Mary Mary’s Erica Campbell Headlines Church’s Annual Health Expo

As half of famed gospel duo Mary Mary, Erica Cambell had no problem filling the First Baptist Church of Glenarden with an a capella rendition of “My Soul Loves Jesus.”

But she wasn’t there just to entertain. During the 24th annual Health and Wellness Expo at the Upper Marlboro church Saturday, the Grammy winner and reality TV star spoke frankly to Rev. John K. Jenkins and his flock about the challenges of eating healthy as a Christian and a gospel artist.

“If you came in this church and there was trash everywhere, you would say they don’t care about this church,” Campbell said. “So how do you think the Father feels when we treat our temples, our bodies that house the Holy Spirit, like trash? They say gluttony is the acceptable sin.

The First Baptist Church of Glenarden holds its 24th annual Health and Wellness Expo in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, on June 10. (Hamil Harris/The Washington Informer)

“I’m a recording artist and I am very busy. I have kids, church and a radio show, and the hardest thing to find is healthy food,” she said. “Healthy food is not open at 10 o’clock when I get off the stage. They usually have fried chicken, mac and cheese, some poundcake, some chips.”

Campbell and noted author and nutritionist Rovenia “Dr. Ro” Brock were the big features at the annual expo, which had a Hollywood concept this year.

“Our [theme] this year was ‘Lights, Camera, Action: Let Your Health Take Center Stage,'” said expo coordinator Maria Hardy. “We want people to stop making excuses and putting priorities above their health and to let their health take center stage.”

The expo came on a day when similar health fairs and events were held throughout the region. In Baltimore, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) took part in a seminar at Morning Star Baptist Church on the implications of President Trump’s effort to eliminate the Affordable Care Act.

The expo at First Baptist hosted several hundred vendors and stations for exercise classes, cooking demonstrations and area medical and dental professionals who screened people for a variety of diseases.

The event also touted Dr. Ro’s new book, “Lose Your Final 15,” but Jenkins said regardless of how much weight one needs to lose, it starts with people being honest and getting the right information about diet and exercise.

“We can lay hands on you, anoint you with oil, spit on you and nothing will change. It takes discipline and change,” he said. “The discipline for me was eating vegetables. I hate vegetables, but I started liking them and now I am so much better.”

Jenkins said every person has to make a decision and life changes, including himself.

“I’m walking,” he told the audience. “It is the combination of eating right and physical activity that helps you to be healthy and to live a long time. Look at your neighbor and say, ‘I want you to live a long time.'”

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Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the Greater Washington Area. Hamil has chronicled the Million Man March, the Clinton White House, the September 11 attack, the sniper attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the campaign of President Barack Obama and many other people and events. Hamil is currently a multi-platform reporter on the Local Desk of the Washington Post where he writes a range of stories, shoots photos and produces videos for the print and online editions of the Post. In addition, he is often called upon to report on crime, natural disasters and other breaking issues. In 2006 Harris was part of a team of reporters that published the series “Being a Black Man.” He was also the reporter on the video project that accompanied the series that won two Emmy Awards, the Casey Medal and the Peabody Award. Hamil has lectured at Georgetown University, George Washington University, Howard University, the American University, the University of Maryland and the University of the District of Columbia. He also lectures several times a year to interns during their semester in the District as part of their matriculation at the Consortium of Christian Colleges and Universities.

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