by Peg O’Connell
Last Wednesday, I was privileged to be part of the first meeting of Care4Carolina’s new Faith Advisory Council. The FAC is a group of faith leaders from across the state who are adding their voices to the call for a North Carolina solution to close the coverage gap.
The group came together to talk about the situation faced by the 600,000-750,000 North Carolinians who find themselves with no affordable option to buy health insurance. We talk about this a lot at Care4Carolina, it is our mission. We usually discuss the issue in terms of public health or economic impact, but this group talked about the issue differently. These faith leaders used terms like “caring,” “compassion,” “brothers and sister,” “service to others.”
It was uplifting for me to hear this important matter described in such frank and faith-filled terms. When you have been around the political world as long as I have, it is easy to become jaded. I was glad to be reminded, by these men and women from communities of faith, why we do what we do at Care4Carolina. Finding a solution for covering the uninsured in our state is about helping our neighbors and our friends, it truly is about being “our brother’s keeper.”
The Faith Advisory Council is chaired by the Rev. James Brigman of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Rockingham. He is a champion for improving access to health care. A few years back he walked to Washington from his home on the South Carolina line to shine a spotlight on the healthcare needs of the medically fragile. He is joined on the Council by Rev. George Reed, Father Bob Hudak, Rev. Jaye White, Elder Conrad Pridgen, Rev. Wes Pitts, Deacon Sallie Simpson, Rev. Andrew Taylor-Troutman, and Rev. Reginald Keitt. Each of these members brings strong heart and feels called to serve those in need in our state.
The purpose of the FAC is to raise the voices of clergy and congregations across the state in support of closing the health insurance coverage gap. The four tenants of the Council are Educate, Activate, Preach and Pray. Over the coming months, the members of the Council will help guide C4C’s outreach to additional communities of faith, serve as local spokespeople on the issue, help us organize and implement a day of prayer across the state and most importantly PRAY!
You will be hearing more about the work of the Faith Advisory Council in these next few months. Our first goal is to have 100 communities of faith sign on in support of closing the health insurance gap. If you are a member of a congregation that would like to become part of these important efforts, go to the ACT NOW page and click the FAITH COMMUNITY button.
In the interim, keep the faith and pray. Pray for those in our state who want nothing more than the security of having health insurance when they need it. You will be in some very good company.