In March, I shared a Conference-wide initiative of the Southern New England Conference UCC to eliminate medical debt in some of the communities around us most in need.  Mission and Witness donated on behalf of our congregation.  Some wonderful news came out this week that we should all know and celebrate.  

“A collaborative effort by 122 United Church of Christ congregations, four Associations, and more than 100 households in the Southern New England Conference has abolished $26.2 million in medical debt. Two separate buys benefited families in seven states and first responders around the country. All will soon be receiving letters telling them that their medical debt has been forgiven.” 

When we watch the news these days and may have heavy hearts, it’s important to know that our efforts to help people in need have made a huge difference in the lives of many.  Again here’s some specifics:

“A Conference-wide fundraising campaign in Connecticut, Massachusetts and Rhode Island, birthed before the pandemic, along with a contribution from the UCC National Setting, raised over $200,000. The gifts were sent to the New-York based nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, which bought up debt in August for pennies on the dollar in 65 counties in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, New York, Rhode Island and Vermont.

That purchase wiped out $8.4 million in medical debt for 7,175 households, with the average forgiven being $1,171.

A second purchase funneled $107,000 of the church donations into a new fund created to respond to COVID-19, and eliminated another $17.8 million in debt for 12,144 health care workers and first responders across the United States. Texas, Oklahoma, Michigan and Georgia were the top four states represented, with average debt forgiven being $1,466.” 

If you would like to watch the entire Zoom Press Conference and read the article with all the details, please visit our SNEUCC Conference website.   When we give to our church, we become part of something so much larger.  Our efforts unite with one another to do so much good in the world.  So I hope that this example provides a tangible reminder that we can truly be the church, especially in times like these. 

Pastor Lauren  

(This Week’s Thoughts 10.29.20)