Cooranbong, New South Wales
More than 250 people gathered together at Avondale College of Higher Education in Cooranbong (NSW) for the biennial Complete Health Improvement Program (CHIP) Summit from February 12-16.
Everywhere I go, they all say the same thing: ‘If only I knew about [CHIP] sooner’.
The event was the first Australian Summit since the new CHIP program was launched two years ago following a substantial investment by the South Pacific Division and Sanitarium Health and Wellbeing Company.
Participants travelled from as far as England and the United States to attend the event, which also featured facilitator’s training for CHIP and the Depression Recovery Program.
Adventist physician and Depression Recovery Program founder Dr Neil Nedley spoke on the importance of “self control” at the CHIP Summit on Sabbath afternoon. [Photo courtesy: Linden Chuang]
Featured speakers at the Summit included Dr Neil Nedley, founder of the Depression Recovery Program, Pastor Don McIntosh, health evangelism specialist from California (US), and dietician, nutritionist and internationally acclaimed speaker Brenda Davis.
CHIP founder Dr Hans Diehl and Avondale College senior lecturer Dr Darren Morton also presented during the event. The summit was hosted and organised by Dr Paul Rankin, CHIP in Churches Program director for the South Pacific Division.
“The spirit and enthusiasm of those at the Summit was amazing, I was really delighted with the way everything went,” said Dr Rankin. “God really blessed. There were some moments that you just couldn’t manufacture.”
One of those moments came on Sabbath morning when Sister Pat Quinn—the Catholic nun turned CHIP evangelist—was presented with an award for her dedication to sharing CHIP with communities around Toowoomba (Qld).
Sister Pat described herself as “75 going on 50” after losing more than 40 kilograms “and all the pain that was ever in my body” through the lifestyle education program. During the Summit, she encouraged attendees to not hesitate in sharing the life-changing message of CHIP with their friends and neighbours.
“Everywhere I go, they all say the same thing: ‘If only I knew about it sooner’,” she said.
“That was a really special moment,” said Dr Rankin on presenting Sister Pat her award. “To see Sister Pat become a CHIP evangelist is really inspiring, and demonstrates the power of the program to build bridges into the community.”
Dr Paul Rankin presents Sister Pat Quinn with her award. The Catholic nun turned CHIP evangelist received a standing ovation from Summit attendees for her dedication to the program.
A number of other testimonies of the impact of CHIP were shared on Sabbath morning. The program has already seen great success in several remote Aboriginal communities. CHIP leaders are also working with Adventist Development and Relief Agency on a new “illiterate” version of the program for communities in developing countries.
Despite the success of program over the past two years, CHIP leaders believe the program has only just begun to hit its “world-changing” potential.
The rate of chronic diseases of lifestyle* is steadily increasing worldwide, which means lifestyle medicine has taken on a greater significance.
“We now have convincing evidence that many of the chronic lifestyle diseases can not only be prevented [through lifestyle medicine], but also arrested and often reversed,” says Dr Diehl.
The CHIP founder also said the Seventh-day Adventist Church, with its message of wholistic health, has the potential to be the “leader” in lifestyle medicine “if we are serious about it”.
Speaking on the Friday night of the Summit, Dr Morton said Adventists have “the privilege of being custodians of a real unique and distinctive message”.
“I’m passionate to see church members capture this vision,” he added. “Lifestyle medicine is the new frontier of healthcare. It will change the world.”
Avondale College’s Ladies Chapel was filled to capacity during the Summit.
For more information about CHIP, please visit <www.chiphealth.org.au>.
* Chronic diseases of lifestyle (CDL) are a group of diseases that share similar risk factors because of exposure, over many decades, to unhealthy diets, smoking, lack of exercise, and possibly stress. <http://www.mrc.ac.za/chronic/overview.htm>