In less than six minutes, a new video captures the essence of the unscripted testimonials offered by participants at the recent KCC annual assembly. Participants were given the opportunity to be filmed speaking from the heart about the connections of faith and health and advocacy. You can access the video on YouTube at this link.
The Council is offering to come to gatherings of churches to continue the conversation. What have we learned together in the past five years of advocating more attention to health -- the health of clergy, the role of churches in health of communities, and the public policies of the state of Kentucky? What should we do together next? Please contact us if you are interested in hosting such a presentation and conversation!
Christian outreach in the health area begins with compassion. Like the friends who lowered a man through the roof to reach Jesus for healing, we want to "go the distance" for people we care about. At times this can mean working hard to change policies, whether those are policies of health boards, clinics and hospitals, insurance companies, or government programs. Here are some of the ways the churches do this together through the Kentucky Council of Churches:
Work with partners: Many organizations come together in Kentucky Voices for Health (KVH). See the link under Health Ministries Resources Partners along with other helpful links in the upper right of this page. Because of coalition work, we can find you an expert on policies affecting many aspects of health.
Work on access: Everyone should have access to health care. But access is affected by costs, schedules, availability of insurance, and availability of care providers.
At the grassroots level, we try to encourage every congregation to get involved with health ministries and we can network you with successful models of what that can look like!
At the state-wide level, we are working to remove the waiting period for Kentucky-provided children's health insurance "KCHIP", and the waiting period for Medicaid coverage for legally residing immigrants. We are asking the governor and state legislators to give serious positive consideration to opting in to expansion of eligibility for Medicaid offered under the Affordable Care Act.
Work on habits: We can all take more responsibility for how our behavior affect ourselves and others. Among the ways we address this basic idea, two stand out:
A smoke-free environment would go a very long way to improving the health of Kentuckians. People smoke less when cigarettes cost more and when smoking is not allowed in workplaces, and so we have advocated tax increases and smoke-free policies.
Healthier clergy can set good examples and lead the way to healthier practices in churches. And so we created a clergy peer learning group program focused on "health and hospitality".
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God bless you!