By: Victoria Rebeck
Minnesota United Methodists will continue to explore the ways that faith and health intersect. The 2012 annual conference theme is “Healthy Lives, Healthy World.”
“The theme grows out of our fruitful work this year on Imagine No Malaria,” says Bishop Sally Dyck. “Through Imagine No Malaria, our conference is contributing to a healthier world, and by doing so, we're getting healthier and more vital. The churches that have participated are demonstrating and exercising vitality.”
United Methodists can draw on the example of Jesus, for healing was a significant part of his ministry.
Conference lay and clergy members will examine the topic from many perspectives: Imagine No Malaria, the Love Offering (with its additional beneficiaries, parish nurses and Shalom Communities), and the presentation from the conference speaker, Rev. Mike Slaughter of Ginghamsburg United Methodist Church in Ohio.
From Slaughter, conference members will learn that clergy and laity alike have to work on discipline and healthy, holy habits if they want to make a healthy church and if they want to change a world,” Bishop Dyck says. “It is healthy churches, led by healthy leaders, who can offer salvation and save lives through something like Imagine No Malaria.”
“Lay and clergy leaders need to work at being healthy in body, mind, spirit, and relationships, taking responsibility for our health so that we can better lead from a well-grounded faith to make healthy churches,” Bishop Dyck says. “If we're not healthy leaders, our churches won't be healthy and we'll be so focused inward that we will not be looking outward in order to change the world.”
By participating in the denomination-wide Imagine No Malaria campaign, Minnesota United Methodists have been able to leverage their significant gifts with others in order to successfully reduce malaria deaths in sub-Saharan Africa.
Churches can find health-giving ministries in their own neighborhoods and regions.
“Pray, study the scriptures, find opportunities to bridge the differences that cause churches to be unhealthy, and grow in the fruit of the Spirit in all that you do,” Bishop Dyck urges conference members.
Many churches have already begun to do so, such as by adding a parish nurse to the church staff or offering Twelve-Step Recovery groups. Caring about the health of their church, themselves, and their neighbors nearby and around the world, Minnesota United Methodists continue the ministry of Jesus.
Minnesota Annual Conference of the United Methodist Church