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2002 PE Report stories

Congregations demonstrate weekly prayer yields results (December 30, 2001)

L.A. Dream Center, Angelus Temple make history, reach more with merge (December 16, 2001)

Rain, gang doesn't halt impact of newly formed congregation (December 9, 2001)

Women urged to minister hope at global gathering (November 25, 2001)

Volunteers meet needs at Pentagon cleanup (November 18, 2001)

Fear, uncertainty open window of opportunity for evangelism (November 11, 2001)

'Jump for Jesus' raises $40,000 for STL (October 21, 2001)

Widows, single mothers gain practical blessings (October 14, 2001)

Five new executive presbyters elected (September 30, 2001)

Credit card 'freedoms' tempt college students (September 16, 2001)

Fellowship, nation show ethnic makeup changes (August 26, 2001)

Congregations extend a hand, spread gospel after tropical storm (August 19, 2001)

Single-parent families find hope at camp (August 12, 2001) caught in middle of culture war (July 22, 2001)

Pentecostal World Conference looks toward future cooperation (July 13, 2001)

Crossover Community Church ministers to hip-hop culture (July 8, 2001)

Prison chaplain hooked on ministry (June 24, 2001)

National Singles team convenes, plans regional conferences (June 17, 2001)

Children's ministries take center stage (June 10, 2001)

U.S. Christians trek to Israel despite news reports of danger (May 27, 2001)

A/G ministries combat eating disorders (May 20, 2001)

Mobilizing laity leads to church growth (May 13, 2001)

Fellowship convenes conference for women (April 29, 2001)

14,547 'honored guests' attend Convoy of Hope outreach in Dallas (April 22, 2001)

Hollywood sends wrong signals on teen smoking (April 15, 2001)

Iowa community faces unique challenges (April 8, 2001)

Churches support ministries to lead youth out of lifestyle (March 25, 2001)

English lessons reach Chinese with gospel (March 18, 2001)

A/G church, police, schools partner for strong community (March 11, 2001)

Church uses 'human hunt' as evangelism tool for teens (February 25, 2001)

Ministering in the fast lane (February 18, 2001)

Abstinence education saves lives, futures (February 11, 2001)

Donated food helps Convoy of Hope extend hand around the world (January 21, 2001)

American Indian College students impact boarding school (January 14, 2001)

2000 News Digest stories

A/G ministries combat eating disorders

(May 20, 2001)

Advertisements, health club memberships and Hollywood stars confirm the cultural ideal: Thin is in. The nation is obsessed with staying slim – which, taken too far, proves dangerous. Though issues deeper than weight loss can trigger eating disorders, they pose major health, emotional and spiritual problems.

Danielle Daniels from Michigan shares with Evangel University students about her struggles with unhealthy eating.

To combat such problems A/G churches and schools are promoting eating disorder awareness and prevention ministries. "These issues are permeating our society," says Dawn Jones, a pastor at First A/G in Grand Rapids, Mich. "The church’s responsibilty is to provide solutions and answers the world does not have."

In the United States, at least 5 million adolescent girls and women and 1 million boys and men struggle with eating disorders or borderline conditions. Those most common are anorexia nervosa, self-starvation and excessive weight loss;, and bulimia nervosa, characterized by cycles of binge eating followed by purging.

"Eating disorders are a Westernized phenomenon," says Christine Arnzen, licensed professional counselor and director of the Counseling Department at Evangel University in Springfield, Mo. "This is a very real issue in our culture and in the church."

Major life transitions, family problems, and the social and cultural emphasis on being slender often trigger eating disorders. Cultural ideals of beauty also play a large role. Studies show 80 percent of American women are dissatisfied with their appearance; almost half of those and a quarter of American men are on a diet on any given day.

Last year 15-year-old Angela Barclay*, who attends an A/G church, began showing signs of anorexia. Relational stress, academic challenges and rigorous ballet training took a mental and physical toll, and in four months, an already lean Angela had lost 30 pounds.

Eating disorders are complex — with influences and ramifications extending beyond food. Though Angela recognized she was endangering her life, she continued to struggle to maintain a healthy diet.

"She was 1 pound away from being hospitalized," Cindy*, her mother, says. The Barclays sought professional help from Christian counselors, psychiatrists, dietitians and eating disorder specialists.

"It was a combination of prayer and meeting with the right people," Cindy says.

Arnzen has seen God work differently in people with eating disorders. "He can spontaneously heal and deliver a person from this, but He can also use the helping profession and the struggle of working through this as a form of healing."

Churches help build self-worth by teaching biblical perspectives. "If we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, we must learn to love ourselves, and be Christlike to our bodies," Arnzen says. "Our significance does not come from physical appearance, but from our ability to love and to have a relationship with God."

Jones says First A/G will be starting a support group for women who deal with eating disorders. "Our burden comes from realizing that this is a life-controlling disorder," she says. "We need to address it and provide healing and education."

The Counseling Department at Evangel University has sponsored several programs to raise awareness and challenge the cultural standards of significance. The Great Jeans Giveaway encouraged women to donate an ill-fitting pair of jeans to benefit a family violence center. A fashion show interspersed testimonies from students who had dealt with eating disorders, with women of all sizes and ethnicities modeling.

A panel discussion at North Central University in Minneapolis featured speakers discussing symptoms and dangers of eating disorders.

The Counseling Department at Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, Calif., partners with Orange County churches to provide eating disorder educational seminars. In conjunction with area churches, the department is starting support groups.

— Katy Attanasi

* Names have been changed

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