Newsdesk this month is devoted to the five-year retrospectives from the specialized ministries through which Adventist members in the Pacific Union are nurturing discipleship and spiritual growth and reaching out to the communities of the Pacific Southwest.
Recognizing the spiritual as well as physical importance of wellness, Health Ministries equips churches and conferences with resources and training to help prepare members to use health ministry as a tool for evangelism.
Over the last five years, under the direction of Dr. Lorayne Barton, Health Ministries has collaborated with conferences and churches to support them in carrying out health programs in their respective communities.
Barton is a physician at the Los Angeles County + USC Medical Center and an adjunct professor in the School of Public Health at Loma Linda University. She has a deep interest in prevention and believes in the practical and spiritual benefits of the Seventh-day Adventist health message.
The following are some of the highlights of the events and programs supported by Health Ministries.
Health Ministries supported Arizona Sonshine, Arizona Conference’s large-scale health outreach, which included free medical and dental care to the public. They also participated in several Adventist Medical Evangelism Network (AMEN) health clinics. Health Ministries also supported the union-wide Adventist Recovery Ministry training at Soquel, during which trainees learned how to conduct the addiction recovery program “Journey to Wholeness.”
Health Ministries assisted the Southeastern California Conference in conference-wide health ministry training and planning sessions in Riverside and San Diego.
Barton spoke at the NAD Health Ministry conference for the nationwide Health Ministry training for leaders. She also organized the first Children’s Health Conference in Loma Linda. Health Ministries supported the South Bay church in Southern California in holding multiple community outreach programs.
The COVID pandemic ignited even more passion for health ministry. In early 2020, Health Ministries held a union-wide training for health ministry leaders. Other events included a Diabetes Undone seminar in Glendale, California, and “The Whole Conference.” In addition, Health Ministries promoted online health resources such as lifeandhealth.org, saludesvida.org, and various other online training events at local churches in the Southern California Conference.
With the gradual reopening of indoor worship and events, some churches are taking innovative approaches to in-person events. The Mt. Shasta church in the Northern California Conference hosted health ministry events by replacing pews with tables. Other events and programs are currently in the works for the future.