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Give to the West Angeles Sponsorship Fund

ATTENTION, WEST ANGELES FAMILY: IT’S TIME TO GIVE!

 

April is West Angeles Sponsorship Month!  – We all know how challenging it can be to meet rising college expenses. To be a blessing to the West Angeles scholars who have qualified for a sponsorship, please give to the West Angeles Sponsorship Fund Organization (WASFO).

Last year, you gave over $83,000 to help deserving students achieve a quality education. Please feel free to mail your donations to the address below, or to pay online now, please click the image below. You can also use the yellow envelopes provided in the pews during our annual fundraising drive; however, tax-deductible donations are accepted on a continuous basis.

To give to the Sponsorship Fund, please make checks payable to:

WEST ANGELES CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST (in the memo area, please write “WASFO”).

Our West Angeles Church of God In Christ address is:

3045 Crenshaw Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90016. If you have additional questions, please contact the Office of Education and EnrichmentDeacon John Wilson, (323) 733-8300 x2628, or Le’Nese Burks, x2629 for further details.

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CLICK HERE TO GIVE!

The West Angeles Sponsorship Fund Organization (WASFO) was created to assist in furthering the development of our high school graduates and current college students, by way of providing sponsorship for their college education. Since its creation, WASFO has distributed over 200 scholarships to qualified applicants who are active members of West Angeles Church. Our youth and young adults are some of the brightest in the country and for this reason we want to help them succeed in their pursuit of higher learning, as we help to alleviate some of their financial pressures.

Visit WESTA.ORG for timely information and articles from our Office of Education and Enrichment.  For more information on financial aid, application deadlines and more, please click HERE to read more.

Celebrate The Resurrection: What Does Easter Mean To You?

Revelation 21:5 Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.

It’s Spring, the season of the Resurrection Celebration!  Each year at this time, we celebrate the miracle of Jesus’ Resurrection and the phenomenon of God’s miraculous power of rebirth.  This spirit is also reflected in nature and throughout the earth: dark, cold, rainy days give way to light, warmth, and longer periods of sun; plants, shriveled and dormant throughout the winter months, are now reborn with new, tender blooms; animals emerge from hibernation to introduce new young to the world.

The Easter Season symbolizes hope and rejuvenation, and it also magnifies the resilience of the human spirit.  It’s humankind’s call to renew its strength (Isaiah 40:28-31); to celebrate freedom from physical, emotional, and spiritual slavery (Galatians 5:1; Hebrews 12:12-15); to reaffirm a personal connection to God’s amazing universe and power (Ephesians 1:17-20).   As our Presiding Bishop Blake would say, “That same power that brought Jesus back from the dead, also resides in us!”

In the spirit of this glorious season, tell us: What does Easter mean to you? Does it represent tradition?  Does it conjure a memory?  Or does Jesus’ Resurrection inspire you to create a path to something new in your life?  Shine your light on the world by sharing your reflections with us on social media.  The West Angeles family would love to hear from you!

Everything You Need to Know About Resurrection Sunday at West A! Please join us!

Inspiration: You Can Make A Difference

If  you were told that you could end a war, would you believe it?  If you were told that you could save the world from hatred, hurt and pain, or that you are the cure to the cancer that’s spreading throughout our society, would you doubt it? It’s overwhelming for us to believe that we, alone, can make a difference in solving the issues that seem so massive today. However, it only takes one person with the compassion and vision to heal a particular pain in our world to stand up and do so…

The rest will follow.


WHAT ONE PERSON CAN DO

I am reminded of Esther, who saved her people, the Jews, from slaughter; and the young shepherd boy, David, who slayed a giant all on his own. The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. saw the need for economic equality; to free the poor and disenfranchised from discrimination, and from oppression and repression by the wealthy. Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake saw the need to create a ministry which helped children orphaned by AIDS in Africa. Save Africa’s Children created much needed support for more than 100,000 children in over 23 African nations; now, Bishop Blake has set his sights on building an economic and educational legacy here at home to empower the generations to come.

Every revolution begins with a single person deciding to make a stand. 

