February 9th, 2011
07:23 PM ET
By John Murgatroyd, CNN
The faith community surrounding Atlanta played host to first lady Michelle Obama for a speech marking the first anniversary of her Let’s Move initiative.
Let’s Move is a program to get children to live more active lifestyles and eat healthier.
Co-hosts were Northpoint Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia, and Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Georgia. She spoke in Alpharetta.
“No matter your religious persuasion or political persuasion, we all believe as our children go, so does the nation and as our children’s health goes, so does the nation,” said Andy Stanley, Northpoint’s senior pastor.
“Children are a gift from God. Each one deserves to live life to the fullest and see their dreams come true,” said Cynthia Hale, pastor at Ray of Hope. “Ray of Hope joins with Mrs. Obama in creating healthy lifestyles for our families,” she said.
While her speech did not focus on the church’s mission within Let’s Move, Obama encouraged congregations to get involved with their parishioners.
“We’re supporting faith leaders who want to build healthier congregations,” she said. “So why not start an exercise ministry where folks inspire each other to get active. Or host cooking classes that teach families to prepare healthier meals."
“It was very inspiring,” said Atlanta resident Carla Lindsay. “I was a little surprised she came to the church, but I’m glad,” she said. Lindsay explained the message is being delivered in a family atmosphere, where it can spread.
“Being African-American, we are suffering being fed on tradition,” said Atlanta resident Shirley Simmons. She said it was “awesome” that Obama delivered her speech to the faith community.
“This (pointing to her body) is our temple. We only get one. You are what you eat,” Simmons said.
“I eat right, I exercise and I pray everyday,” said Michelle Wilson of Stockbridge, Georgia. Wilson, a nurse, said it’s a better way to live instead of living in a “microwave society where everything is so quick.”
Earlier in the day, the first lady visited Burgess-Peterson Academy in East Atlanta to discuss healthy eating with the students and visit the school's organic garden.
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