All the great religions speak about healing. Sometimes that means spiritual well-being and sometimes it means physical health. But even when it refers mostly to mental, emotional or spiritual wellness there is a widespread recognition that physical health is important to achieve that kind of wellness.
So faith communities historically have been behind many of the efforts to provide health care. It's hard (though not impossible), for instance, to name a hospital in the Kansas City area that doesn't have faith-based roots -- from St. Luke's (Episcopal) to Menorah (Jewish) to Shawnee Mission Medical Center (Seveth-Day Adventist) to St. Joseph Medical Center (Catholic).
And it's one reason my own congregation, Second Presbyterian Church, recently invited representatives of Kansas City Care Clinic (former the KC Free Clinic) to speak to an adult education class about the services the clinic provides to the city's needy citizens.
I was speaking at another church the day Kirk Isenhour and Sarah Baum from KC Care came to speak so I took the opportunity the other day to join a few other Second Church members for a tour of KC Care, just south of 35th and Broadway. Sarah showed us around.
It's quite an amazing place, and it depends on generous donations from individuals and others for a substantial portion of its budget.
Last year KC Care served nearly 11,000 patients with more than 100 full- and part-time staff members. Those numbers would not be possible if it were not for the nearly 1,000 volunteers who worked more than 46,000 hours over the year.
KC Care began in 1971 as the Westport Free Health Clinic, and has grown and changed over the years as conditions and needs have changed.
Recently it has adapted again, this time because of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. Until now, the clinic served only people who had no health insurance. Now it accepts patients on Medicaid, and has removed the word "free" from its name.
KC Care fills a big need in our community, and although its roots are secular in nature, it is doing the very kind of work that faith communities support -- healing.
So if your congregation is looking for ways to get behind the work of healing, its leaders should look into KC Care.
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75 YEARS AFTER KRISTALLNACHT, IT'S NOT OVER
So you're thinking that maybe amtisemitism is dead in the U.S.? Think again. Have a look at what's been happening in a school district north of New York City, according to this New York Times report. As the song says, children must be taught to hate. Wonder who's been teaching them.