History, Mission and Organization
Local Church Health Ministries Leader Profile Leona Alderson
Leona Alderson taught home economics for 41 years-17 in elementary schools and 24 at Kingsway College. In 1991 she retired from teaching and has been conducting vegetarian nutrition classes in Oshawa, Ontario.
"We teach pure vegetarian cooking. That's what the public wants. No eggs, milk, or cheese. When people call to ask about our class, their first question is, 'Do you use dairy products?' Some say: 'I have a lactose intolerance,' or 'I want to be a vegan and I want to make sure I get the necessary nutrients without eggs,' or 'My doctor told me I must not eat eggs, especially the yolks, because of the cholesterol.' They seem very, very happy when I tell them we don't use any of these products."
When someone registers for the class, Leona asks them where they heard about it. She likes to know whether it was the newspaper, TV, a poster, or a friend. Many say something like this, "Well, we had a visiting pastor at our church last Sunday and she talked about protecting the environment. It was World Ecology Day and one thing she recommended was to quit eating animals." Then she gives Leona's name and telephone number and when the next class starts.
"She" is Susan Gange, pastor of the United Church. She has attended a total of six series. "I call Pastor Gange my PR person. She not only promotes our classes in her sermons but I send her posters which she puts up in her church."
There are more "PR" people. Bill belongs to the Christian Brethren Church. When he first saw the cooking class ad in the paper 11 years ago, he casually looked at it. He was interested but he didn't really want to come because he thought Adventists were a cult and he didn't want to get mixed up in a cult. His father had just recently died of a massive heart attack in the Ukraine. His family ate a lot of sausage loaded with fat. He cut the ad out of the paper and saved it. He said to himself, "The next time they advertise I'll take a chance." So, that fall, he came and he still comes-10 years later.
"He's another one of my PR people," says Leona. Last summer he was at a Bible camp and talked about the virtues of vegetarianism. He told a lady about this wonderful ooking class he had taken. She lives 100 miles from here. He expounded so eloquently that she decided to drive the long distance every night to participate."
"Last spring our classes were so big we couldn't really get acquainted with everybody so now we divide them into groups of six or eight with an Adventist facilitator in each group. We spend a portion of each program getting acquainted with them in small groups."
People all over the area are searching for the principles of vegetarianism that God has given to our church. Leona Alderson is doing her part and God is blessing this health outreach.
- DeWitt S. Williams