Coweeta Baptist Church, Franklin Covenant Church, Holly Springs Baptist Church, Iotla Baptist Church, and Watauga Baptist Church recently completed the Walk to Jerusalem program sponsored by Macon County Public Health.
The program emphasized physical, mental, and spiritual health by incorporating physical activity with mental and spiritual activities. One of the main goals for each church was to virtually walk the approximately 6,300 miles from Franklin to Jerusalem in a 12-week period from January to Easter.
Jennifer Hollifield, Health Promotions Coordinator with Macon County Public Health, established a health and wellness committee within each church to assist in promoting physical activity and healthier food choices in their church. According to Hollifield, the physical activity program was a huge success. When all the miles had been turned in by the four churches and 200 participants – more than 30,220 miles had been recorded during the 12-week period — enough to walk around the entire world.
Participants ranged in age from children to senior adults. There were individual efforts that were outstanding with many participants from all churches walking more than 300 miles during the 12 weeks. According to Wesley Price, Pastor of Watauga Baptist Church, “this type of program helps a congregation grow closer as they work together towards a goal. In addition, Walk to Jerusalem focuses on total health including physical, mental and spiritual health.”
Hollifield also recognized the participating churches with a certificate and thanked the health leader at each church: Davis Hooper (Coweeta Baptist Church); Lindsay Wright (Franklin Covenant Church); Jan Lee (Holly Springs Baptist Church) Diane Brendle (Watauga Baptist Church) and Carol Tippett (Iotla Baptist Church). Hollifield hopes that each person who participated was encouraged to continue their physical activity efforts even after the program ended. Staying physically active is something that most people can do – just ask any of the Walk to Jerusalem participants.
Programs like Walk to Jerusalem are funded by the state of North Carolina to provide health promotion projects in each county.
This is the fourth year that Macon County Public Health provided the church initiative as a way to encourage more physical activity and healthy menu options.