Health visionaries making a difference

Carolyn Swanson



ST. PETERSBURG – Churches United for a Healthy Congregation (CUFHC), a program of the James B. Sanderlin Neighborhood Family Center, will answer Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s question of: “What are you doing for others?” by conducting workshops designed for health promoters, church health ambassadors and residents of the community, and by also conducting an outreach activity for their MLK Day of Service project.

The first event will take place Jan. 14, 2017, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Empath Health Services, 3050 31 St. S, St. Petersburg. In collaboration with Empath Health and St. Anthony’s Faith Community Nursing, CUFHC will give the hands on tools necessary to help congregations develop a health ministry vision that will make a difference.

“Our churches are full of sick people, our communities are full of sick people, our families are full of sick people.  Anytime we can make a difference we need to do what we can,” believes Carolyn Swanson, LCSW, who spent 40 years disseminating resources to the community at the Bay Pines VA and the last 11 years working with CUFHC to help set up and grow health ministries throughout Pinellas County.

The workshop, which is open to the public, will provide the resources and the networking required to be successful health visionaries. Imagination and wisdom not provided.

Speakers will address why it is important to have a vision for the ministry and how to turn that vision into a practical plan. Participants will be able to work in small groups to develop “vision boards” where strategies for health improvement through ministry can be mapped into a plan.

CUFHC has partnered with some 40 churches to improve the health of their congregations. Swanson acknowledges that the work CUFHC does is full of passion and compassion, and that churches are the epicenter of health— spiritually, mentally and physically.

On the actual day of service, CUFHC representatives will provide additional resources and outreach at the Sistahs Surviving Breast Cancer Family Wellness Festival held at Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist, 955 20th St. S, St. Petersburg.

The goal is to help people create a positive vision for maintaining health by giving out educational information, health magnets and Know Your Numbers wallet cards will be provided for the community. The magnets will have tips for healthy living such as “Get Moving,” “Maintain a Spiritual Balance” and “What You Eat Matters,” among others. The Know Your Numbers cards show the ranges to aim for blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose and BMI.

More information about resources for health ministry leaders and members of health ministry programs can be found at

Reservations for the workshop can be made by calling the Sanderlin Center at (727) 321-9444.

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