Proverbs 29:18 (KJV) says, “Where there is no vision, the people perish”, but he who keeps the law is happy. The pattern in the word is that each battle and triumph begins with one person: and you can be that person. This does not mean you have to join every battle, but rather, pursue that calling which touches your heart most. That is the ministry that God has placed on your heart to help others, and to take each step one day at a time towards change.  You may begin alone, but I guarantee that God will not let you fight the entire battle by yourself. He will put like-minded people in your path, and together, as a mighty team in the name of Jesus, we can empower God’s people, build His Kingdom on earth, and make the world a better place.

“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men,  knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” – Colossians 3:23-24 (NKJV)

Hear William McDowell perform the beautiful hymn, “I Give Myself Away” below:

Bishop Blake: A Prayer Agenda for Fathers

“We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please Him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” – Colossians 1:9-10

West Angeles Church of God In Christ takes a look back to Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake’s sermon dedicated to fathers, titled, “Paul’s Prayer Agenda for Fathers.”

Highlights from the sermon follow:

“One great stock brokerage firm proclaims that when its brokers speak, people listen. And by this they imply that their advice is so good, their expertise is so great that other people need their advice and expertise.”

“There’s a great hunger, a great need for expert advice on today…Abject failures are clamoring to tell you how to succeed.”

“Bad advice is everywhere but good expert advice is hard to find.”

“Sometimes, advice is very expensive, but there can be no more important dimension than that which relates to God and to eternal life.”

“The best advice comes from the Word of God.”

“It is so important to read the Bible for yourself.”

“Isn’t it great to be caught doing good?”

“Doesn’t it seem a little strange that Paul would pray for a group that seems to be doing pretty good?”

“All of us know a good start, but few of us are able to persevere.”

“When you decide you want to do something excellent for God, that’s when the devil attacks.”

“If you’ve never had a run-in with the devil, it may be because you’re going in his direction.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“You ought to be further ahead and more accountable to God than you were last year.”

“Success imposes responsibility. Blessings impose responsibility.”

“When you are succeeding, it takes a strong, secure person to help you and not get jealous of you.”

“Many consider the apostle Paul to be the greatest preacher that ever lived, except for Jesus Christ.”

“When something is filled, it has no room for anything else. And when we are filled with the truth, there’s no room for error.”

“Paul did not just pray for knowledge, but for divine knowledge.”

“You don’t know a person because you’ve shaken hands with a person…you’ve got to stay around the person.”

“The most important associate you can ever have is God almighty.”

“Stay around the Lord.”

“The priorities of so many men are confused…They want the knowledge of God so that they can accomplish their will. It’s not our will, but God’s will.”

“Wisdom is practical knowledge.”

“A dumb question is better than a stupid mistake.”

“It’s not our will, but God’s will.” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“How many of you know that God will guide you and direct you?”

“When you’re prayerful… the Spirit of the Holy Ghost will guide you and direct you.”

“My brother…if you would open your heart to the Lord, He was a way of directing you in His way.”

“Your outward life ought to bring credit to your master’s name…If you’re a servant of the Lord, your life ought to reflect that.”

“The Lord wants us to be fruitful.”

“We need the help of God.”

“’Wait’ means trust in God. ‘Wait’ means rely on God. ‘Wait’ means believe that God is going to strengthen you. And if you put your trust in Jesus, He has a way of showing up.”

“Lord, I need your power. I need your presence. If you call Him, he’ll show up!”

“Lord, fill me with your power!”

“Jesus is alive!”

“God will bring you though!” – Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake

“Your enemies may come against you to bring you down, but God will pick you up.”

“God will bring you out! God will bring you over! God will bring you though!”

“Patience is endurance; it’s the ability to hold out and not be blocked by any attack of the enemy.”

“Thanksgiving is a command of God.”

“God wants you to stand!”

“Joy is in the Word of God!”

“The Lord is good!”

 

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES: Colossians 1:3-14, 1 Corinthians 13:13, Matthew 22:29, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, Proverbs 14:12, James 1:5, Ephesians 5:17, John 14:26, Proverbs 3:6,2 Timothy 2:19, John 15:5, Galatians 6:9, Isaiah 40:31, 2 Timothy 1:7, Acts 1:8, Luke 24:49, Jeremiah 33:3, Luke 10:19, Romans 8:31, Hebrews 12:2, Jude 1:24, Revelation 22:13.


