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NC Council of Churches – Partners in Health and Wholeness
The NC Council of Churches is a statewide nonprofit that brings together people of faith around issues of Christian unity and social justice. The Council has 18 denominational members which represent approximately 6,200 congregations and 1.5 million individuals across the state. The Council’s programs focus on immigration and farmworker rights, environmental stewardship, and clergy and congregant health.
In April of 2009, the Council created its own health initiative called Partners in Health and Wholeness (PHW). The purpose of PHW is to promote health as a practice of our faith and to improve the health of clergy and congregants through increased physical activity, healthy eating and tobacco use prevention and cessation. Since so many public health programs already exist to address these important issues, PHW works to connect congregations with existing resources in their community – e.g., Cooperative Extension, local health departments, and other organizations like the American Heart Association.
To date, PHW has certified more than 250 congregations across 63 counties related to their health-related efforts; awarded more than $100,000 in mini-grants to help places of worship expand their health ministries; provided 228 free AEDs (Automated External Defibrillators) and more than 1,000 hours of free CPR training to congregations across 93 counties (and counting!); held regional meetings with people of faith, helping to draw the connection between their health and their faith; and PHW will soon launch a new breastfeeding initiative in Wake County. Please stay tuned!
None of PHW’s work would be possible without the support of their faith and health partners across the state. PHW is funded by the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation as well as the John Rex Endowment. Willona Stallings serves as the PHW Program Coordinator; Joy Williams is PHW Regional Consultant for Anson, Bladen, Columbus, Cumberland, Montgomery, Richmond, Robeson and Scotland counties; Shannon Axtell Martin covers Davidson, Davie, Forsyth, Guilford, Randolph, Rockingham, Stokes and Surry counties; and Trinh Le assists with PHW’s free AED and CPR initiative.
To learn more or to get in touch with a member of PHW’s staff, please visit them online at: www.healthandwholeness.org