Wellness Ministries Toolkit
– Section 3 –
Exemplars of Wellness Ministries Activities
The exemplars below provide excellent examples and resource information shared by those actively involved in developing and sustaining diverse Wellness Ministries programs. Each of us was called to this ministry and then aided in our development by patient mentors. We continue the process by offering that support to you and sharing what our experiences have taught us.
If this is your first time using this resource directory, we recommend you read the user guide. Exemplars below are listed with the most recent submissions at the top. Use the search fields below to find specific types of exemplars.
I am looking for…
Blood Pressure Connections
When a member of the congregation shared that she was concerned about her high blood pressure the Wellness Ministries Team explored offering blood pressure screenings several times a month. High blood pressure, also labeled hypertension, affects nearly half of the adult population in the in the United States.
Walk to Jerusalem / Walk to Bethlehem
When a Wellness Ministries Team explored ways to engage congregants in fellowship and a health promotion activity, they learned of Walk to Jerusalem, a program designed to engage individuals of all ages in walking to meet a common goal. Non-walkers earned miles through Bible study and reading. During Lent, reports of the miles walked were charted on a bulletin board to show the progress towards reaching the destination of Jerusalem before Easter.
The Clothesline Project – The Reality of Domestic Violence
When the community experienced a rise in domestic violence, several churches and support services came together to establish a local Clothesline Project that made visible the pain and suffering of victims and their loved ones and identified where safety and support could be found.
When a lay leader suffered a stroke and could not resume her level of physical activity within the congregation, she collaborated in creating a meaningful new way of being part of a caring community.
Ensuring All Feel Welcome and Safe at Coffee Hour
When some church members avoided fellowship activities because they did not feel safe, a plan was developed to inform the congregation about the severe risks some foods pose to children and adults. This awakened the congregation to be more welcoming by identifying the food and beverage ingredients so all could make safe choices.
Delivery of Meals to Members/Friends of the Congregation
When a person in the congregation becomes ill, friends often share gifts of food. Unfortunately, this individualized response is often unevenly spread across the congregation. An organized response was able to provide for more families in a helpful timeframe and deliver diet appropriate foods along with thoughts and prayers.
Understanding Mental Illness and Suicide Prevention
When a teenager who had attended a program for the Youth Group about suicide prevention realized that a friend was expressing suicidal thoughts, she acted immediately and saved a life.
Observing Our 1st Mental Health Sunday
When a Wellness Ministries Team decided to have a worship service focused on mental health it used the Mental Health Worship Resource Guide developed by the UCC Mental Health Network for ideas. During Coffee Hour, educational materials were shared. Prayers for the people now include issues of mental and physical health. The discussion of mental health and mental illness has become more normalized.
When an older woman new to the community and the congregation shared that she would like to meet a person who was also interested in the Arts, the idea for Caring Companions was born. An announcement of the program led to the creation of dyads of companions who then planned their activities for the one-year commitment. All expressed what a blessing it had been to develop a unique, mutual relationship with another person in the congregation.
Becoming a W.I.S.E. Congregation for Mental Health
When a disparaging comment about a person with mental illness was overheard, a dialogue with the speaker identified the topics for a series of educational programs that would broaden the understanding and compassion of all congregants.
Walking a Chartes Design Labyrinth
When a labyrinth was offered for use in the church, the concept of walking while meditating and praying was introduced to the congregation. During Holy Week and on other occasions, individuals of all ages quieted their minds as they walked and became receptive to considering what came to mind.
Teddy Bears in Church
When a first responder shared her experience of trying to comfort a child during a crisis, the idea for collecting and donating stuffed animals was born. After a month of attending worship, the Teddy Bears in Church were shared with police departments, fire stations, hospital emergency rooms, and other locations where they might bring comfort.
Supporting a Person Receiving Hospice Care at Home
When Sarah wanted to be discharged from in-patient hospice care to home-care hospice, members of her church family made it possible for her to die at home looking at her flower garden.
Providing a Service of Hope and Healing
When a request was made for a worship service that offered hope and healing, a late afternoon service, candle lit Healing Vespers, was developed that met the desire for a time of contemplative music, prayer, and meditation.
Knitting for a Purpose – Prayer Shawl Ministry of Sharing
When a knitter learned about a prayer shawl knitting group in another church, she offered to start one. A donation bought the first supplies, and a Thursday 10 am to 12 pm Prayer Shawl ministry was started. More than 20 years later, a sense of common purpose and fellowship has sustained this ministry. More than 800 prayer shawls have brought comfort to relatives, friends, hospitalized veterans, and high school graduates stepping into the next stage of life.
A Church Family Thanksgiving Dinner
When a couple shared that their adult child and her family would be traveling and they would now be alone for Thanksgiving Dinner, a Church Family Thanksgiving Dinner tradition was started.