Conference to build connections for health ministries

June 26, 2008

“Empowering Ministries of Health: Connecting Around the World” will be the focus of the fourth annual National Congregational Health Ministries Conference Sept. 21-24 at Lake Junaluska, N.C.

The conference is designed for health and welfare chairpersons, clergy, parish/faith community nurses and others with a passion for health ministries. Sponsors are the General Board of Global Ministries and the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits.

Two scholarships for tuition, lodging and meals will be offered to designated representatives from each annual conference.

More than 35 speakers will make presentations in plenary sessions, workshops and daily worship services. “Because of the multitude of speakers and talent we are bringing, this conference will really give participants the tools they need to create health ministries to the fullest,” said Patricia Magyar, executive secretary of Congregational Health Ministries at the Board of Global Ministries.

Topics will include strengthening clergy and laity health, funding, planning strategies, collaborating with other faith and business communities, advocating for health care and connecting with global health ministries.

A panel of United Methodist agency executives will discuss “Global Health in the Next Quadrennium and What it Means to You.” They are Rev. Gary Henderson, executive director of the Global Health Initiative; James Winkler, general secretary of the General Board of Church and Society; Barbara Boigegrain, general secretary of the General Board of Pension and Health Benefits; and Dr. Cherian Thomas, executive secretary of health and welfare at the General Board of Global Ministries. Raul Alegria, treasurer of the Southeastern Jurisdiction, will be the moderator.
“They will give us the perspective of their objectives and how we can help them achieve the goals of the denomination,” Magyar said.

Other plenary speakers and their topics are Bishop Mike Watson of the South Georgia Area, “Clergy and Congregational Health: Strengthening the Connection,” and Dr. James Early, director of Clinical Preventive Medicine at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, “How to Change Health Behaviors.”

Worship services will be led by Rev. Vance Ross, deputy general secretary for connectional relations and strategic initiatives at the General Board of Discipleship; Rev. Patty Myers, chair of the department of Christian vocations at Pfeiffer University; Rev. Embra Jackson, administrative assistant to Bishop Hope Morgan Ward of the Mississippi Conference; and Rev. Fred Smith, associate professor of urban ministry at Wesley Theological Seminary.

Workshops will be offered in four tracks: 
• Congregational health ministry will provide tools for planning, assessing and developing a health ministry team.
• Conference health ministry is designed for those who want to mobilize lay leadership, evaluate health ministry programs and develop faith collaborations.
• Parish Nurse & Health Advocate will provide a broad overview of topics including working with clergy, care for the caregiver, holistic health and networking.
• Servant Leadership: A Model for Self-Care will guide participants in assessing own health and in making self-care covenants for improvement.

For more details and registration, see and click on events and education, or contact Anne Green at  or (847) 866-4560. For questions about scholarships, contact Patricia Magyar at or (212) 870-3683.

Jim Truitt
Empowering Ministries of Health