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Health Ministry Development

A congregation has a health ministry or health program when it recognizes and claims the dynamic healing potential at the intersection of faith and health and builds an organized, intentional response rooted in the scriptures and practices of its faith tradition.

We work with congregations on setting up new health ministries or initiatives or on building and expanding what they are already doing to promote health and wellness. Contact Olga, the Center’s Administrative Assistant, if you’d like to learn more or schedule any of these programs.

We offer several levels of support

Agents of Healing:
An Introduction to Health Ministry

This is an 8-hour workshop that covers the basics of building a health ministry:

  • Grounding Health Ministry in Faith
  • What is Health?
  • Different Approaches to Health Ministry
  • Assessing, Planning and Discerning
  • Putting it All Together

We customize the workshop to your group so that it best fits your setting and your needs.  We find that the workshop works best when a congregation sends a team of people and when there are several congregations participating together. The workshop is interactive, draws on the existing wisdom of the participants and emphasizes relationship building among the participants. We recommend scheduling a 3 month follow up session to bring people back to check on how things are going and get additional support.

Health Ministry Institute

For those congregations that are ready to invest more time or that want more support in building or expanding their health ministry, we offer a 5-session Institute that walks participants through the assessment, discerning and implementation process. Over the course of 6 months, participants come together for learning, do homework between sessions, and build toward a final plan for addressing the priorities they have identified for their congregation.

Unnatural Causes

Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? is a series that was produced for PBS television about how the social environments that we live in affect our health. The health of people in our communities is greatly determined by income, discrimination, the environment, education levels, etc.  We offer a workshop that uses clips from the series to engage participants in thinking about how they can use the strengths of their faith traditions and practices to address these root causes of health disparities. The session can be tailored to your group’s needs, but is generally offered as a 2 or 3 hour workshop.

Just Eating? Practicing Our Faith at the Table

Just Eating? Practicing Our Faith at the Table is a seven-session curriculum for congregations that explores the relationship between the way we eat and the way we live. The study uses scripture, prayer and stories from the local and global community to explore five key aspects of our relationship with food. We provide an introduction session for those who want to lead the curriculum in their congregations.  Participants will gain an understanding of the goal of the curriculum as a whole and of each session and will experience exercises from each of the 7 sessions. The workshop is 3 hours and includes a shared meal.

A joint project of Advocate Health Care & the OCEAN-HP at the University of Illinois at Chicago.