By Faith Hoyt
Amid a global health crisis, Health Ministries in the Pacific Union adopted virtual methods for hosting classes on beating diabetes, reversing heart disease, improving immunity, and more.
When the COVID-19 pandemic brought a halt to in-person classes, Pacific Union Health Ministries Director Lorayne Barton transitioned her classes to digital formats, including hosting several Zoom classes and premiering pre-recorded videos on YouTube, in order to continue helping people reverse disease and live healthy lives.
“Community health classes in areas of genuine need and interest continue to be a powerful ministry to reach the community,” Barton said. “God has entrusted the Seventh-day Adventist church with the health message of the Bible that will make a tremendous difference in their lives.”
In order to share Health Ministries resources online, Barton collaborates with Life and Health, an ASI organization formed out of the Adventist Medical Evangelism Network (AMEN) and based in the Northern California Conference. The English website, LifeandHealth.org, and Spanish website, SaludesVida.org, have free and low-cost e-courses that include Diabetes Undone, anxiety and depression relief, the eight laws of health, and hydrotherapy. Plant-based recipes and articles on fitness, natural healing, and lifestyle are also available.
This last year, the Health Lecture Series produced by Pacific Union Health Ministries also transitioned online, starting as Zoom lectures on plant-based diets presented by physicians or scientists with a cooking demonstration by registered dietitians, chefs, or cooking instructors. The Health Lecture series then transitioned to featuring pre-recorded videos of the health lectures and cooking demonstrations on various YouTube channels. According to Barton, many physicians and scientists from the Adventist church and the community have helped present the benefits of a whole-food, plant-based diet and lifestyle medicine.
While Life and Health Network has provided one major outlet for helping individuals on their health journey, Barton noted that churches continue to find ways to witness locally through their health ministry programs. One example is a church in a Northern California town.
“At the Mount Shasta church, they were not meeting in the sanctuary, so they removed pews and put in socially distanced tables,” Barton said. “They then continued to hold programs such as Diabetes Undone.” Having counseled with their local Public Health Department, the church now hosts socially distanced classes that cover basic herbal remedies, healthful immune-building foods, the eight laws of health, hydrotherapy, and more.
For those interested in getting involved in health ministries in their local area, members are invited to reach out to their conference health ministry director. If no one currently fills the role, contact Dr. Lorayne Barton through the Pacific Union Conference to learn more about how to get involved.
“We have mentored a number of churches who have developed successful community health ministries,” Barton shared. “We would be very happy to help you and your church develop one too.”