“I found CHIP very educational and beneficial for me”, Helen, a community contact, enthusiastically recalled as she sat eating a delicious plate of plant-based food at an Ilam Church shared lunch recently. “It opened my eyes up to how nutrition works and how different plant-based food make you feel in both your body and mind. The food tastes so much better. My favourite recipe from the CHIP cookbook is the Lentil Shepherd’s Pie. What a difference in taste from the greasy dead-cow mince to the clean wholesome lentil alternative. Sharing with my friends, they say that they would love to attend some plant-based cooking lessons. I am so pleased.”

With the support of some Union funds and staff, Ilam Church ran health checks at the Canterbury A&P in November last year, and at the Body Mind Spirit Festival and our Church’s Open Home weekend in March this year. From these events and from advertising done within the church and elsewhere, contacts attended the CHIP information evenings held at both the church and the local library.

With 35 participants, half of whom were contacts from the community, the CHIP program started in April with an early morning blood screen followed by breakfast. There were twelve night-sessions of teaching on physical health and food tasting, before another early morning blood screen to determine changes the participants had achieved. After this, there followed a celebratory banquet prepared by both the staff and participants. The achievements of all were recognised and some special awards made. Many participants had great changes in their biometric results and in a lot of cases, they were beyond what you might expect from pharmaceutical interventions.

“It is a privilege to be involved in supporting so many folk to make lifestyle changes for the betterment of their bodies and minds”, Pastor Gordon Gosset reported. For many, regular vegetarian meals where unheard of but now are the norm. Others are now taking exercise more seriously.

After the celebration, participants have continued on with the last six sessions of the program which have a greater focus on emotional and spiritual well-being. On completion of the CHIP program, participants/graduates are encouraged to join Club CHIP which will hold monthly meetings to inspire people to carry on with the principles that they have learnt.

“The CHIP program is a fabulous outreach tool for connecting with our community”, Kerry Gosset enthusiastically added.

Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth. 3 John 1:2

-CHIP Team, Ilam Seventh-day Adventist Christchurch