Task Force Wants Holy Conferencing to Be Healthier Conferencing

Inter-Agency Health and Wholeness Task Force


March 12, 2008

Contact: Diane Denton
(615) 742-5406 (office)
(615) 483-1765 (cell)

Task Force Wants Holy Conferencing to Be Healthier Conferencing

The United Methodist Interagency Health and Wholeness Task Force is working to provide a healthier environment for delegates at the 2008 General Conference, while showcasing the denomination's efforts to improve personal, congregational, and global health, including ways to get involved.

"We believe United Methodists are called to work toward a global society of persons who are spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally healthy," said the Rev. Larry Hollon, chief executive of United Methodist Communications and a member of the task force. "As the denomination's top legislative body meets, it seems fitting to focus on health issues. Clergy health, children's health, health care access and delivery, and global health issues are all areas where we are working to bring about change."

The General Board of Global Ministries, the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits, the General Board of Church and Society, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry, United Methodist Communications, and the General Board of Discipleship are working cooperatively through an interagency task force to improve the health of individuals and communities. The agencies are working both individually and collectively to build awareness, action and advocacy for the health-related ministries across the denomination.

"A very real issue we face together is the health of all clergy and lay workers who must remain vital to continue the ministry of the Church. We hope this gathering can be a stepping-off point to encourage attendees to actively identify and improve their own healthful habits and extend health awareness to their families, congregations and, consequently, the world we serve," said Barbara Boigegrain, chief executive of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits.

The task force will sponsor an interactive health exhibit at General Conference that will provide blood pressure checks, massage chairs, parish nurses, educational information, sign chi do breaks, self-assessments, advocacy opportunities, and more. Water bottles and pedometers will also be available at the booth.

A part of the health exhibit allows visitors to use MP3 players to listen to stories of people around the world facing difficult health issues such as HIV/AIDS, malaria, diabetes, and contaminated water.

Twice a day during the ten-day meeting, delegates from around the globe will have the opportunity to participate in a "Walk With The World" fitness walk around downtown Fort Worth, and participants will get free T-shirts commemorating the event. There will be "healthy moment" breaks interspersed throughout the meeting, as well as an opportunity to get health screenings on-site.

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