Abundant Health continues to be initiative of Oregon-Idaho Conference beyond staffing

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For the last two years, Rev. Marshall Wattman-Turner has been helping churches make great strides toward better physical, mental, spiritual and emotional well-being as the Oregon-Idaho Conference’s Abundant Health Coordinator.

The grant, which funded his part-time position for the past two years has expired, and Wattman-Turner will return to local church ministry in Milwaukie in July. But that doesn’t mean the Abundant Health Ministry will come to a screeching halt – or halt at all.

“I believe it matters now more than ever,” said Wattman-Turner. “It’s a difficult time for everyone around the world and in our churches.”

Mashall Wattman-Turner

One of Wattman-Turner’s proudest accomplishments was developing an abundant health team that is comprised mostly of laity serving in their local church communities. It will be up to that team to discern how to move forward with the Abundant Health work in a volunteer capacity.

“Working with Marshall has taught me more patience and grace,” said Emilie Kroen, Abundant Health team coordinator. “We still have dreams of things we’d like to accomplish.”

Kroen was especially pleased with the work Wattman-Turner did on addressing mental and emotional health in his time. She hopes they can build on the momentum he’s created and develop more of a resource center for local churches and connecting churches more to one another in their work.

Wattman-Turner has been busy the last few months working collaboratively with the Greater Northwest Area disaster response team to put together resources on coping with the stress, anxiety and grief that comes with the coronavirus.

He helped Kroen and other lay leaders put together two workshops, which people can still sign up for next week, to discuss the underlying issues, and self-care, that must be tended to while also serving vulnerable people in churches and communities.

“It’s highly relational and highly collaborative work,” Wattman-Turner said.

In addition to recent events, Wattman-Turner has helped to create a network of 60 churches in the Oregon-Idaho Conference committed to Abundant Health – meaning they are engaged in some sort of work in their churches to address the physical, emotional, spiritual and mental health needs of people in their congregation and community.

Members of the Abundant Health team come from mostly rural churches, and six of the seven members of the team are laity. The team has developed training resources, and also works with local churches doing unique Abundant Health ministries to amplify their work in other communities.

“I think a lot has been accomplished,” Wattman-Turner said.

For those who may have questions from the Abundant Health team, volunteers can be reached at abundanthealth@umoi.org.

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