Lake Park United Methodist Church and Faith Community United Church of Christ have joined together to launch a new Health Ministry focused on both healing and preventative health. It will serve residents of the East Bay region. J-Sei, an East Bay non-profit organization that serves the older adult population, will also partner with the two churches.
Diane Wong, the Executive Director of J-Sei, said, "As a community based organization that serves families in the East Bay, J-Sei is thrilled to work with the Faith Community UCC and Lake Park UMC to promote and further good health and prevention. This type of collaboration really helps all of us in our efforts to reach more people and to achieve more together."
The Health ministry encourages whole-person health by focusing on four goals:
- integration of body, mind and spirit
- increased self-knowledge
- personal responsibility
Eppie Encabo, a nurse with Faith Community UCC, and one of the main organizers of the new health ministry, explained, "Our goal is to improve the health of the community one person at a time by focusing on not just the body but also the spirit and mind; all are equally important. We hope to give people a better understanding of what healthy living is all about."
The health needs of East Bay and Oakland are great. Communities of color and low income communities are at the greatest risk for a wide variety of health challenges including: high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure (hypertension), obesity, coronary heart disease and asthma. Since our ministry is targeting both of these populations, the potential impacts on Oakland are significant.
This first year, the Health Ministry will offer a series of four free health checkups on Saturdays and Sundays at Lake Park UMC. The first health check-up took place on May 12, Mother's Day, and over 30 people were given blood sugar level tests, O2 checks and blood pressure checks. (The Health Ministry Team from the May 12th event is pictured at left.)
They are working now to schedule their next health check-up late summer — with hopes of reaching another 50 to 100 people — as well as to follow up with individuals who were identified as high risk on their self-care plans.
"As followers of Christ we have been given the mission to preach, teach and heal. Most churches do well at the preaching and teaching, but neglect the part about healing people. This collaborative health ministry project will be a tangible way to express Jesus' healing love and care for all of His children," said Rev. John Oda, pastor at Lake Park UMC.