Churches stressing health and fitness

Wellness churches
Larry Swain, a Pittsburgh minister, is happy that he’s lost more than 50 pounds in a year and a half. He credits several factors, especially wanting very much to wear a smaller tuxedo at his daughter’s wedding. A doctor’s visit also showed his cholesterol and blood pressure were at unhealthy levels.

It didn’t hurt to hear a pointed question from a guest speaker at his Pittsburgh Baptist Association meeting. “He asked me, ‘Larry what are you doing to take care of yourself?”’ recalled Swain, executive minister of the association.

Spurred to slim down, Swain received a $300 “wellness grant” from the American Baptist Churches USA, which has asked its clergy to take better care of themselves. Some other denominations sponsor fitness walks or runs during their conventions. Books like Body by God have been best sellers.


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