Beacon Light Seventh-day Adventist Church

A Place To Belong, A Place to Serve, A Place to be Transformed

Health Ministry

Published: May 23, 2020      Updated: May 23, 2020



Health Ministries is not only about assisting our members with living healthier, happier lives; it is also about reaching out to the surrounding community.

Health Ministry Nuggets

February is Black History Month, and this month I would like to focus on the contributions of African Americans in medicine and diseases affecting African Americans.

Hebrews 6: 11-12 

And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, 12 that you do not become sluggish but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. (NKJV)

James Durham(1762-1802) 

Jame Durham was the first recognized Black physician in the United States. He was born a slave in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where he was taught the fundamentals of reading and writing by his masters who were physicians; one of which was Dr. Bob Love who encouraged his medical interests. While still a slave in 1783, a Scottish physician in New Orleans hired him to perform medical services. At age 20, he set up his own medical practice and his earnings exceeded $3,000 annually (this would be approximately $79,000 annually today). In 1790, at age 21, he bought his freedom.
In 1788, he was invited to Philadelphia to meet Dr. Benjamin Rush, the founder of American medicine and one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. Rush was so impressed with Durham's success in treating diphtheria patients, that he read Durham's paper on the subject before the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. Durham specialized in throat disease and the relationship between climate and disease.
In 1789, Durham returned to New Orleans, where he saved more yellow fever victims than any other physician in colonial Philadelphia. During an epidemic that killed thousands, he lost only 11 of 64 patients. He moved back to New Orleans and was celebrated by prominent local physicians. Despite his skill and ability to save so many lives, and his successful practice, his practice was restricted in 1801 by new city regulations because he did not have a formal medical degree. Not much is known about Durham after1802.
*Diphtheria (dif-THEER-e-uh) is a serious bacterial infection usually affecting the mucous membranes of your nose and throat.
*Yellow fever is a viral infection spread by a particular type of mosquito. The infection is most common in areas of Africa and South America, affecting travelers to and residents of those areas.
I am inspired by James Durham because despite the obstacles he faced due to restrictive laws that prohibited slaves to read and write, or even have a meaningful occupation, James Durham persevered and defied the odds stacked against him during these difficult times and made history at such a young age. I pray that this can be an inspiration to all of our young people today.

Dr. Stephen Griffith

Beacon Light Health Ministry Leader

"I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."  - Philippians 4:13 KJV


Well it seems as though the dust is starting to settle on the start of 2016 as we start to work into our daily routines for the year.  Speaking of dust settling, I wonder if there is any dust settling on our New Year’s resolutions.  What were they again? 

  1. Stop procrastinating,
  2. Eat more fruits and vegetables,
  3. Spend less, save more… but wait, I’m sure there were more important ones, such as
  4. Attend Prayer Meeting regularly, or
  5. Spend 1 hour of quality time in the Word daily, along with
  6. Exercise for 30 minutes daily, and
  7. Drink seven glasses of water a day.

The truth of the matter is this: resolutions are difficult to maintain. You know why?  Because it is hard to form and maintain new habits. According to current statistics, only 8% of individuals are successful in keeping their New Year’s resolutions. That makes it seem hopeless, doesn’t it? Thankfully, we have the promise that “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” (Philippians 4:13). 
So let us focus on those 8% of successful individuals. How do they successfully form new habits? Studies have proven that it takes an average of 60 to 90 occurrences for a new habit to be completely formed. That means that I must drink 60 to 90 glasses of water for it to become a habit. I must exercise 60 to 90 times for it to become a routine. I must spend 1 hour of quality time in the Word daily for 2 to 3 months for it to become a habit. I must attend Prayer Meeting 60 to 90 Wednesday nights (in a row) … Amen.  

I am thankful that I can call on my Lord and Savior to “strengtheneth me” to continue to do better, and be better, (both in health and spiritual growth), 60 to 90 times over! 
Dr. Stephen Griffith
Beacon Light Health Ministry


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