This week it was announced that almost 6,000 Chicago families on the South Side of Chicago have had their medical debt forgiven through a fund-raising effort by Trinity UCC on Chicago’s South Side, St. Paul’s UCC in Chicago, Covenant UCC in Illinois, and the UCC along with a group of Baptist Churches. Together they raised $5.3 million that went to 5,888 Chicago families below the poverty level, whose medical debt averaged $907. Qualifying residents in three zip codes were chosen, according to Rev. Otis Moss from Trinity, our denomination’s largest congregation.
The group of Chicago churches raised $38,000 through a summer-long series of fund-raisers, and then they bought the medical debt for pennies on the dollar. Moss said, ”Because of your generosity, thousands of families in Chicago will now be free to pursue dreams and celebrate this holiday season without the weight of medical debt.”
"Sometimes it seems there is very little grace in the world," said the Rev. Matt Fitzgerald, senior pastor of St. Pauls. "Or at least, we don't give each other much grace. What joy to open a letter saying, 'Your debt has been forgiven,' instead of a letter saying, 'We're coming after you. Pay up.' Saint Pauls is so happy to be part of this effort. I hope what is happening here inspires other churches to buy up medical debt. It's like Jesus feeding thousands of people from a few loaves of bread and two fish. We just watched $38,000 become more than $5 million.”
I read this story on the UCC website and I bring it to your attention as an example of what people of faith can accomplish when they see needs in the community and refuse to be overwhelmed, but look creatively at how to address them.
It’s a little like our Pumpkin Patch. We are helping the Navajo Nation, local school children, and Pilgrim Church when volunteers sit outside selling pumpkins every day. But something else is happening in the Patch. We are demonstrating who we are and what our values are. Living your faith out loud is the best advertisement for the Gospel.
Supper Invitation: If you have worked at the Patch during September or October, we’d like to invite you to a Potluck Supper for Patch volunteers. Sunday November 3 at 5:30 p.m. at our house - 16 Periwinkle Way Harwich.
If you RSVP it’s a help. But don’t stay home if you forget. Sign up outside my office door or call the church office 508 432 1668.