ildwood Lifestyle Center and Hospital has passed the torch to a new team of young leaders who are combining preventive medicine and natural remedies with modern medicine to meet the changing needs of the local community and world.
Established in 1942, Wildwood was a charter member of Adventist-laymen’s Services and Industries (ASI) when that organization was established in 1947. It is one of the longest-running supporting ministries in the Adventist denomination, partly because of its commitment to training young leaders to carry on a complete vision for wellness.
Dr. Zeno Charles-Marcel recently joined the Wildwood staff as president for medical affairs. He brings a wealth of medical experience, and is complemented by a young physician from California and a physician’s assistant from New Jersey. This newly established medical team receives support from wellness coaches who have already been serving at Wildwood.
According to Wildwood vice president James Hartley, the organization’s lifestyle center has been full to capacity this summer. People come from all over the United States and the Caribbean to find health and healing there. For many it’s their first introduction to the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
NEW AND IMPROVED: Dr. Zeno Charles-Marcel, Wildwood's new president for medical affairs, greets a patient at Wildwood Lifestyle Center and Hospital in Wildwood, Georgia.
More than 70 students attend the Wildwood College of Health Evangelism at any given time, learning the basics of preventive medicine, natural remedies, community health ministry, and evangelism. Advanced tracks are offered in wellness coaching and ministry management. The latter track is geared toward training young leaders to establish new mission outposts that operate lay training schools and lifestyle centers similar to Wildwood’s.
During the past year Wildwood has established two health clubs in the local community, serving residents interested in natural health and vegetarian cooking. Outreach efforts are taking place in the Westside neighborhood of Chattanooga, Tennessee. Students and staff visit homes, offering health information and advice, as well as giving Bible studies. They also present health expos and cooking classes.
Wildwood operates a restaurant called the Green Thumb Vegetarian Kitchen in downtown Chattanooga. Through the restaurant, contact is made with businessmen and businesswomen looking for healthy meal options. Wildwood’s Green Thumb Health Club meets monthly to demonstrate vegetarian recipes and present health lectures. This gives Wildwood leaders the chance to get to know restaurant customers on a more personal basis and to share the gospel with them.
“The health message helps to break down barriers in the hearts of people God puts us in contact with,” says Hartley.
Parts of the campus are more than 70 years old, and Wildwood has needed to do extensive modeling and updating to its campus structures in recent years. Seven new homes have been built, along with a new men’s dormitory. Several homes, two other dormitories, and the lifestyle center have also been remodeled. These renovations have given the campus an updated look that matches the improvements to the medical program.
Wildwood continues to be involved in overseas mission programs as well. It has expanded overseas primarily through its affiliated LIGHT (Lay Institute for Global Health Training) program. The LIGHT global headquarters is located on the Wildwood campus. LIGHT has trained more than 6,000 laypeople around the world in the past four years alone. It has developed a training curriculum that many other organizations are using to establish new lay training schools in various parts of the world. These new schools equip laypeople to serve as medical missionaries in their local communities.
“The work at Wildwood is multifaceted,” Hartley says. “Over the years it has served to be a light in God’s church, and we pray that in the future days it will continue to be instrumental in preparing people for Christ’s return.”
Visit www.wildwoodhealth.org for more information about Wildwood’s various programs.