When you climb to the top of a mountain, you do so to gain more than a spectacular view. It is about the hope of coming away positively transformed by the journey. And what a spiritual journey it was for the 150 people who gathered this fall at the SDACC’s Hope and Wholeness Health Summit in Pugwash, N.S.! The summit began with a fast climb to a mountaintop experience in Christ Jesus with a powerful prayer session asking God for His vision for health ministries and His church. We had inspiring messages from Dr. Angeline David, the NAD Health Ministry director; Stephanie Schwarz, the SDACC Health Ministries coordinator (Maritime Conference); and our other conference health ministry directors, Ern Brake, Darlene Blaney, Glenda Nischuk, Elisa Osbourne, and Maria McClean.
Distinct to the summit was the highly spiritual culture it engendered. It was a weekend of much introspection and prayerful reflection. It was common to see folks huddled together with heads bowed in prayer.
The summit provided certification opportunities in depression and anxiety recovery, mental health first aid, and addictions recovery. Workshops were given on wellness coaching, health expos, establishing sustainable health ministries, and conducting in-home health retreats. Attendees also learned of Diabetes Undone, a diabetes reversal and management program.
The question-and-answer session and open-forum discussions allowed lay people to share ideas, concerns, and field questions to a panel made up of the summit’s speakers and provincial health directors. Among the many topics covered by 23 speakers were Reaching Refugees, Christ and Cancer, Living the Anti-Inflammatory Lifestyle, Journeying to Wholeness, and Unlocking Your Heart. Guest presenters included Dr. Neil Nedley of Nedley Health Solutions; Dr. Eddie Ramirez, the director of research at the Nedley Clinic and Weimar Institute; Drs. Beverly and David Sedlacek of Into His Rest Ministries; Pekka Määttänen, a professor at Burman University; Jon Betlinski, MD, Director Division of Public Psychiatry; Frank Kelemen, M.Sc. biology; Breck Lang, M.Sc., RN; Angela Poch, CN, health coach; and Johnathan Zita, the director of Lifestyle Education Canada.
While minds were expanded and the spiritual experiences deepened, the physical was in no way neglected! Attendees were well nourished with a wide variety of succulent plant-based meals. In addition, there were morning exercise sessions and free chair massages to enjoy. They were even treated to a “Make and Take” spa where they made their own natural charcoal teeth whiteners, bath salts, nasal inhalers, and face masks on the spot! Sunday they attended a cooking class by Bonny Musgrave, an assistant professor in the Vegetarian Culinary Arts department at Southern Adventist University. And then they ran their meal off in the five-kilometre run/walk charity event that was organized to raise awareness about human trafficking.
Between the singing toddler evangelist, who reminded us that there’s hope in Jesus who loves you, and the divine-hour message, which made it clear that we can be “doing” many things for God but missing the point that Jesus really wants our whole heart and to be our Saviour and best friend, you couldn’t leave the summit without the hope and wholeness you had come for!
-Elisa Osbourne, Health Ministries Coordinator, Quebec Conference