Pictured are members of the Wesley Walkers.

Special to Iredell Free News

Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church in Statesville began Wesley Walkers for the congregation in February. More than 50 members are now walking regularly to improve their health, build friendships, and promote overall wellness within their church and community.

The growing program was developed and started by Joe Sinclair, a member of the Wesley Memorial Church and a veteran marathon runner.

The church is partnering with the Statesville Family YMCA since both institutions are conveniently located near each other and have a long history of positive working relationships. With the full support of the YMCA, the Wesley Walkers Club may utilize indoor walking facilities when necessary. The YMCA is very supportive of the program, which promotes wellness and other fitness for its members.

The club grew out of the “Age 6 To 96 Fitness Challenge” in January when Sinclair challenged church members to improve their health and also to help the church budget. He said that most church members could benefit by eating better, becoming more physically fit, and actually saving money by reducing their spending for prescription drugs and junk food.

In February, Wesley members signed up to join the club, either as non-competitive members or part of a friendly competition for weekly and monthly recognition. Those in the competitive division had to have a recording device to use when they walked every day and were required to turn in their total steps each week to a church recorder. Results were then compiled and the names of the top 10 walkers for the week were published each Sunday in the church bulletin. Awards were presented to the top walkers at the Sunday morning service on April 7, and will continue each month until June. Beginning in April, there is also an award for the most improved walkers each month.

Many members who are walking have reported positive health results. Some have expressed the fact that they feel better physically, have developed new walking friends, and have lost a few pounds.

In February, Sinclair presented each prospective member a packet of instructions and other health information which they studied before signing up. He encouraged everyone to get medical clearance and obtain the proper walking shoes and clothes before starting the program.

Pictured (from left) are award winners Pam Case, Renee Mauney, Eileen Fowler with Joe Sinclair.


Members from several other churches in the area have expressed an interest in the program. Joe Sinclair will be available to speak to any organization that is interested in this fitness program. Interested parties may contact the main office at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church on Wesley Drive in Statesville. The church telephone number is 704-873-8701.