Living Hope Church has a long history of leading East Trenton residents on a spiritual journey to health and happiness. Pastor Lucy Guzman has served on the New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-Trenton (NJPHK-T) steering committee since our inception in 2010. There was never a doubt that she would be a strong champion for the faith-based initiatives that are being funded by ShapingNJ. In addition to motivating her own congregants, Pastor Lucy is drafting a model wellness policy that she will with share the other four participating churches. Below, she shares her personal story of the integral role physical wellness plays in the creation of a healthy community church:
Shannon (Network Assistant for NJPHK-T):
Why is church wellness important? Can you provide an example or story from your experience as a pastor?
Pastor Lucy (Living Hope Church, 401 Farragut Avenue Trenton, NJ 08829):
Church wellness is important because our heavenly Father is not just concerned about our spiritual condition. He cares about our mind, body and soul.
When we arrived to Trenton, two women in our church recognized that their lives had become unmanageable due to their uncontrollable overeating. We began a walking group, and then used exercise DVDs and now we do 45 minutes of Zumba. We began with classes on healthy food plans, but now we learn how to cook healthy recipes and about 25 of us have dinner together while we listen to a speaker on a topic of interest for women.
Most helpful were our motivational Bible studies reminding us that we are God’s creation and that we are commanded to be good stewards of His creation. The Bible teaches that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and that we are to keep it holy.
Two women in particular have remained constant in their commitment. One lost 100 lbs and the other went from 254 to her current weight of 162 for a total loss of 92 lbs. Both have kept the weight off.
What are some of the things you’re learning as you draft the Faith-Based Wellness Policy?
I am pleasantly surprised that people are not complaining about the fact that we stopped serving donuts and soda as part of our Sunday after church refreshments.
Shannon: How will having a wellness policy impact the lives the of your church members?
People are realizing that wellness is not just adhering to a temporary diet but a willingness to make a lifestyle change. It involves healthy foods in moderate quantities, exercise and active living, and getting regular health screenings.
Pastor Lucy’s holistic ministry is an important part of building a healthier Trenton. To read more about her personal health journey, visit her bio.