The West Angeles Counseling Center provides support and services to help strengthen every member of the family.  You do not have to be a West Angeles member. If you need support, and to find out more about our programs and services, please call the West Angeles Counseling Center at 323-737-7463.

West Angeles Counseling: Which Spirit Drives Your Family?

In Part II of our Focus on the Family series, the West Angeles Counseling Center shares the principles of developing a strong family: starting with the right spirit.

 

Is your family ruled by hope, or by fear? Do you empower your family? Do you express love and acknowledge love in your family? Do you teach and instruct with an even-handed approach?

These are important questions to ask. Sometimes in families, our actions feed and encourage fear, and not power, love, and self-discipline.  2 Timothy 1:7 says that:

A mother and daughter enjoy Sunday fellowship.

A mother and daughter enjoy Sunday fellowship.

God did not give us a spirit of timidity (fear), but a spirit of power, love and, self-discipline (NLT.)

In this scripture, fear comes before power, love, and self discipline, and it can block us from achieving a Christ-like spirit.

THE POWER OF FEAR

When fear is present in a relationship, it can take our power or be used as a weapon to take someone else’s. Our personal fear comes from insecurities in our lives that we bring from childhood or from previous relationships into our families, and if we are not aware of them, they can feed the wrong spirit. These issues can affect our ability to:

  • Be able to be trusted
  • Discipline our children in a fair manner
  • Love one another as Christ loves us

In a relationship, arguments are often driven by our insecurities as we try to protect our fears and shame, but these feelings are not of God’s plan for us. They are events and situations that have happened in the past, but we always have the power and self-discipline to overcome them. Those situations can never rule us unless we allow them to.

THE IMPORTANCE OF HEALTHY COMMUNICATION

Unhealthy communication is an issue in families because of the presence of anger. This is not love. We are instructed that love is not easily angered (1 Corinthians 13:5), and this is one of the core principles that Christ came to teach us. So, if we argue a lot or struggle with anger, then this blocks us from sharing and receiving love. Communicating feelings without blaming others, or addressing and alleviating personal stress in our lives can help a family to communicate and grow with a spirit of love, as opposed to being repressed by fear.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PROPER DISCIPLINE

When you discipline your children, do you only focus on instilling fear in the child, or teaching the child that there are consequences to their actions? For example, if we only instruct our children to not touch the stove without teaching them why, then we are inadvertently instilling fear in them. A person develops self-discipline in their lives when they are free to think through experiences in their lives which help them measure the consequences of their actions. A child whom is taught that touching the stove will lead to a burn is more likely to not do it, and in the future they will make better decisions because their parents did their best to not allow fear to govern how they disciplined their child.

A father enjoys time with his 2 sons.

A father enjoys quality time with his two sons.

CONCLUSION

Challenging ourselves to embrace a spirit of power, love, and self-discipline as husband, wife, father, or mother, can aid in achieving the family harmony that Christ desires. The family we desire is in our spirit, because God has blessed us with it.


West Angeles Church of God In Christ is celebrating family strength and unity! Please join the West Angeles Counseling Center from July 15-18, 2016, as we launch Focus On The Family Weekend, a weekend of family unity packed with four days of events for the entire congregation. Please CLICK HERE for more information!

West Angeles Church of God In Christ invites you to live a fuller life today and every day, but remember: “life happens” to all of us. The West Angeles Counseling Center provides support and services to the greater Los Angeles area. and you do not have to be a West Angeles member. If you need support, and to find out more about our programs and services, please call the West Angeles Counseling Center at 323-737-7463.

Focus on the Family: A Message To Fathers

West Angeles Church of God In Christ is committed to developing and nurturing strong, resilient families, and today, we focus on fathers. In honor of Focus on The Family Weekend, the West Angeles Counseling Center, under the leadership of Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr., has compiled a list of 11 qualities which can help a man to develop into a strong, noble father.

The definition of a father, according to the dictionary, is:

One who has begotten a child; a male parent. A male who has impregnated a female, thus a child is born.

There are other significant definitions of fatherhood, but first and foremost, a father is a provider: spiritually, emotionally and physically. He is, in essence, a watchman over his children. He sets the spiritual tone in the family, and whether that tone is good or bad, he is the one who determines what will transpire in the home. If you had a negative experience with your father, dare to be different and do not allow that negativity to take place in your home.

