Midtown: Community

Challenge not just about weight

Olivia Ward and Hannah Curlee went on “The Biggest Loser” television series to change their lives.

After Ward lost 129 pounds to win the show, and Curlee lost 120 to finish as the runner-up, the sisters decided to devote their time to helping people around the country reach their life goals.

“To be able to change your life in such a dramatic way with your faith, diet and exercise is out there for anyone,” Ward said. “God wants the best for us and if we can tap into that, anything is possible.”

The women will be speaking at Covenant Church International’s 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. services Sept. 16.

They will talk about their own weight loss and encourage others in their fitness journeys, but their main message will be one of hope.

“This really transcends weight loss and includes being a better spouse, friend, parent or even excelling in your career,” Ward said. “We all get complacent and think where we are at is as good as it gets.

“What Hannah and I learned through our weight loss journey is that the sky is the limit in anything that you do.”

Their visit will kick off the church’s Biggest Loser Fitness Challenge, a 12-week weight loss contest open to the congregation and the community. Participants will have private weigh-ins after the services on Sept. 16, and then at the end of the challenge, on Dec. 6.

Registration is $15 or nine cans of food with all proceeds going to the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina. Throughout the challenge, the church will offer optional exercise boot camps and weekly motivational tips. The male and female participants who lose the highest percentage of body weight will each win $200.

“There is nothing better than trying to go on a weight-loss journey with a group of people,” Ward said. “In the beginning, there is safety in numbers. You have a whole group of people that you can use as support and encouragement.”

Church leaders hope the challenge will be a blessing to the community.

“In our culture there are so many crazy fads and diets, we thought that getting some folks from the show that have learned how to get the weight off and keep it off would be an inspiration and help us keep on the right track,” said Jim Sink, pastor of the church at 12621 Strickland Road, Raleigh.

For more information, visit www.ccifamily.org or call 919-846-8742.

Lecture on citizens’ responsibility

N.C. Supreme Court Justice Paul M. Newby will speak on “A Citizen’s Responsibility in a Constitutional Republic” at 7 p.m. Friday at the Center for Faith and Culture on the second floor of Patterson Hall at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. The free lecture is sponsored by the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith & Culture and will address the role of religious speech in public and the difference between religious and political speech. For more information or to register for this free event, visit www.centerforfaithandculture.com or call 919-761-2190.

Saint Raphael Catholic Church annual fair

Saint Raphael Catholic Church’s annual fair will run from 5 to 11 p.m. Friday and from 1 to 11 p.m. Saturday at the church, 5801 Falls of Neuse Road, Raleigh. The fair will feature rides, games, food, face painting, balloon animals and a cornhole tournament. The Bibis Ellis Band will perform at 8 p.m. Saturday. For more information, visit www.saintraphael.org.

Free outdoor movie

Hope Reins, a Christian equine ministry for at-risk kids, will show the movie “Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron” at 8:30 p.m. Saturday outdoors at the Hope Reins farm, at Creedmoor Road and I-540. Admission is free. Popcorn, snacks and beverages will be for sale. Gates open at 7 p.m., and attendees must be seated by 8:15 p.m. Visit www.hopereinsraleigh.org for more information and to register for tickets.

Singles worship service

Hope Community Church will hold its monthly single worship night from 7 to 9:15 p.m. Friday, Sept. 14, at the church, 821 Buck Jones Road, Raleigh. Singles of all ages will share a potluck meal, socialize and enjoy live music. Ginger Warner, ministry coordinator for single women, will be sharing about finding purpose in life when you feel like you’ve lost all sense of direction. For more information, call 919-532-0620, email singles@gethope.net, or visit facebook.com/hccjourney.

National Back to Church Sunday

In celebration of National Back to Church Sunday, North Raleigh United Methodist Church is holding a community block party from 12:30 to 3 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 15, at the church, 8501 Honeycutt Road, Raleigh. The festivities will include bounce houses, giant slides, face painting, balloon animals, food and a fire truck. Live music will be provided by the Kickin Grass Band. For more information, call 919-847-1536 or visit www.nrumc.org.

Windborne United Methodist is encouraging people to bring a friend or come for the first time, Sunday, Sept. 15 as part of National Back to Church Sunday. The morning will begin with a coffee and donut social and include a blended worship service at 10:30 a.m. with a family potluck dinner after the service. For more information, call 919-386-0212 or visit www.windborneumc.org.

National Christian Foundation grants

The Raleigh chapter of the National Christian Foundation recently awarded $250 grants to Raleigh Rescue Mission and Raleigh City Farm through the Abundance Foundation.

The grants were given at an event that NCF of Raleigh co-sponsored, featuring Chick-fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy. More than 1,500 people attended the event at Hope Community Church in Raleigh to hear Cathy speak about corporate stewardship.

NCF is a nationwide grant-making network that funds ministries, nonprofits and churches recommended by their givers. Contact Alanna Linden at 919-438-0350 or visit raleigh.nationalchristian.com/home for more information.

Do you have some faith news to share? Send it to correspondent Jennifer Gregory at nrnews@newsobserver.com.