By Betty Backstrom
United Methodist News Service
“This is cutting edge ministry,” said Thomas, pastor of
“Many of the residents are uninsured and need free health care,” said the Rev. Carol Winn Crawford, pastor of
An African-American couple with a young child visited with church volunteers while waiting to see the doctor at the clinic’s opening. During the conversation, volunteers learned the family was homeless and in need of food.
“We were able to provide food items from the
The free clinic will serve former residents who have returned to the central city area and growing numbers of Hispanic workers participating in the reconstruction of homes and businesses.
“We hope not only to provide medical help, but to wrap them into the conference’s Hispanic ministry,” said Rev. Oscar Ramos-Gallardo, a United Methodist Board of Global Ministries missionary helping to expand established Hispanic ministries in
Dr. Susan Berry, medical director for the clinic and a member of Rayne, was amazed at how everything fell into place so the clinic could open quickly.
“A lot of hard work certainly paid off, but it was remarkable that things just seemed to work out miraculously,” said Dr.
One of those little miracles involved Dr. Betty Lo, a professor in the Medical/Pediatrics Department at the
Other key elements needed for the clinic seemed to fall into place in the weeks before the opening. Luke’s House will be working with the St. Vincent de Paul Pharmacy to obtain medications for patients.
“We received close to 1,000 pounds of donated supplies from a physician in upstate
Volunteers from as far away as
“Dr. Jim Jantzen and his wife, Amy, who is a registered nurse, not only helped to staff the clinic, but helped set up the clinic before we opened on Tuesday. Several volunteers from
Since December 2005, a total of 10 teams from
“We became very close to the teams from
Private donations and a grant for $84,000 from the Methodist Health System Foundation in
“Luke’s House is a unique development because we provide care in a comprehensive way by offering medical services, mental health counseling and pastoral counseling. Offering all this and caring for each individual in the spirit of God’s love truly makes this a healing ministry,” said Bock, who most recently served in a free clinic in
“One thing I am sure of,” Bock said, “is that we have the capacity and the resources in this country to make clinics like this one a reality. Countries like
The Rev. Larry Norman, director of Louisiana Volunteers in
“The teams will be critical in the success of the project, which will be volunteer-driven. We’ve already been in conversation with a team from
The clinic serves as a medical facility during the week and a sanctuary on Sunday.
“Our church, badly damaged by Hurricane Katrina, is still in need of repair,” Thomas said. “So this examination area is like a M.A.S.H. unit, which we take down before services and put back up again to serve patients during the week. Once we can get appropriate funding to repair the sanctuary, this area will be devoted fully to Luke’s House.”