Oviedo church clears more than $1.5 million in medical debt for 1,000-plus families

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OVIEDO–CrossLife Church in Oviedo is clearing more than $1.5 million in crippling medical debt for more than 1,000 families in Oviedo, Chuluota and Orlando. 

Letters will soon arrive in many of their neighbors’ mailboxes stating their outstanding balances have been erased. 

“With all the unknowns Americans are faced with today, the delivery of this information to families could not have come at a better time,” said Dwayne Mercer, pastor of CrossLife Church for the past 27 years. 

Impacting the community in a positive way is a priority for CrossLife Church during the Christmas season. In 2018, church members gave to the Christmas Eve offering to purchase video cameras for local schools.

The 2019 Christmas Eve offering encouraged the congregation to give to resolve the overwhelming medical debt so many families were facing. 

Mercer said he was not surprised by the generosity of his congregation, noting that they “blew past” their original goal, raising more than $10,000 that day. Additional gifts to the offering were received after the Christmas Eve service. Funds received over the goal enabled the church to help more families. 

The congregation worked with RIP Medical Debt, a New York-based charity, to purchase and resolve the debt with zero tax impact on the families. The charity buys medical debts for pennies on the dollar, which allows debts to be forgiven altogether when purchased. 

CrossLife ChurchThroughout the process, the anonymity of the families is maintained. 

Mercer said the church is grateful that these “notifications will bring hope and good news to their neighbors and are thankful for the generous congregation in helping see this relief brought to life.”

CrossLife Church, originally First Baptist Church in Oviedo, has been a landmark in Central Florida community for more than 150 years. The church is committed to improving the lives of those living in surrounding areas. 

The pastor said that ministering to physical needs in the community creates “good will and has opened up many conversations about the gospel.  People say, ‘we know about that church,’ and that opens the door to share the gospel.”

By Kelsie Chartier, CrossLife Church, May 7, 2020 | Photos taken by Emely Williams Photography

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