Medical Professionals and Clergy Team Up

by Jay Wintermeyer

Dr Wendell Heidinger, of Whole Person Care Family Practice, shares with conference attendees.

WALLA WALLA, Wash., October 9, 2011 - Upper Columbia Conference and Adventist Health sponsored the Partners in Mission Conference. The conference brought 65 clergy and medical professionals from around the Inland Northwest to learn how to work together to win souls to Christ.

Physicians, dentists, physician assistants, nurse practitioners and pastors met together for the one-day conference with five presentations from medical professionals and Adventist thought leaders. Keynote speaker, Miraslav Kiš from Andrews University, shared research he has done on God’s plan for the physician/pastor team.

Another highlight featured Dr. Wendell Heidinger who gave specific ways that healthcare professionals can integrate spirituality into caregiving. After Heidinger’s presentation, one doctor said, “I’m encouraged to try a new approach of spiritual care of patients.”

A common theme throughout the conference was how physical and spiritual wellness are clearly connected. Addressing the whole person leads to far greater success physically and provides real opportunity for ministry. Dr. Brian Schwartz, cardiologist at Kettering Medical Center underscored this theme with his personal testimony of praying for his patients.

Cindy Williams, Upper Columbia Conference health ministries coordinator, said, “It was neat to see the medical professionals and pastors visiting over lunch, discussing and sharing ideas. This is the first step toward building a strong working relationship between pastors and healthcare professionals.”

Upper Columbia Conference hopes to hold more conferences and expand the invitation to include other healthcare professionals as well.