Local Churches Abolish over $5.2 Million of Families’ Medical Debts

Plymouth Congregational UCC
Plymouth Congregational UCC/Instagram

Families in Oklahoma and Kansas no longer feel the crushing weight of medical debt thanks to the United Church of Christ Kansas-Oklahoma Conference.

“As a result of our campaign that netted $40,000, with that $40,000 we were able to abolish $5,211,729 in medical debt” for over 3,200 families, conference president Bobbie Henderson of Tulsa said this week.

The funds were sent to nonprofit group RIP Medical Debt that purchased the debt at a discount and forgave the amount the families owed, the Associated Press (AP) reported.

The families will receive letters that read, “You may never enter the doors of one of our churches, but we are the United Church of Christ and we love you. … Most importantly, you are beloved by God and your debt has been forgiven.”

RIP Medical Debt’s website said its mission is to remove the burden of medical debt for people all over America.

“By forgiving this debt we strive to give struggling individuals, and their families, a fresh start. We hope to give those affected the ability to seek the continued medical care they need and help them back towards financial stability,” the site continued.

Lori Herpich, a member of Plymouth Congregational UCC in Lawrence, Kansas, said many people never think medical debt will affect them personally, adding that she and her husband are among those who have experienced it.

“The medical relief that UCC took part in is such important work. For some families to be able to feel that weight removed is indescribable and a true blessing,” Herpich stated.

Edith Guffey, a Kansas-Oklahoma Conference minister, said the conference participated in the program because “medical debt doesn’t care who you are or how you vote, or where you live.”

“The only thing that matters is if you can pay. Love of neighbor is easy to say, but it doesn’t pay the bills. What a gift to our members to have the opportunity to be a part of making a tangible difference in the lives of thousands of families throughout Kansas and Oklahoma,” she concluded.

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