Launching Pray Healthy Lynchburg

Lynchburg, VA - The Live Healthy Lynchburg campaign has been a success in the office and the classroom. But, the campaign isn't stopping there. Now, it's taking on the churches. It's called Pray Healthy Lynchburg.

According to the Lynchburg Health Department, 40% of the Hill City has a home church - that's a lot of people to get in shape. And, at least one pastor in Lynchburg is all for Pray Healthy Lynchburg.

Pastor Glen Land would love to get Rivermont Avenue Baptist Church healthier. But, jokes that he should start with himself.

"If it wasn't for mowing the grass once a week, the hardest work I do is carrying a briefcase to and from the office," said Land.

Ruth Syre is the woman who wants to get Pastor Land and all Lynchburg churches on a healthier track with Pray Healthy Lynchburg.

"It's kind of taking Live Healthy Lynchburg and expanding it and giving faith communities a place, saying this is where you fit, inviting them to come join us in this great energy we have going in this community to make us all healthier," said Syre, Congregational Health Coordinator, Centra.

Pray Healthy is in its infancy. But, here's the plan: Give churches a checklist of healthier habits, everything from take the church stairs instead of the elevator to make your church tobacco free. Syre says they're small suggestions with big results.

"One of the churches I work with in my program, they had a coffee and donut session in between Sunday School and worship. And they changed to granola, fruit and yogurt," said Syre.

Rivermont Avenue Baptist already has some healthy habits. Healthy literature lines the hallways. But, preaching healthier habits from the pulpit is easier said than done. Gluttony isn't an easy sin to talk about. But, Land says should happen.

"Do it in a way that says to people: Ya know, it's alright to admit that you're struggling with this," said Land.

"Sometimes it's hard for clergy to get up and say, 'This is what we should do.' And so it's up to all of us to walk the walk, as well as talk the talk, so we can all model the healthier behaviors we can," said Syre.

The Pray Healthy Committee is planning to gather the churches in November. And hopes to kick off Pray Healthy Lynchburg at the start of the new year.