Health expo brings people to church

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Expo volunteer Leonie Benigno giving a massage outside Wahroonga church on Sunday afternoon.

Members of Wahroonga Seventh-day Adventist Church conducted a successful community health outreach on Sunday (December 9), coinciding with this year’s Sydney Adventist Hospital carols.

Recognising the popularity of the carols—which bring hundreds of people past the church’s front door every year—members decided this was as an ideal opportunity to hold a health expo based on the NEWSTART model (nutrition, exercise, water, sunlight, temperance, air, rest and trust).

After filling out a health questionnaire, participants had their height, weight, lung capacity and blood pressure measured, before doing a three-minute step-up exercise and having their recovery heart rate tested. They also received a short massage. Data from the questionnaire was entered into a computer program, which calculated the participant’s health age and what that age could be if they improved some areas in their life. A health professional gave a consultation based on the results.

Participants received a showbag with handouts from each testing station, a water bottle and an apple. They were also invited to a program in February featuring Australasian Research Institute CEO Dr Ross Grant speaking on the topic, “How does lifestyle affect your learning?”

The San carols provided an ideal opportunity for the Wahroonga church outreach.

Doedie Fatt, one of the expo organisers, said they had 49 participants along with many more inquiries about what they were doing.

“The aim was to reach the community and let them see who we are and what we can do for them,” Mrs Fatt said. “We also have [created] a database to invite [the participants] to programs that they have expressed interest in attending.”

While the health expo was taking place outside the church, the sanctuary was open so that people could go inside and have a look around, and there was an opportunity to pray with a pastor.

“We had about 10 families want to come and just look inside the church,” Mrs Fatt said. “One comment from a family was that they drive past all the time and always wondered what it looked like inside. Another comment was ‘My daughter always imagined it to be a castle where a princess lived and now we can see what it looks like.’ Another family walked right to the front of the church and the children went and touched the Christmas tree and smelled the fresh flowers. They took a church bulletin with the Happy Hands [weekly children’s program] details in it for next year for their daughter.”

Mrs Fatt gave thanks to the 34 volunteers involved in running the expo, including members of Waitara church, which also helped with the loan of some equipment for the event.

“At this stage we don’t know when we will run another expo, but we are looking at potentially some local markets and other community events,” Mrs Fatt said.