Here’s a list of 11 things which help to define a strong father:

  1. Be a role model. A father should not only make available provisions to supply the needs of his children – food, clothes, and a roof over their heads – but he should also provide a stable and loving atmosphere for his children to enjoy. There should be warmth and peace in the home. There should be constant encouragement and a will inside of that man, that father, to be the best person he can be. A father should be a role model to his children. No other person should be able to compare to their dad. Be positive and optimistic. You can do this.
  2. Find employment. A man who is a father should be gainfully employed. There are times when a father is met with misfortune and a job is not available to him for a time. However this father must pick up the pieces and find or create employment wherever he can to maintain a living for his family.
  3. Show love. A father, if married, should show love in the household for his wife and the children should see the
    A young father walks with his son.

    A young father walks with his son.

    affection between the parents. The children should not be exposed to arguing and fighting, whether verbal or physical. A real man will not abuse his wife…period! The home must be a safe haven and a sanctuary for the family.

  4. Be strong. A father should show quality strength and courage even in the midst of trouble and his family will see that and line up with that. A father should show good character and help and equip his children to live a successful life. A father must teach his children good morals and ethics so they can be fine upstanding citizens in society. A father should instruct his children to obey the law and show them if one goes against the laws of the land what will transpire if they disobey authority.
  5. Value education. A father should make sure that his children are schooled. He must also be a part of the school system in that he has a caring attitude for what his child does in class. Enjoy your children through games, sports and activities. Spend quality time with your children at home. Take them on outings and stay within your budget. Everything does not have to be big and excessive. Small things count.
  6. Love the Lord. Take your family to church and instruct them on the ways of God. You, father, show them the scriptures. Take time to pray with your children. Show them that a real man depends on God for direction and then live it at home. You, father, take time at breakfast and at dinner to talk about the day. Find out what happened at school and discuss with them where they are as they share with you. You might feel, “I don’t have time” or “There’s not enough time in the day,” but if you don’t find time to give spiritual guidance to your family, someone else will. You can do this.
  7. Set boundaries. Teach them to be obedient at home, to you and to their mom. Teach them to respect their siblings. Teach your boys to respect females in your family. Teach your daughters to respect the males in your family. This will help them to have a mutual respect for all people. Let them know as they get older that there will be a curfew. Give them rules and create guidelines for the home. Let them know that there will be chores to do. You can do this.
  8. Discipline your children. Discuss with your wife or the mother of your children how this can be done. If a father does not live with the family, then find a way to achieve a special bond with your child. Pay your child support, and honor and respect the mother of the child that you helped to produce. Be in the child’s life.
  9. Teach them about life. Provide whatever life lessons you can for your children. Do not let them grow up without knowing that you are their father. Teach your daughter what kind of man she should be attracted too. She will look for a man like you who is of good moral quality and who has an attitude of righteousness; a man of substance and of prayer, a man who is gainfully employed (he may or may not have a degree, but he should be a hard working man). Help your son take the steps from childhood to adulthood. Show him how to be a real man as he grows. Show him the pit falls of making bad decisions in life and how to choose good friends. Train him up right. Let him know the mistakes you made and direct his path as God leads you. You can do this.
  10. Teach financial literacy. Save money for them for college and let them know that they can be a success in life (but of course it is better to show them with your own life). You can do this because God will help you if you ask Him.  Make sure that you have life insurance for your family in case of an emergency. Make sure that you have car insurance and medical coverage for the family. There is no excuse for excuses.
  11. Redeem the time you have with your family if you made a mistake. Humble yourself and find out if it is possible to correct your error. Even if it is your fault, it can be rectified. Fathers never give up and never give in. You can do this!

God has blessed and enabled you to plant a seed. Make sure that you water that seed and nurture that seed so that seed will someday blossom into a beautiful flower and strong deeply rooted plant and these will be your children. Be proud of them, and thank God that He allowed you to be their father.

This is our message to fathers…be blessed!


West Angeles Church of God In Christ is celebrating family strength and unity! Please join the West Angeles Counseling Center on July 15-18, 2016, as we launch Focus On The Family Weekend, a weekend of family unity packed with four days of events for the entire congregation.  Please CLICK HERE for more information!

