Letter from the General Secretary

The national initiative, Let’s Move!, is focused on solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation. As parents, as Christ-followers, as human beings, we cannot ignore the reports that for the first time in two centuries, the current generation of children in America may have shorter life expectancies than their parents.

Let’s Move! includes a component specifically encouraging the involvement of faith and community leaders. The Church of the Brethren was asked to be a part of this component, and invite you, our congregations and communities, parents, grandparents, and children of all ages to participate. So where do we start?

The Let’s Move Faith and Communities Toolkit provides details on the program as a whole, and a ‘toolkit’ with lots of ideas on how to take steps locally to address this situation. So many ideas, in fact, that it can be overwhelming. As I looked over the toolkit I found myself asking,

  • But what specifically does this means to us as Brethren?
  • How can we focus on the crisis of childhood obesity in such a way as to reflect the values of our faith tradition?
  • How might we approach this peacefully, simply, together?”

To answer that question, this website has been organized around these values. For example, under the value of ‘together’ are specific examples of how you might partner with other congregations or community organizations in meeting this goal. The value of ‘simply’ lends itself nicely to encouraging the incorporation of local, whole foods into our diets. And so on…

Another aspect of ‘together’ is confirmed over and over as I learn from our congregations – you are amazingly creative in your ministries. To that end, a component of this project is a means for you to share your own initiatives – and results – with your sisters and brothers in Christ. Please look for that link on the website as well.

Much of Jesus’ ministry was focused on healing. Is this not exactly how we need to consider this crisis, as an opportunity, as a calling to do whatever we can to heal this disease that is threatening the lives of our children? We are a community: a community of faith, of common goals and values. We hear the phrase ‘the children are our future’ over and over, and we often shrug it off as an obvious statement. Our future, our children, are at risk. What will you do to accept this challenge and continue the healing work of Jesus?

In Christ’s peace,

Stan Noffsinger signature 150

General Secretary, Church of the Brethren