Church works with Baylor Scott & White to help fight plague of diabetes

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A small Lutheran church and a medical giant have joined forces to help fight the scourge of diabetes in north Texas.

Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, 2505 Northgate Drive, and Baylor Scott & White have created a program of screening, testing, and educating the community to help fight diabetes.

“Christ often relieved the physical suffering of people before He shared the Gospel with them as a way of showing them His love,” said the Rev. Eloy Gonzalez, pastor at Our Redeemer. “Our Diabetes Project is one way we are trying to follow that example.”

The church serves a large Hispanic population, which has a much higher risk for diabetes than the general public, Gonzalez said.

The Diabetes Project starts by conducting risk screening surveys with people the church contacts through its outreach programs, such as English as a Second Language classes, Zumba lessons and Spanish-language worship services on Sundays.

Those found to have a risk of developing diabetes are invited to free screening events for fasting glucose testing. They are also given education about healthier eating habits, exercise, and other ways to lower their risk of the disease.

In the third phase, which is beginning for the first time this month, those identified as being diabetic or pre-diabetic are provided with glucose meters and test kits at a reduced cost. They are also given continuing education on diabetes and good nutrition to help fight the condition.

“Baylor Scott & White has been a tremendous help to us by providing testing supplies, education materials, and all sorts of other support,” said Gaye Harwell, one of the parish nurses administering the program. That support has even included office furniture to use in the Diabetes Project.

“To create a healthy community you need the help of the entire community,” said Mark Grace, chief mission & ministry officer at Baylor Scott & White. “One great example of this is BSWH’s Faith in Action Initiatives that work with great organizations in our community like Our Redeemer Lutheran Church, who understands that reaching out to meet physical need is a natural outgrowth of a dynamic faith. This demonstrates what can happen when genuine healing communities collaborate to minister to the whole person.”

Baylor Scott & White is a $8.3 billion health care system created by the merger of Baylor Health Care System and Scott & White Healthcare in October.

Other partners in the program include the American Diabetes Association and the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. The latter provided major funding for the project through a $9,300 grant awarded to the church.

“When we come together to do work for the kingdom of heaven, we can accomplish more than any of us could ever do on our own,” Gonzalez said.

For more information, visit the church website at Orlc.org, or call the church office at 972-255-0595.

SOURCE Our Redeemer Lutheran Church