Unity Christian Church in Whitehaven held its inaugural Line Dance-A-Thon last Saturday (June 7th). Led by the Rev. Eric Ovid Donaldson, the church’s pastor, the event was the first for the year for U.C.C.’s Health Ministry.
“The U.C.C. Health Ministry has a mission to bring awareness to health and healing and is partnering with the community to promote healthier lifestyles,” said Lorri Harris, the ministry chairperson.
The Mid-South has been cited with having one of the highest percentages of obesity in the country, which convinced Harris that activity and movement are important in improving one’s physical, mental and spiritual well-being.
The idea was born, she said, after meeting with Donaldson. “All of a sudden we began to talk about ‘FUN’ raisers for the community and the church; events that raise awareness and raise consciousness about the importance of healthy, spiritual living, not just raising funds alone.”
Enter the Line Dance-a-thon, the result of the meeting with the pastor. Line dancing, Harris said, is a fun physical activity for all ages and can be family centered.
“Our vision at Unity Christian Church is to be a center of spiritual service and activity through worship, teaching, counseling, healing, charity and spiritual self-realization,” said Donaldson. “We are committed to the growth, care and development of the whole person: spirit, soul, body, as demonstrated by Jesus in fulfilling the practical needs of all humanity.”
More than 100 people packed the church’s fellowship hall. Some of them were young, but many were middle age or older. Each dance was led by one of three line dance instructors – Nicole Powell, Betty Kyles, and Vanessa Saine.
“I’ve never seen an activity like line-dancing where people, regardless of age, can be a part,” he said. “Even those who didn’t dance cheered their friends on. All ages were on the floor, learning new dance steps, some to gospel selections.”
As a result of the overwhelming response, U.C.C. will start a weekly line dance class on Monday evenings from 6 p.m. – 7 p.m., beginning after Father’s Day. Saine, who is known to treat line dancing as a ministry, will lead the class.
“I see this as a bridge to many of the other classes and activities we offer at the church such as meditation and daily inspirational text messages that encourage people during the day and, of course, during our Sunday services,” said Donaldson, noting that unity is a positive path toward spiritual living.
“We want to show people how to bring balance and blessings into their lives by offering a spiritually holistic approach to health and well-being,” he said. “Spirituality is essential to everything we do, and we are partnering with other entities and institutions in the community, like Methodist South Hospital’s Congregational Health Network, to accomplish that goal.”
The U.C.C. Health Ministry provided gift bags with fitness facts and other information on diet and health resources to every participant in attendance. The gift bags also included prayers and affirmations focused on health, motivational CDs, and items donated by Councilman Myron Lowery and Methodist South.
Donaldson offered healing for anyone who overexerted themselves dancing. There were no takers. “That’s because we had a prayer breakfast before the Line Dance-A-Thon,” he said. “But I remain on-call.”
(For more information about U.C.C. Health Ministry, call Unity Christian Church at 901-396-9961, visit online at www.unitychristianchurch.info, or like the church on Facebook at www.facebook.com/UnityChristianChurch.)