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Walk for wellness draws registrants age 3 to 84

INDIANAPOLIS (BP)–The Annuity Board sponsored its second annual Living@YourBest Wellness Walk the morning of June 14, registering more than 600 messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention to walk or run for wellness at White River State Park in downtown Indianapolis.

Annuity Board President O.S. Hawkins welcomed walk participants and offered an opening prayer. “We are making a statement about the importance of wellness,” Hawkins said. “The body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and we must be good stewards of the physical gifts of God.”

Participants gathered at 6:15 a.m. to walk or run either a one-mile or 5K course through the park. Volunteers from Avon Baptist Church helped Annuity Board staff organize walkers and runners, work the finish line and serve refreshments.

Before the walk, Hawkins introduced Jim Breeden staff member of the St. Louis Metro Baptist Association and member of West Community Baptist Church in St. Louis. Breeden visited the Annuity Board’s wellness booth at last year’s convention and made a commitment to step up and take responsibility for his health.

“Hebrews 4:12 says, ‘For the Word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword….” Breeden said. “I found out that the Word of God is even sharp enough to cut off fat. I began running to train for a marathon, and as I ran, I memorized Scripture.” Over the past year, Breeden lost about 70 pounds. He completed his first marathon in April in four hours and 19 minutes and will be participating in a quarter Ironman Triathlon June 19.

Van Simmons of Lawrenceville, Ga., an employee of the North American Mission Board, was the first 5K runner to cross the finish line with a time of 22 minutes and 37 seconds. James T. Draper, president of LifeWay Christian Resources, Richard Land, president of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, and several other SBC executives walked or ran along with Hawkins and Annuity Board staff.

Walk participants ranged from 3-year-old Caleb Hardeman of Louisville, Ky., to 84-year-old Georgia McCloud of Decatur, Ga. Many of the walkers and runners have made commitments to wellness. Bobby Copeland of Martinsville, Ind., reported losing 165 pounds during the last year. “The Lord told me that if I wanted to live to see my grandkids grow up, I needed to lose some weight,” he said.

After finishing the walk, participants were served a healthful breakfast of Gatorade, fruit and bagels before heading back to the Indiana Convention Center.

Doug Day, Annuity Board executive officer, thanked the companies that co-sponsored the walk with the Annuity Board for providing T-shirts and breakfast for walkers. The Principal Financial Group, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, UnumProvident, Medco Health Solutions, GuideOne Insurance, Mercer Human Resource Consulting, Harvey-Daco, Holmes Murphy, Fortis Benefits Insurance, Xerox and WinningHabits.com provide services for the Annuity Board and also provided financial support for the walk.
(BP) photo to be posted at the SBC annual meeting website, www.sbcannualmeeting.org/sbc04.

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  • Wendy Ashley