In an effort to encourage physical activity in the community, the Platte County Lifestyle Coalition is working with local churches to offer the Walk to Bethlehem program in Columbus.
The Walk to Bethlehem is an intergenerational, imaginary walk beginning in the town where the church is located and ending in Bethlehem, Israel.
The program officially started earlier this month and runs until Saturday, Nov. 27.
In this free program, participants log miles (or mile equivalents for children or those with limited mobility) to make up the 7,500-mile distance between Columbus and Bethlehem. There’s also a curriculum with the walk that includes scripture, meditation and prayers.
“The coalition offers this program to encourage members of the community to participate in physical activity,” said Gene Vis, coalition coordinator. “The coalition’s mission is to promote healthy lifestyles, and this definitely fits in with that.”
Vis said the Walk to Bethlehem program offers more than physical benefits.
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“Not only is walking good for you, but it also helps strengthen relationships," Vis said. "Strengthening social relationships and social connection is so important to overall health.”
So far, six Columbus churches are participating in the program: Peace Lutheran Church, Highland Park Evangelical Church, St. Luke’s United Church of Christ, First United Methodist Church, 1C | The Sanctuary and Federated Church. However, there is still time for more churches to sign up, and the walk is also open to people who are not affiliated with a church or faith-based organization.
Those who would like to sign up but are not affiliated with one of the participating churches should contact Vis at 402-562-4686 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the Walk to Bethlehem or the Platte County Lifestyle Coalition, contact Vis.