 

Our Health: 7 Ways To Achieve Optimum Health

It’s Men’s Health Month, but West Angeles wants us to achieve God’s best for our lives this month and every month. As we approach “Focus on the Family Weekend” here at West Angeles, here are 7 tips to keep you and your entire family in optimum health.

How do we achieve optimum health? In mind, body and spirit, we honor God when we acknowledge that we are His workmanship. Romans 12:1 (NIV) says:

“Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship.”

Maintaining our health is one of the best gifts we can give to God, but along with prayer, exercise and healthy eating, there are many other ways to worship Him daily.

Here are 7 ways to make achieving your best health a priority:

1. Exercise. If you’ve heard of the 21-day push-up challenge, then you know that men everywhere are being proactive about health by encouraging each other toward better health through exercise. But even if we haven’t accepted the challenge, regular physical activity still reigns as one of the most important things we can all do for our health, according to the Centers of Disease Control [1].

It can help:

  • Control your weight
  • Reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Reduce your risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Reduce your risk of some cancers
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Improve your mental health and mood
  • Improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, if you’re an older adult
  • Increase your chances of living longer.

Start slowly, and consult a doctor before beginning any new exercise regimen.

2. Eat healthy foods (Genesis 1:29). According to ChooseMyPlate.gov, an initiative to promote a healthy eating lifestyle started by First Lady Michelle Obama and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, everything you eat and drink matters [2]. Create a balanced diet by:

  • Focusing on whole fruits. Any fruit or 100% fruit juice counts as part of the Fruit Group. Fruits may be fresh, canned, frozen, or dried, and may be whole, cut-up, or pureed without added sugar. Of course, fresh is always best, and for maximum benefits, choose whole fruits more often than 100% fruit juice.
  • Varying your veggies. Vegetables are divided into five subgroups and include dark-green vegetables, red and orange vegetables, legumes (beans and peas), starchy vegetables, and other vegetables. Choose vegetables from all subgroups.
  • Making half the grains you eat whole grains. Grains include whole grains and refined, enriched grains. Choose whole grains more often.
  • Varying your protein routine. Protein foods include fish, eggs, and plant sources such as nuts, beans,

    Free Download: Men’s Health Check Poster

    seeds, and soy products (beans and peas are also part of the vegetable group).

  • Moving to low-fat or fat-free milk and yogurt. Dairy includes milk, yogurt, cheese, and calcium-fortified soy, nut, or grain beverages (such as soymilk, almond milk, flax milk, etc). Choose fat-free (skim) and low fat (1%) dairy foods.
  • Drinking lots of water. Our bodies are primarily comprised of water; replenishing our intake of water keeps us hydrated, and keeps our bodies running smoothly. Cut back on beverages and foods with added sugars; eliminate alcohol.
  • Making oils part of your healthy eating lifestyle. Oils provide nutrients for the body, like fatty acids and vitamin E. They also enhance the flavor of your food. Some oils are eaten as a natural part of the food such as in nuts, olives, avocados, and seafood. Other oils are refined and added to a food during processing or preparation such as soybean, canola, and safflower oils. Choose the right amount of oil to stay within your daily calorie needs.

3.  Get annual check-ups and “guard your heart.” We do annual tune-ups and oil changes in order to maintain the health of our automobiles; likewise, seeing a doctor annually must be our priority for maintaining the health of our bodies. Proverbs 4:23 says to “Guard your heart,” yet, according to the American Heart Association, “Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world today, and claims more lives than all forms of cancer combined [3]. We must make the health of our bodies a priority by going for annual check-ups with a doctor we can trust, and who share our faith in the transformative, healing power of Jesus Christ (Matthew 8:1-17 6).

4.  Our attachments can make us sick. Bad habits can be destructive to our health. Smoking, stress, and other lifestyle choices can actually tax our organs and shorten our lives. Even in our compassion for others, we can sometimes internalize their afflictions and demons. Gently remind others that laying their burdens on Jesus connects them to an eternal wellspring of life and health (Matthew 11:27-29). Surround yourself with others who are positive and uplifting.

