As God’s called children, we are offered the most important commandment from Jesus, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength… and love your neighbor as yourself” (Mark 12:30-31). To live out this call and obey the commandment, we must make a sincere inventory of our lives: mind, body and spirit. From the beginning God taught us in Genesis that we are both body and spirit. We often separate the two, which God meant to be together. If we are not taking care of all aspects of our health, then we cannot truly serve God to our full potential. God loves us completely and cares about all aspects of our lives. When one part is out of balance, it impacts the rest of our lives.
God established a foundation and framework of healthy living from the dawning of creation. Jesus further demonstrated a balanced and whole life as he walked, ate and lived with his disciples. As United Methodists we are rooted in this tradition and must claim those roots again to be a healthy denomination for generations to come. Vibrant ministry in the Wesleyan tradition springs from vibrant clergy health and cannot exist without it. Wesley stressed holistic health and balance throughout his ministry.
Leading and sustaining a vital church ministry is an increasing challenge. It requires the integration of all our faculties to meet the changing demands of mission and ministry in this changing world. The West Ohio Conference desires healthy pastors, lay people, families and congregations.
The West Ohio Conference will be providing multiple opportunities in the future to help our conference leaders negotiate a healthy and balanced life. Our hope is to have an integrated approach to wellness. Then we can serve as a healthy body of Christ called to transform the world with God’s love. Please watch for ways to learn and grow with us as we take this journey of health together as a conference. Wellness and health will look different to each of us, but the important part is that you join the journey to find a healthier you.
One step toward us becoming a healthier conference is a program that was launched on April 1, 2014. Active clergy and others on the Conference health insurance plan have already begun receiving more information on an initiative called Virgin Pulse. Virgin Pulse is a denomination-sponsored walking and fitness tracking program that encourages a more active lifestyle, leading to improved health. A week ago I clipped on “Max” to my belt and I do so every morning. The results at the end of each day can be very telling. I am excited about this tool that helps me see each day how much I am sitting and how much I am moving. We hope you will join us on this first step to becoming a healthier West Ohio Conference one step at a time. Stepping into a healthier future I am
Yours in Christ Jesus,
+Bishop Gregory V. Palmer
Resident Bishop, Ohio West Area