical health and so forth. Wholeness is what brings our health together and our various communities are an integral piece of our overall wholeness.
Community is also a broad word but I have been reminded of how vital the concept of community is to our wholeness, and thus health. When I mention community in this sense, I am referring to a place of belonging, accountability, and feeling known.
One example was in Washington, NC, where I attended one of our certified church’s healthy eating workshops. The event was hosted by Metropolitan AME Zion Church at their health clinic. The PHW health lead, Tiffany, who is also a nurse practitioner at the health clinic, led the event. As I listened and learned, I witnessed true community among the attendees. It was obvious that these folks were not only patients at the health clinic but also congregants and neighbors together. They knew each other well. With that, there was obvious accountability among this group; accountability for each other’s diet habits, sugar levels, water intake. This was a group of friends but also a neighborhood “health watch group.” It is not hard to imagine that if one of their own was missing from a meeting or two, that they would notice and find out why.
Spending time with them reminded me of two crucial aspects of health: first, community is vital to our health and wholeness, and second, community can make issues of health and the broadness of health less overwhelming.
When we have groups that we can turn to for support, prayer, and advice then diagnoses, concerns, and health goals seem less defeating. We need each other.
One of our partners, Resourceful Communities, had their annual ‘Healthy Eating, Active Living Convening’ recently. As I walked around, I was comforted that there are so many unique and efficient groups working on issues of health. I am grateful that Partners in Health and Wholeness is not the only group working on health because issues of health are so expansive and groups need each other even on the large scale. Conferences such as this one provide attendees a list of contacts and resources so that we have others that we can call upon. I am also thankful that groups partner and work so well together, as evident by this conference. I learn and take away so much when I spend time with others, and that enriches my time spent with churches.
On both the individual and nonprofit, ministerial basis, health can be overwhelming because so many topics and stories are involved, but there is assurance when we seek to be with others in our lives and work. During my own recent reminders, I began thinking how important it is for those who feel lonely, disconnected, or discouraged by their health needs to think how they can creatively find a support system. Whether it is a coffee with a friend, prayer with your minister, or a group that you find in your community, it is proven that this will proactively contribute to your well-being and wholeness. Wholeness is a crucial part of our health and just as important as our doctor visits and medicine. Community is an integral part of our wholeness that helps us have healthier overall lives.