“Without a community that reaches for you and pulls you back to a more balanced reality,” said Karen Little, physician and cancer survivor, “it’s easy to become lost and disconnected in the vortex of medical care.”
Most people are directly or indirectly affected by the impact of life-threatening illnesses such as cancer. Whether through personal journeys or supporting loved ones, this is a reality that many face. For that reason, The Place Adventist Fellowship church and Chino Valley Chinese church (CVCC) have both identified a need for creating opportunities to dialogue about this topic.
In February, The Place hosted a workshop about discovering ways to spiritually support those who are battling cancer. This workshop is the first in the church’s new spiritual support series. After encountering members who were experiencing cancer firsthand, the congregation looked for ways to tend to their needs.
While many support groups exist, the congregation realized that few, if any, offered a spiritual component. As promoters of holistic health, The Place recognized how crucial it is to incorporate spirituality into support systems that are currently in place.
The event began during the divine worship service with a message from Bronwen Jones, interfaith chaplain at Cedars-Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. In the afternoon, there was a panel discussion featuring a member of The Place who is a physician and cancer survivor and representatives from Cancer Support Community Valley Ventura Santa Barbara (CSC VVSB), Hospice of the Conejo, and Adventist Health Simi Valley (AHSV). Both segments emphasized the importance of community support and maintaining a human connection while providing care.
“The Place is all about connections—connecting with God and with one another,” said Simon Liversidge, senior pastor at The Place. “We are praying God will give us greater opportunities to connect with people who are in need and who are looking to bless others in need.”
On the same day, CVCC invited Benjamin Lau, emeritus professor at Loma Linda University Medical School, and his wife, Esther Lau, to present on nutritional therapy intended to maximize cancer healing. Their topics, “Biblical Prescription for Cancer” and “Healing Cancer With Food,” demonstrated that God has prescribed a lifestyle that leads to a full, healthy, and abundant life.
During his presentation, Lau referenced passages from Genesis, Exodus, and Leviticus, which he deemed three love letters from God, as the basis for a plant-based diet for preventive and corrective care. “A plant-based diet has no side effects and does not hurt normal cells,” said Lau. “It only hurts the cancer cells.”
Both workshops emphasized different, yet equally needed, approaches to cancer care that together encompass a holistic practice—meeting spiritual and physical needs.