Letter to the Editor: Hope & Healing – Event raises $15,881 for medical debt relief

February 2023 Posted in Events & Holidays, Opinion / Columnists

A vision of a diverse faith community finding common ground came to life on Jan. 15. 

Approximately 170 people of faith from around the Silverton area gathered with common goals: to be able to join together in worship and celebration, and to push the goal of paying all of Oregon’s secured secondary medical debt. 

Donna Rue and John Dallum worked on the vision for more than six months, setting the stage for it to be taken up by the faith communities.

For the Hope & Healing event. 14 churches of various denominations participated in a fundraising drive: New Hope Foursquare, First Christian, Latter Day Saints, Immanuel Lutheran, First United Methodist, Oak Street, Silverton Friends, Silver Creek Fellowship, Trinity Lutheran, Young Life, Assembly of God, Nazarene, and two churches which asked to remain anonymous because they believe good works should remain anonymous.

Working with RIP Medical Debt, a nonprofit that helps relieve the most vulnerable suffering under weight of medical debts, the goal for the event was to raise the $15,000 to “buy” or pay off $1.5 million worth of secured medical debt. The goal was exceeded.

The goal had been set as the estimated amount needed to unburden Oregonians saddled with stifling medical debts referred to collections. The type of medical debt targeted can often be bought out for pennies on the dollar.

This is the first time RIP Medical Debt has worked in Oregon. With giving from churches, individuals and the freewill offering of the night, the unofficial figure is $15,881 collected. 

The Hope & Healing program was successful because of the combined contributions of support, talent and shared vision to do something positive together, according to organizers. The night was filled with joyful music, inspirational speakers and healing stories. Prayers were offered for the community and the world, as well as individuals. 

The first speaker, Pastor Isaac Hovet of New Hope, said that everyone was a little uncomfortable because the gathering would not look familiar to any – and that was OK. The second speaker, Pastor Melissa Reed, Bishop’s Associate of the Oregon Synod sadded that all were theologians, and that participants were embodying “synodos,” Greek for on the road together. Dan Schacher of Gear Up was master of ceremonies. The vision came to life, organizers reported, because everyone embraced the vision of Hope & Healing.

– Dorothy Nielsen

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.