Date of Award

5-1-2005

Degree Type

Dissertation

University or Center

Interdenominational Theology Center (ITC)

Degree Name

D.Min.

Abstract

The purpose of this project was to develop a Health Education program for the Black rural church that would serve to educate and inform the Black church on the health disparities facing a community and to provide programs that lead to healthier lifestyles. The project for this dissertation has three components:

1. Health Fair 2. Health Education Bible Study 3. Enrichment Challenge ( Personal Development of Holistic Healing)

Bellview African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), located in Aragon, Georgia, was the site of the project. The participants were composed of members of varying denominations in Aragon and Rockmart, Georgia, These communities are know for having "good" church and for their ethnic fellowship meals consisting of fried chicken, seasoned collard greens with "fat back," macaroni and cheese, candied yams, potato salad, hot-buttered cornbread, chocolate and caramel cake, and sweet tea. These meals, typically served during the church fellowship, are high in fat, cholesterol, sugar, and salt. A steady diet like this can lead to hypertension and heart disease further resulting in strokes, heart attacks, and eventual death. It was the purpose of this project to provide meaningful health-related educational intervention that would result in healthier lifestyles. The program presented embraces the concept of holistic health. It provided six elements of health intervention: spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social environmental, and physical intervention strategies.

The Health Fair model gave the participants the opportunity to check for high blood pressure, diabetes, body fat, and disorders of the feet. This provided the individuals with and awareness of various ailments. Small and large group discussions were held throughout the day. The health fair was a first step focused on eliminating the racial disparities in health in the Black rural church.

Te Bible Study model gave the participants an opportunity to study health education with and emphasis on good nutrition. It was a blend of faith and health. Personal development is important to individual growth, therefore, a program of personal development with emphasis on holistic healing was used as a reinforcement activity to strengthen the participant in the area of social, environmental, physical, spiritual and intellectual health. This model of holistic healing with a biblical foundation helped the participant to understand that all six methods of intervention are essential for total healthy growth.

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