Archive for the tag “This is Our City”

The Great Physicians of Detroit

In the heart of a failing city, health care is a critical need — and a strategic opportunity for God’s people to show, in word and deed, the Father’s great love for his children. Covenant Community Care, the only faith-based, federally funded health center in Michigan, is doing just that in Detroit.

detroit cccStefanie A. Bohde reports for CT’s This Is Our City:

Like most players on Detroit’s economic stage, Covenant Community Care (CCC) arose out of community demand. Across Detroit neighborhoods, from burgeoning Midtown to the West Village Historic District, entrepreneurs rise to meet the needs and desires of their consumer base. They open restaurants and decorate storefronts, money exchanging hands to pay for lattes or handmade goods.

But what happens when most of your customers can’t pay?

That was the dilemma facing Kathy Kleinert, DO, in 1999. After one Sunday service at Messiah Church in Southwest Detroit, the general practitioner noted to Pastor Bob Hoey her growing concerns about their surrounding neighbors. Kleinert had made house calls and even treated people in the street, and was especially conscious of those without insurance, all the while ignoring their inability to pay and poor hygiene. She always shared Christ, praying for clients and trying to point them to a local church. As she became aware of people without necessary medical care, she became increasingly driven to provide it. And she told Hoey that she’d treat all people, regardless of their ability to pay.

Thus Kleinert became the founding physician of one of Detroit’s largest health clinics operating on small co-pays and large amounts of grace.

“We try to treat each client as if they are Christ, regardless of their ability to pay,” says Hoey, co-founder of CCC and pastor of Messiah Church (part of the Evangelical Covenant denomination) for 18 years.

Opening in 1999, CCC is the only faith-based, federally funded health center in the state of Michigan. Although there are many free faith-based clinics throughout the state, they tend to be much smaller and volunteer-run. By contrast, all of CCC’s doctors and dentists are employed. And with 100 employees, the clinic has doubled in size every two years. CCC serves approximately 10,000 Detroiters annually in a city with approximately 200,000 residents who lack adequate health care.

“There’s a tremendous need in the community, and we want to meet our consumer demand, caring for as many people who come in,” said Paul Propson, CCC’s executive director. “If we could hire more doctors now, we’d see more people today. A lot of people are waiting to be seen.” …

CCC’s mission statement—”To show and share the love of God, as seen in the Good News of Jesus Christ, by providing integrated, affordable and quality health care to those who need it most”—is embossed in large letters behind the front desk. CCC staff member Rosie Verde Rios says patients frequently read the words, nodding to themselves, and comment to her after their appointment that they notice the difference.

“Our doctors are Covenant Community Care’s greatest strength. They most perfectly demonstrate the Christian witness,” says Paul Propson, CCC’s executive director. “They take time every day to model Jesus’ love for people.”

Best told me of a patient who was referred to CCC after being released from the hospital after suffering a heart attack. The staff worked with the patient to qualify for Medicaid, but were ultimately unable to secure it. Through several different avenues, their staff was able to get this patient all of his medicine free of charge, medicine that ordinarily would have totaled upward of $500.

“God has blessed our organization with tremendous gifts—financial gifts and blessings, as well as fulfilling needs. He’s been our provider,” said Propson. “We attribute our success in caring for people in God’s foundational love for Detroit. God loves Detroit. He’s looking for people to be his hands and feet to care for those he loves.”

At that, Propson paused for a second, mulling the words over a bit. “If we had another name for CCC, it would be God Loves Detroit Health Center.”

Read the full text of this excellent article by clicking here.

Learn more about the ministry of Covenant Community Care by clicking here.

Want to use your healthcare skills to help people in need? Click here.

‘Pay well, provide benefits, invest in lives’

Chris Horst reports for CT’s This Is Our City:

Sandwiched between rail lines and a tire depot, the Blender Products factory hides in a quiet neighborhood in Denver. The nondescript warehouse looks from the outside as nondescript as most warehouses do. But the way Steve Hill and Jim Howey lead inside the building is unusual in an industry known for top-down hierarchies of management.

“The metal fabrication business is extremely cutthroat,” says Hill. “Workers are given a singular task, and maximum output is demanded. They’re simply a factor of production. As a general rule, they have no access to management. There is very little crossover between guys on the floor and guys in the offices.”

Hill and Howey aim to subvert the us-versus-them mentality. Many days they walk the shop floor, engaging their workers as peers. Employees on the floor are treated as importantly as the managers, undermining the adversarial culture simmering in many manufacturing businesses.

“The company has tried to abide by a simple philosophy concerning our employees,” Steve said. “Pay them well, provide great benefits, and invest in lives. . . . The guys in our shop . . . know that I’m a human too. I have many of the same struggles they do. Showing humanness to people is key to disarming those stereotypes.”

Extraordinary moments of God’s grace abound. One longstanding Blender employee endured a season of family crisis. In that moment, he turned to those closest to him for support, prayer, and care. For him, those people were his colleagues. He openly shared his pain and his managers prayed for him and helped him find his footing. Baptized soon thereafter, the employee’s tragedy has been redeemed, forever changing the trajectory of his life.

Read the full article by clicking here.

About the article, Owen Strachan writes:

Christians who believe in the rightness of the free market nonetheless must also … care about workers, people, those whom God has invested with meaning and purpose and talent. The Blender Products leaders, Steve Hill and Jim Howey, clearly get that. It’s beautiful to read their story along these lines.

… The best program of social uplift I know of is one that involves marriage, hard work, and earning money, and there should be absolutely no shame in such things (contra what we are encouraged to feel today). But the Bible seems to be pretty clear about the need to be fair and even kind to others who need to earn money (see 1 Timothy 5:18).

In fact, let’s sharpen the point: Christian employers should be widely known for how well they treat their employees. Failure on this point is not a small matter. In the broader world and the political-cultural realm, we should be known not only for our belief in meaningful work and money-earning, but for our advocacy on behalf of the weak, including employees who are mistreated and who need appropriate representation.

The image of God means we can work, create, be entrepreneurs, be day laborers, be manufacturers, homemakers, bosses, ad consultants, teachers, and so much more. The gospel creates a love for such work in Jesus’s name, and a desire to bring others to the flourishing and spiritual life they can never find outside of the workplace of God, the kingdom of Christ.

Read the full article by clicking here.

‘All I was good for was sex’

This is our City shares the story of Jessica Richardson, who as a teenager was working at a restaurant when she was deceived into joining a charming man on his “travels.” Jessica, who had been sexually abused as a child and lost her father when she was 10, was easy prey, and he turned her out into prostitution and pornography.

Now a follower of Jesus and member of City Bible Church in east Portland, Jessica is one of the best-known survivors in the city, speaking to churches and schools to expose the lie that says anyone is only good for sex and testify to Christ’s transforming love and acceptance.

You will be deeply moved by Jessica’s transparency about her struggles, her life on the street, and the freedom, hope, and joy she has discovered through Christian community. After watching Jessica’s video testimony here, you can read a Q&A with her here.

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