sharing the good news of social justice

About “Health Care and Faith” February 8, 2010

Join our new “Health Care and Faith” bible study series!

  • What words, concerns and reservations come to your mind when you hear the phrase “health care”?
  • Do you worry about your health, your family’s health?
  • Do you wonder, as you listen to the news, how your faith relates to the health care debates that you hear?


In this five week study, you’ll have an opportunity to learn, listen, and share your own hopes about what health (and being healthy in America) means to faith.  You’ll hear the personal stories of fellow United Methodists from across Ohio who have experienced firsthand what it means to think about health care as people of faith.

Doctors, lay people, pastors, small business owners, and advocates will share with us, and we’ll respond by listening for God’s voice, asking, “How should we respond?”  We’ll read scripture, consider John Wesley’s perspective on the importance of health care to Methodists, and pray together.

Topics for Each Session: Why Affordability, Accessiblity, Inclusivity?

Our Council of Bishops has called for legislative health care reform in the United States that is inclusive, affordable, accessible, and accountable. Each session will approach the question of how health care relates to faith through these lenses.

  • What does it mean for care to be inclusive?
  • What are the benefits and downsides to this?
  • What is affordability?
  • What does accessibility require of us?
  • How can such a system be accountable?

We will approach each topic from the perspective of scripture, listening for a Word of deep hope and meaningful justice.  We will discuss what such health care meant in the past, as well as what it means to us today in our own neighborhoods and communities.

Why is this study important NOW?

Federal health care reform passed on March 23, 2010, but the long road that led up to that moment still stretches ahead of us.  Every day, over one million Ohioans go without needed medical care because they can’t afford it. In 2008, 1.2 million or 15.6 percent of Ohioans were without health insurance .  Today Ohio is facing an 11% unemployment rate, forcing more Ohioans to lose their employer-sponsored coverage and join the ranks of the uninsured.  In addition, many Ohioans with insurance go without needed care or face financial ruin because of high deductibles and coverage restrictions leave them unprotected when they need health care.


As Ohio and our nation look into our future, we know that as people who follow Jesus, we worry about the ways in which the poor and the marginalized have not received health care that they need.   Health care reform is now law, but if we do not understand both what it includes and how we can faithfully respond to the enactment of this reform, we will be unable to serve those who most desperately seek to find physical, mental, and spiritual health in our churches.

What is the Purpose of this Health Care Study?

The purpose of this study is to help West Ohio United Methodists think carefully and faithfully about the topic of health care, which is so central to our current environment – politically and geographically.  We all interact with the health care system during our lives.  We journey with the Christ who called himself the Great Physician, our hands ministering to God’s children in Ohio, where many do not find the healing they need because of the brokenness of our health care system.


We also hope to help our churches learn about the innovative and creative ministries of health already occurring in our midst because of the quiet and dedicated work of United Methodists across our conference.  Part of our faithful response may be to envision new ways of providing health ministry or of partnering with our brothers and sisters who have set up ministries in our communities.


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