It is my unhappy task to announce that Willona Stallings is leaving her position as program director for Partners in Health and Wholeness. She is going to work for the Care Share Health Alliance in Cary as an Affordable Care Act Project Specialist. She will be working with a team of public health professionals to ensure that every person who is eligible for health insurance coverage in NC is able to access it. As she said in her letter of resignation, “This job, like my work here at the Council, will allow me to live out the example of Jesus Christ by caring for the least among us and promoting social justice.”
Willona is the only PHW Program Director we’ve had. She joined us a little over five years ago when PHW was a concept, an outline, a skeleton, and she has been the one person most responsible for fleshing out what today is a truly remarkable effort to help churches in NC to make the faith/health connection and to help clergy and congregants to live healthier lives.
We are grateful for Willona’s years with us, and we wish her Godspeed on this next part of her pilgrimage, but we will miss her. At last week’s Faith and Health Summit, which turned out to be her swan song, we presented her with a plaque that was inadequate to say an adequate “thank you” but which stated:
With deep and heartfelt appreciation to
Willona Marie Stallings
Founding Program Director of
Partners in Health and Wholeness,
An Initiative of the North Carolina Council of Churches
For your strong personal faith
For your passionate commitment to health
And for your innovative leadership at the intersection of faith and health.
Cynthia P. Barnett says
I had just gotten to know Willona when I learned at the conference that she was leaving. She had agreed with me that sources that address the connection between health and spirituality should also be listed on the Partners resource web page and their other publications. She acted on that.
So— Woe, I thought— I can’t think of Partners in Health and Wholeness without Willona’s bright guidance. But then I realized that she is going on to do more good and soon there will be a fine successor to carry on her work at Partners. Same, I hope, with retiring George Reed.
I love the words of this hymn: “…and Life most sweet, as heart to heart speaks kindly when we meet and part.” (Mary Baker Eddy)