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IMG_0031TORRINGTON, CONN (SZS)As the year 2016 gets underway, we are mindful of the numerous ads and promotions aimed at health goals, body image, and self-help in an attempt to address those traditional New Year’s resolutions. As Lutherans, we have an additional opportunity to address our health and wholeness – be it spiritual, physical, emotional, or psychological.

As we set our sights on the beginning of Lent, we note that this is a time when people have traditionally “given something up” – such as bad habits; others use the time during Lent to “add something” – be it a spiritual discipline such as Bible study, prayer and/or meditation; recommitment to regular worship attendance and Christian service; or stewardship of our health through healthy lifestyle changes.

This year, Portico Benefit Services is inviting us to support a wellness reformation in our personal lives, congregations, and communities, by “creating a culture in our churches and organizations that supports healthy lifestyles.” That is, in addition to offering wellness dollars and an additional 1% discount in health premiums to ELCA plan members who take the health assessment by April 30, we are being challenged to make the kind of healthy, lasting lifestyle changes that create healthier leaders and a culture in our churches which supports a healthy lifestyle for all our members.

As Portico has so aptly put it: “Ministry is more demanding than ever, budgets are tighter than ever, and the cost of health coverage is higher than ever. In the ELCA, it’s critical that we pay attention to our health together, strengthen ourselves for ministry, and work in our congregations and organizations to create places of healthy culture. It’s time to put the “we” in wellness.”

So, let’s join together this Lent and become part of an on-going wellness reformation that lasts. Let’s strive for stronger leaders, healthier congregations, and communities which lead the way in stewarding all the gifts of physical, spiritual, emotional, and psychological life which God has given us!