In a small room down the hall in the Greater Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church, Johnny J. Hollis Jr., of Montgomery, joined about two dozen people as they listened one recent afternoon to Donald Solomon rattle off ailments ravaging African-American communities.
“We’re a sick crowd … Whatever is wrong in the country, we have it worse. We need to get health into the church,” said Solomon, a founder of Congregations for Public Health and co-author of Body and Soul, a healthy living guide for church leaders.
For four days in late July, pastors, deacons and folks running church kitchens and health ministries gathered in the Birmingham church to discuss a range of issues, including health concerns disproportionately affecting African Americans in their congregations and communities.
The conference sponsored by the Alabama Baptist State Congress of Christian Education drew hundreds, including Hollis, from across the state.
It was one of several efforts nationwide aimed at helping close the health gap between blacks and whites. In other places, barbers are checking customer’s blood pressures, local corner stores are stocking shelves with fresh produce and some preachers are even banning fried chicken from Sunday church dinners. (USA Today)