5.  Speak The Good News. “Death and life are in the power of the tongue” (Proverbs 18:21). Speaking positiveness and light not only builds the Kingdom, it also helps to keep you and those around you healthy through faith and hope (Isaiah 52:7).

6.  “Live by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). A larger percentage of what enters our bodies daily is not through our mouths, but through our eyes and ears. Be sure that the media you ingest daily is edifying for you, for your family, and for building the Kingdom.

7.  Join a church. Joining a good church can keep you on the road to good health by:

  • Surrounding you with like-minded people who are of a common, fundamental belief,
  • Presenting opportunities for giving back, and
  • Increasing your knowledge of God’s requirements for living your best life, through closer relationship with Him and His word (Proverbs 4:20-27).

Even scientists have proven that faith leads to longer life and health [4]. Keep faith in Jesus Christ at the center of your life.

Psalm 103:1-5 says:

Bless the Lord, O my soul; And all that is within me, bless His holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, And forget not all His benefits: Who forgives all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from destruction, Who crowns you with loving kindness and tender mercies, Who satisfies your mouth with good things, so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Maintaining your health and the health and well-being of your family, and accessing the power of Jesus Christ, is the key to a healthy, abundant, and prosperous life.

 

To read more about good health in the Bible, please see the following  scriptural references:

Romans 12:1, Genesis 1:29, Ephesians 5:18, Proverbs 3:7-8,  Jeremiah 33:6-7, Isaiah 53:4, Matthew 8:1-17, 11:27-29; Proverbs 4:20-27,  18:21; 2 Corinthians 5:7, Isaiah 52:7, Psalm 103:1-5, Deuteronomy 7:12,15.


[1] -The Benefits of Physical Activity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/. Accessed 6/29/2016.

[2] – Everything You Eat and Drink Matters — Focus on Variety, Amount, and Nutrition. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/variety. Accessed 6/29/2016.

[3] – Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – At-a-Glance, AHA.  https:[email protected][email protected][email protected]/documents/downloadable/ucm_470704.pdf. Accessed 6/29/2016.

[4] – How Faith Can Heal. The Biology of Belief.  Time Magazine, February 23, 2009.  http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1879179,00.html. http://content.time.com/time/magazine/0,9263,7601090223,00.html. Accessed 6/29/2016.

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HELPFUL LINKS:

  • For more information on how to eat healthy, click HERE to download Health.gov’s Dietary and Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/resources/2015-2020_Dietary_Guidelines.pdf
  • For more information on recipes and healthy eating, including projects for children and the family, please Click HERE to go to Choose My Plate.gov. http://www.choosemyplate.gov/
  • For facts on heart disease, stroke, and their risk factors, click HERE to download the American Heart Association’s Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics – At-a-Glance.   https:[email protected][email protected][email protected]/documents/downloadable/ucm_470704.pdf,
  • To learn more about nutritional topics such as Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs, Dietary Supplement Fact Sheets, Food Shopping, Cooking, Meal Planning and more, please CLICK HERE to access Nutrition.gov. http://www.nutrition.gov/
  • For more information on ways to stay fit and other men’s health initiatives, please CLICK HERE to go to Men’s Health Month.org. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #MensHealthMonth! http://www.menshealthmonth.org/thingstodo.html

 

This post is not a substitute for the care of a doctor or nutritionist. “National Nutrition Month” is a campaign of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.  Poster and photo, courtesy Men’s Health Month.org.

 

 

 

WORLD HEALTH DAY: Black Men Lead the Healthy Eating Revolution

April 7 is “World Health Day,” and this year the focus is on ending diabetes. African Americans are disproportionately affected by diabetes, which is one of the most serious health problems our country faces today. But there’s a home-grown movement spreading across America which may change that…and it’s being shepherded by African American men.

Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food – Genesis 1:29 (NIV)

A few months ago, I received a call, informing me that my close friend Allison had suffered a stroke – a diagnosis which seems to be much too common these days. She’s actually one of three women I know who’ve suffered from this condition in recent years, and they all have very noticeable things in common.  They are:

  • African American
  • Working in high-stress, often hostile environments
  • Self-described as overweight
  • In their early to mid-50’s
  • Diabetic

African Americans and Native Americans are affected disproportionately by diabetes more than any other ethnic groups in America, with Latino Americans factoring in third[1]. African American adults are 80 percent more likely than white adults to have been diagnosed with diabetes by a physician, and are twice as likely as Whites to die from the disease [2].

