ELIA Wellness, an initiative of Adventist HealthCare in the South Pacific, is providing opportunities for church members to connect with their communities in a meaningful way through wellness hubs. ELIA is working with unions and conferences to establish 100 wellness hubs across Australia and New Zealand by 2025. The hubs will offer health activities, programs, and resources aimed at supporting people toward whole-person health.
Already up and running — and making a positive impact in their community — is a wellness hub at the Sydney Portuguese Seventh-day Adventist church.
“I’m passionate about health programs and finding different ways to serve my community,” Miriam da Silva, the church’s health ministry leader and an ELIA Wellness partner, said. “We started first with the ELIA Wellness ‘Live More Project’ and then the ‘De-Stress and Thrive’ programs to promote emotional wellness.
“We’ve had great feedback about the ELIA resources from our community members, saying they really enjoyed them. Especially during the pandemic when it was needed most, it was a great way to bring everyone together to the wellness hub.”
Kempsey Seventh-day Adventist Church in northern New South Wales is also in the process of establishing a wellness hub. ELIA Wellness partner Paul Wood believes it will be a great opportunity to reach the local community.
“As a local General Practitioner and lifestyle medicine physician, I’m really excited to see the tools being rolled out to equip people like myself to connect in a meaningful way with the patients in our community and take them on a journey to whole-person health,” Wood said.
ELIA Wellness was established in 2016 to promote the benefits of lifestyle medicine and whole-person health. In 2020, it was welcomed under the corporate umbrella of Adventist Healthcare and is a sister organization to the Sydney Adventist Hospital to also tackle chronic disease. Key programs include the “Live More Project,” “Enhance Your Gut Health,” “Forgive to Live,” and “Reduce Your Risk of Cancer.” In July, a new spiritual wellness program is being added: “Empowered and Purposeful Living.’’
The organization’s executive director, Geraldine Przybylko, said nine out of ten deaths in Australia and New Zealand are due to lifestyle diseases that can be largely prevented and managed by better lifestyle choices.
“ELIA Wellness’s mission is to empower people to health, healing, and hope. We do this because we care about the community,” Przybylko said.
According to organization leaders, ELIA’s core health ministry initiatives seek to develop whole-person-health clinical and community programs in conjunction with leading health professionals. They also seek to support people by making health content accessible through its digital platform and media and empower members of local wellness hubs to engage with their communities through whole-person health. Finally, they strive to find ways of launching a new lifestyle medicine center that will be a blueprint for other locations, leaders said.