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Four programs generate new life for health initiative

Four programs generate new life for health initiative

The cycle 3 recipients of the Women of the ELCA health initiative Raising Up Healthy Women and Girls seed grants—Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Women of the ELCA, Raleigh, N.C.; Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church Women of the ELCA, Watertown, Iowa; St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church Women, Jacksonville, Fla.; and St. Peter Lutheran Church Women of the ELCA, Leonard, N.D.—will collectively touch the lives of more than 500 women and girls through their programs.

At first glance the program plans appear to be much like previous years: exercise classes, retreats and health fairs. With each cycle, however, comes new, thoughtful and creative ways to continue the efforts of raising the emotional, spiritual and physical wellbeing of women and girls.

Holy Trinity Women described their program as combining the healing power of prayer for the mind and soul with the healing powers of yoga for the body. Definitely not yoga at the mall, Prayer in Motion receives prayer requests from the congregation and the participants use these petitions as their prayer focus. 

Immanuel Women of the ELCA have taken TAFFY making to another level. Teaching About Food and Fitness for Youth involves mostly middle school girls, their moms and many women that use the church’s food pantry in making simplified meals, especially from the foods they choose from the pantry. The goal is to create a cookbook.

St. John’s Women have an ongoing program called Girl Talk which provides space for women and girls to talk and encourage one another. Expanding the space, they hosted a spiritual retreat Come to the Well with the theme “Addicted to Hurry?” which included workshops, time for relaxation and connecting with self and God through nature.

One of the leaders sent a Facebook note, “Thanking you again before I go to the woods tomorrow!!!!!! The funding really allowed us to attract folk who wouldn't have been able to go. We will have a good mix. From what I see— Black and white folk, young and old, gay and straight and folks we know and don't know. Traveling from north GA, and south from Tampa (describing SWO territory). And they ain't all Lutheran!!!

St. Peter Women of the ELCA are offering women Fit Moms for Life. FMFL meets weekly because of the high rate of obesity, diabetes and heart disease in the area. From this program they will host their first health and wellness fair (more than the basic health fair) to promote and demonstrate that exercise and good nutrition are fun.

The success of these programs is in the synergy that created them. The goal of the seed grants program is to assist congregational units in expanding or creating a new effort that they could not do alone and that will continue to raise up healthy women and girls once started.

Applications for seed grants being accepted now

Now is the perfect time to think about how you can involve women and girls in the health initiative. The deadline for cycle 4 is December 15, 2013. If 2014 is not your year for a new project consider financially supporting this program of the health initiative or participating in our Triennial Run, Walk and Roll by signing on to collect pledges. These seeds (and our global seed grant program Healthy Women, Healthy Girls) are small but the harvest is phenomenal.