The proper diet can make all the difference in controlling diabetes. However, when we’re stressed, our comfort foods are one of the few “comforts” we believe we have – and that was certainly the case with my friend Allison. The difference in her story? Her husband George.

George immediately took over the leadership of his family’s nutrition, planting a garden in their back yard with methods he’d learned as a boy from his father, and cooking healthy fare which helped bring his wife back to optimum health. And Allison? She’s now back at work, healthy, and more than 60 pounds lighter.

Allison’s husband is part of a growing worldwide trend which reveals that men of African descent are taking the health and nutritional well-being of their families and their communities into their own hands. Around the globe, black men seem to be remembering the ancestral wisdom of God which reminds us to go back to the earth for nourishment; men like Jimmy Williams, author of “From Seed To Skillet,” who learned all about vegetable gardening from his grandmother, a South Carolina native from a traditional Gullah community whose members were descendants of Caribbean slaves. Or Purcell Keeling, who has owned Simply Wholesome, a health food restaurant and market in Los Angeles, for almost 30 years. Or Bryce Fluellen, a Chef Instructor with the American Heart Association, who’s changing the eating habits of our children one classroom at a time.

On this World Health Day, we’re profiling three African American men who are game changers in the healthy-eating movement:

RON FINLEY – “I planted my Eden in my front yard,” said South Central Los Angeles artist and designer Ron Finley, Ron_Finleyaffectionately known as “The Gangsta Gardener.” Finley’s vision for a healthy, accessible “food forest” started with the curbside vegetable garden he planted in the strip of dirt in front of his own house. When the city tried to shut it down, Finley’s fight gave voice to a larger movement that provides nourishment, empowerment, education, and healthy, hopeful futures – one urban garden at a time.

“I planted my Eden in my front yard” – Ron Finley 

He calls South Central Los Angeles the “home of the drive-thru and the drive-by,” and it’s the drive-thru fast-food stands that contribute more to the area’s poor health and high mortality rate, with one in two kids contracting a curable disease like Type 2 diabetes. In the two years since his appearance at TED, a global set of conferences which uses its video-recorded lectures as a medium for spreading new ideas, Finley’s work has quickly become celebrated worldwide, making him a bit of a phenomenon. He’s now featured in a film which raises awareness about urban gardening called “Can You Dig This,” directed by Delila Vallot and executive produced by John Legend.

 

BRYANT TERRY is reconnecting us with our healthy, vegetable-based African food traditions. He is a 2015 James Beard Foundation Leadership Award-winning chef, educator, and author renowned for hisbryantterry2 activism to create a healthy, just, and sustainable food system. His started with his own family by transforming traditional soul food staples into mouth-watering, healthy fare. “More than anyone else,” said Terry in his book Afro-Vegan: Farm-Fresh African, Caribbean, & Southern Flavors Remixed, “people of African descent should honor, cultivate, and consume food from the African diaspora…[those traditions] connect us to our ancestors and bring the past into the present day.”

He’s also known as a DJ, creatively paring his recipes with musical suggestions and spinning music wherever his food is served. He is currently the inaugural Chef in Residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora (MoAD) in San Francisco where he creates programming that celebrates the intersection of food, farming, health, activism, art, culture, and the African Diaspora.

“Food from the African diaspora connects us to our ancestors” – Bryant Terry

Bryant is the author of four books: critically acclaimed Vegan Soul Kitchen: Fresh, Healthy, and Creative African-American Cuisine; The Inspired Vegan; Grub; and his latest title, Afro Vegan, Farm-fresh African, Caribbean & Southern Flavors Remixed (Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA, 2014). In 2002, Bryant founded b-healthy (Build Healthy Eating and Lifestyles to Help Youth), a multi-year initiative in New York City designed to empower youth to be more active in fighting for a more sustainable food system. He continues to collaborate with schools and community organizations around the country to inspire, educate, and empower young people to be active in the food justice movement.

