Durham Churches to Launch Congregational Wellness Challenge

Pastors, lay leaders and 12 members from each congregation will engage in a 40-day effort to inspire holistic health within their churches and across the community.

Seven Durham churches are kicking off the new year with a commitment to nourish the spirit, soul and body.  As participants in the 2015 Congregational Wellness Challenge, pastors, lay leaders and 12 members from each congregation will engage in a 40-day effort to inspire holistic health within their churches and across the community.The wellness challenge, which runs Jan. 25 through March 5, is organized by DurhamCares, the Clergy Health Initiative at Duke Divinity School, and Bull City Forward.  Participating congregations include Christ Central Church, CityWell Church, Faith Assembly Christian Center, One Love Ministries, Refiner’s Fire Community Church, Tobacco Trail Church and Union Baptist Church.A launch celebration for participating churches is scheduled for 6 p.m. Jan. 23 at the Emily K Center in Durham.  Local caterers including Green Planet Catering, Organics and Sounds, and Sweeties Vegan – Southern Soul and Comfort Food will feature healthy approaches to cooking with locally grown produce.  The Clergy Health Initiative will conduct complimentary health screenings, and the East Durham-based Kidznotes orchestra will perform.“We hope the Congregational Wellness Challenge sparks a movement in our community,” said the Rev. Keith Daniel, Officer for Church Mobilization at DurhamCares. “Our goal is to create a network of churches whose very culture supports healthy lifestyles for generations to come.”During the 40-day program, participants will document their efforts to engage in activities that nourish the spirit, such as prayer, bible study and Sabbath time; activities that develop the soul, such as community service, hobbies or mindfulness; and activities that enhance the body, such as physical activity and healthy eating.  Other members of participating churches are encouraged to support the participants through prayer, participation and a commitment to promote health at church events.The wellness challenge will conclude with a closing celebration and participation in the Florence Forth 5K Run/Walk in Durham March 7.For more information, visit www.facebook.com/CongregationalWellnessChallenge.