General Baptist State Convention of NC
The General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina, Inc. (GBSC) is the parent body of the Office of Health and Human Services. The Convention, initially organized in 1867, is a volunteer association of approximately 2,000 churches and sixty-two Associations. The approximately 600,000 congregation members comprise about forty percent of NC's African-American population. The convention remains the largest faith-based African-American organization in NC.
Center for Health and Healing
The General Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (GBSC) formalized its Health Ministry in the late 1970's under the title, Office of Health and Human Services (OHHS). To more efficiently and effectively handle programmatic and financial operations, the Center for Health and Healing was created (2005) to provide an operational structure for continuance of the OHHS. The Center, in partnership with the GBSC, continues the mission of the prior office, while incorporating new evidence based approaches.
Affirming life as God's gift, the Health Ministry seeks to:
- Promote health and give visible expression to the concern for a health ministry;
- Actively share its vision of health;
- Provide leadership in assessing and monitoring health needs and ways to address them;
- Assist in protecting every person's right to health care;
- Develop ways to provide knowledge and motivate individuals, families, and communities to take actions that enhance health;
- Advocate for the rights of the family as the primary source of health education and develop resources that enable the family to exercise this right;
- Give special attention to the needs of the poor, chronically disabled, elderly, and others needing urgent action; and
- Lead efforts that allow religious denominations to develop their potential as a significant resource for the health of all people and to have a more effective voice in public policy formation.
HHS Since 1978
The Convention has a rich history of health-related programs and services, with the first projects beginning in the late 1970’s. The ability of congregations to address health issues has been enabled by training lay health educators and advocates, workshops, and forums. The success of these programs has been enhanced through partnerships with local, state, and national health leaders and organizations. Projects are designed to empower congregation members and clergy to better address health and social challenges and the disparities facing African Americans.
Focal areas have included:
Maternal and child health
Chronic Diseases (e.g., diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease).
Spiritual, legal, and ethical issues related to death and dying
Congregational health promotion/ministries
Recipients of GBSC services have been diverse in both ethnicity and religious affiliation