Press Release: GBPHB Center for Health and UMCOR Health Launch UMC Health Ministry Network

For Immediate Release
April 17, 2012

Contact: M. Colette Nies, Managing Director, Communications
(847) 866-4296 or

Glenview, IL—The General Board of Pension and Health Benefits’ Center for Health today announced the launch of the UMC Health Ministry Network—a joint collaboration with the General Board of Global Ministries’ UMCOR Health. The network is dedicated to helping build health ministry initiatives across the United Methodist denomination. It is an outcome of the two agencies’ focus on clergy and congregational health and efforts to promote vital mission and ministry.

This collaboration will expand the current UMC Parish/Faith Community Nurse and Health Advocate Network by providing publications and resources, basic information (i.e., toolkit, articles, assessments, etc.) and events. The network emphasizes a wholistic* approach to health across the connection (clergy, congregations and communities); encouraging personal stewardship of body, mind and spirit.

“UMCOR Health is a perfect partner for the Center for Health on this important health initiative. The UMC Health Ministry Network has the potential to advance healthy behaviors and attitudes across the denomination,” said Barbara Boigegrain, General Board of Pension and Health Benefits’ chief executive. “Our work together will improve the health of clergy and lay workers, which is essential to maintaining the strength, vitality and reach of the Church’s mission and ministry.”

“This is an opportunity to serve parish nurses and health advocates who are essential for successful health ministry, and it can help us connect with those interested in health ministry across the denomination. The UMC Health Ministry Network will strengthen congregational and community health with the mission support that may be lacking today,” added Cynthia F. Harvey, deputy general secretary of UMCOR Health.

Please visit the UMC Health Ministry Network website for details on establishing health ministry initiatives in local congregations and communities.


About the Center for Health

The Center for Health seeks to improve multiple dimensions of health and well-being—physical, emotional, spiritual, social and financial—of clergy and lay workers of The United Methodist Church and their families. Center for Health offerings include strategic consultation and collaboration for plan sponsors, comprehensive programs, information and educational resources focusing on wholistic* health and wellness, long-term clergy health monitoring and assessments, and network coordination with other UMC agencies, seminaries and conferences. To learn more, visit the Center for Health website.

About UMCOR Health

UMCOR is part of the General Board of Global Ministries—the global mission agency of The United Methodist Church, its annual conferences, missionary conferences and local congregations. UMCOR works within and through communities to promote good health in the United States and abroad. Health should be attainable, accessible and sustainable—UMCOR Health programs work to make this goal a reality.

In the United States, UMCOR Health connects people to health resources and support networks. Key leaders to promote health ministry are the parish/faith community nurses and health advocates in the local congregation, and health ambassadors in the conference. Their primary goal is to promote healthy lifestyles, including proper nutrition and exercise to help decrease debilitating health risks, such as obesity, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. To learn more, visit the UMCOR Health website.

* Note: The “w” should be used with the word wholistic* when speaking of health ministry and parish/faith community nursing. The Rev. Dr. Granger Westberg first advocated the use of the term "wholistic" rather than "holistic," to more closely relate the term to wholeness and to avoid confusion with the term "holistic" that connotes non-religious alternative health care practices. The connotation of the “w” in this specialty practice is the Christian faith instead of the holistic without the “w,” which connotes no specific faith or belief.




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