Seven New Brunswick houses of worship and the pastoral care office of RWJ University Hospital are in the planning phase of drafting wellness policies that will orient their approach to food preparation and physical activity for church events and programs and outreach activities.
The churches previously participated in Faith, Body & Soul, an initiative with multiple phases of wellness education and fitness challenges. That three-year project ended in February and now each church wants to build a sustainable infrastructure that will ensure continued emphasis on wellness regardless of changes in leadership or programs.
Jaymie Santiago, project manager of New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids-New Brunswick, is working with the churches to develop the wellness policies. “A wellness policy is the key step in creating the infrastructure that will enable health and wellness to thrive and continue. Each house of worship has informal policies in place that we need to gather, review and formalize, working with lay leadership, boards and committees,” said Santiago.
“The value in having eight interested organizations is that we can draw upon each other’s success, yet the policies will be culturally sensitive and relevant to each house of worship,” Santiago observed.
The houses of worship engaged in developing wellness policies include: Ebenezer Baptist Church, Mt. Zion AME Church, New Brunswick Seven Day Adventist Church, Sacred Heart Church, Second Reformed Church, Sharon Baptist Church, Suydam Street Reformed Church, and RWJ University Hospital – Pastoral Care.