16th February 2017

The Derry/Londonderry Seventh-day Adventist church launched a community project on Sunday, 5 February. The Prehen Lifestyle Centre, based in the church's spacious Richard Roberts demonstrates an exercise at the Prehen Lifestyle Centrehall, and named after the area in the city where the church is located, will provide fitness and lifestyle related services to the community.

Introducing the Lifestyle Centre's 'Get Active Programme', Rick Roberts, fitness coach said, “Starting on Monday evening, we will be offering several guided group fitness sessions per week catering for a range of personal goals and interests.” The open evening became a taster session for the various fitness programmes on offer. Visitors were enticed to energetic and fun-filled exercise routines and built up quite a sweat!

In addition to a structured fitness programme, the Prehen Lifestyle Centre also features the city’s first 'Light Room', offering bright light therapy. Renata, church elder and 'Lifestyle Centre volunteer, waited at the door to coax visitors into the newly decorated and luxurious room. Two bright multi-spectrum lights were placed strategically in the room for visitors to gain maximum exposure and benefit. Renata listed the many health benefits of this therapeutic facility. "The bright lights compensate for lack of natural daylight. Many people quickly notice improved energy and mood within a few weeks of regular use. Regular exposure to bright light combats Seasonal Affective Disorder, fatigue, anxiety and sleep disorders. It also helps concentration and aids in adjusting to a night-time work schedule." Visitors were able to spend time around the lights and enjoyed conversation with members of the Lifestyle Centre team.

Bluetooth Scale"We've been dreaming about a project like this for several years", said Gosia Geslak as she fiddled with one of the newly acquired gadgets of the centre. “Now it is finally real and I am ready to invite visitors to step onto our electronic scale. This is not an ordinary scale. It links to your phone by Bluetooth and it measures not only your weight, but also your hydration levels, visceral fat, bone density, resting metabolic rate, and even your health age! We offer confidential health screening to everybody who participate in one of our programmes. While we do not offer medical advice, we are able to give people an insight into their personal health and set them on a course of action to develop healthy habits.”

How did the project come about? "We are a small church and our members are scattered over a wide area," explains Pastor Weiers Coetser. "But we have a core group of active members Prehen Lifestyle Centre - Taster Sessionin the city area. It is true that we have been dreaming about a project like this for a while, but we never really knew how to bring it all together. Then Richard qualified as a level 3 fitness instructor; Renata told us about her discovery of Bright Light Therapy; Gosia, a registered nurse’s work situation changed to allow her to commit to the planning process. And to top it all, the Emerald Foundation, an Irish/American organisation that supports the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Ireland, made it known that they would fund a creative outreach project in the North-West. We submitted our proposal, and after some refining and negotiation, the funds were approved to purchase equipment and pay for the fitness classes for a period of six months!" One or two more volunteers were recruited, and from this moment, everything was ready to get started.”

Prehen Lifestyle Centre - Sign-up CentreWeiers explains that the team spent four months planning the finer details of the project. "We needed to renovate the Light Room and purchase equipment. Some doors were providentially opened. At the last moment we acquired the use of much more fitness equipment than we had anticipated in our original budget. This enabled us to set up a top-notch exercise room in our church hall."

The opening night drew a handful of visitors from the community. Most of the visitors responded to direct invitations from friends, although Facebook advertising continues to generate interest around the city. The church was buzzing as members and visitors interacted.

PLC-Lightroom-285px-1-of-1-3"We can't wait to see how the programme grows over the next few months", said Pastor Weiers. "We actually feel sorry that it took us so long to organise ourselves to launch this programme! It is truly energising to start a new project like this. We hope that this is the beginning of a long-term contribution to the well-being of the community around our congregation."

Visit the Prehen Lifestyle Centre website or Facebook page for updates on how the project is progressing.

View a gallery with pictures of the opening night.

[Irish Mission Communication]


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Seventh-day Adventist Church Headquarters
Stanborough Park
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Tel: 01923 672251