Health and healing

Sophie Leone, right, does a soft tissue massage on Audrey Williams, a member of Mount Moriah, during the health fair.

BRAD McCLENNY/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, August 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, July 31, 2012 at 10:20 p.m.

Parishioners at Mount Moriah Baptist Church learned how to improve their financial, physical and spiritual health at the church's 8th annual Nurses Guild Health Fair.



Pastor: The Rev. Dr. Freeman N. Gallmon.
Location: 718 SE 11th St.
Services: Sunday school at 9:45 a.m. and morning worship at 11 a.m. Noonday prayer is noon on Wednesday and Bible study is 7 p.m. on Thursday.
Phone: 352-372-0505.

Held Sunday morning, the health fair took place after a short worship service that featured a message on good health by church member Deborah Franklin, a registered nurse in the bone marrow unit at Shands at the University of Florida. Franklin told parishioners it is their responsibility “to be good stewards of your bodies.”

The health fair featured blood pressure screenings, massages, and the LifeSouth Community Blood Center Bloodmobile, which was onsite with staff taking blood from donors who wanted to do their part to help save lives.

Mount Moriah member Geneva Saulsberry, a member of the Nurses Guild, was one of the blood donors. As she waited her turn to donate blood, Saulsberry said she thinks it is very worthwhile to donate blood.

“I think donating blood is very important because it is a life-saving act,” Saulsberry said. “There a lot of people who might be in car accidents or who are maybe ill and need a blood transfusion, and if there is not any blood there, it could cause their lives to be in jeopardy.”

Franklin, who spoke briefly, said it is important for people to regularly visit a doctor. She also said people need to be educated about health conditions they are living with and the medications they are taking to manage those conditions.

After the service, which featured several songs by the Mount Moriah Male Ensemble Plus One, parishioners left the sanctuary and visited the health fair, which was held in the fellowship hall.

On hand were representatives from Elder Options, a state-funded resource agency for the elderly; Gainesville MedSpa, a chiropractic, massage and aesthetic services provider; Haven Hospice, an assisted living facility for the terminally ill; LegalShield, a non-profit legal aid agency; Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial Inc., a tax-exempt fraternal benefit society specializing in financial services, and the Winn Dixie Pharmacy Department from the N. Main Street store.

Parishioners also took advantage of getting their blood pressure checked by church member Ricara Johnson, an instructor with LEARN Education Co., which is owned by her mother, Karen Dunbar-Johnson, who also is a member of the church and president of the Nurses Guild.

LEARN Education Co. specializes in preparing certified nursing assistants to pass the state certification exam.

LEARN also offers classes in CPR and first aid and training for health care professionals who own or work in group homes.

Dunbar-Johnson said the Nurses Guild, which has been in existence at the church for 26 years, started sponsoring the health fair to provide information about various health-care related topics to the congregation and as an outreach to the community.

“The mission of the Nurses Guild is to provide health information and health support to our congregation,” said Dunbar-Johnson.

Mary McGregor, who has been a member at Mount Moriah for 26 years, said she is grateful the Nurses Guild sponsors the health fair.

“I think this is a good idea, especially knowing that a lot of people don't go to the doctor,” said McGregor as she waited to have her blood pressure checked. “I have been to all of these health fairs that they have had here and I think it is good that they have them.”

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