 

THE REVEREND RICHARD JOYNER – Over the last 10 years or so, Conetoe, NC has become the center of a movement for healthyfoodrev living, driven by the Reverend Richard Joyner, pastor of Conetoe Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. A predominantly African-American community, Conetoe, which is just outside of Raleigh-Durham, is surrounded by farmland, but the nearest grocery store is 10 miles away. This makes Conetoe one of the country’s many “food deserts,” where fresh, nutritious food is not readily available.
Rev. Joyner was inspired to make a change in his town after watching many of his parishioners die from preventable diseases.”Diabetes, high blood pressure…we counted 30 funerals in one year,” Rev. Joyner said. “I couldn’t ignore it because I was spending more time in funerals than anything else.”

As a result, he started a community garden, enlisting the help of the children in his congregation. Today, his nonprofit, the Conetoe Family Life Center, manages more than 20 plots of land, including one 25-acre site. More than 80 young people help Joyner plan, plant and harvest nearly 50,000 pounds of fresh food a year. Much of this produce is given away to local residents, but the students also sell the food – including their own brand of honey – to businesses and restaurants, raising money for school supplies and scholarships.

“By nourishing plants, you’re nourishing community. It’s one and the same” – Reverend Richard Joyner

The youth also learn healthy cooking techniques, which they in turn share with their families. As a result, the community is healthier and doctor visits are down. These efforts, Rev. Joyner says, are having other amazing benefits as well. “One of the biggest things the youth are learning here are social skills – how to relate to each other and have healthy relationships. They also get to practice skills like science and math; they learn about pricing, marketing,” says Joyner.

“Growing food calls us to work together,” he said. “By nourishing plants, you’re nourishing community. It’s one and the same. If we just let them explore and create a safe space for them, most of the time they’ll come up with an answer for themselves. And when youth become creative, wow – they think outside of the box.”[3]


To find out more about World Health Day and the World Health Organization’s campaign to “Beat Diabetes”, please click HERE.

The American Diabetes Association has programs which address diabetes according to culture. To find out more, please click HERE.

To read more about the US Department of Health and Human Services’ statistics on diabetes and African Americans, please click HERE.

To see Ron Finley’s film, “Can You Dig This,” or to arrange a screening in your town, please click HERE.

Bryant Terry’s books are available HERE, on http://www.bryant-terry.com/.

To purchase products from the Conetoe Family Life Center, please click HERE.

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[1] American Diabetes Association http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/.  Accessed 4/05/2016.

[2] US Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Minority Health http://minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=4&lvlID=18.  Accessed 4/05/2016.

[3] Many thanks to CNN.com, and CNN Heroes.

 

April is West Angeles Sponsorship Month

Attention: West Angeles High School Seniors & Continuing Students! April is West Angeles Sponsorship Month! Stop by Table 7A in the Concourse for sponsorship information!

West Angeles Family: We all know how challenging it can be to meet rising college expenses. Please stop by our table to see how you might be a blessing to the West Angeles Scholars who have qualified for a sponsorship.

For further details, please contact Le’Nese Burks in the Education and Enrichment Office at (323) 733-8300 ext. 2629 or [email protected]

January is Consecration Month

Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God – Leviticus 20:7

January is Consecration Month for the Church of God In Christ. The very word consecrate means “to declare” or “to set apart; to be removed from.” In some definitions, the word consecrate means “to hallow” or “to make vulnerable.”

In the above scripture, God is essentially telling the reader that if you declare or set yourself apart from the world and dedicate yourself to a sacred purpose; if you irrevocably devote yourself to Him, there is no way you cannot be holy in pleasing God…for He is holy! (Leviticus 11:45).

As we prepare for Consecration, let us remember that we are making ourselves vulnerable to the Word of God. Fantastic guidelines to live by, wouldn’t you agree?

For 2016, Presiding Bishop Charles E. Blake has prepared an updated version of the Consecration Calendar, complete with new rejuvenating scriptures, prayer focuses, and fasting guidelines.

Please click the following link  – 2016 Consecration Calendar  for your copy of the January 2016 Consecration Calendar.
2016 Consecration Calendarsm
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Presiding Bishop Charles Edward Blake has shared with us the theme for 2016 for The Church of God In Christ:

“Fighting for Salvation and Righteousness in a Violent and Immoral World.” 1 Timothy 6:12 – Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold of eternal life.

Please join us as we pray for peace, and for the manifestation of the Kingdom of God.