An American church has raised more than A$750,000 to pay off the medical bills of hundreds of families in its community.
Around 10,000 people donated to the First-Plymouth Congregational Church fund in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Many of the donors were not church members.
The church leadership initially hoped to raise around A$12,000 but then their 14-month campaign went viral and donations soared.
Senior Pastor Jim Keck announced in his Easter sermon that more than 500 local households were now free of their medical debts thanks to the fundraiser that ran from March 2022 to Easter 2023.
“You wouldn’t think a pastor would do this. I underestimated people’s generosity,” he told a local newspapers.
“Sometimes love has to be expressed in actions. We have had an initiative all year that is just love on the move,” Pastor Keck proclaimed in his Easter sermon.
“The church decided that there were too many homes right in our neighbourhood that were saddled with medical debt and every dime that went into the collection plate would go to forgive the medical debt of those homes,” he explained.
“The debt collector agreed to give us anonymous profiles to keep people’s privacy. There was no screening of people. It was an act of pure inclusion, which is such a central ethic here,” Pastor Keck added.
He said the initiative follows the words of Jesus who called on his followers to “love their neighbour.”
“This is like the Lord’s Prayer in action to forgive us our debts,” he said.
The campaign was carried out in conjunction with the Debtor’s Defense Project which works to provide “more transparency and protection for those going through the legal process of debt collection in Nebraska.”
The Christian Post reports other churches across the US have teamed up with non-profit groups that buy medical debts and help people become free of their liabilities to hospitals, clinics and doctors.
They have paid off thousands of medical bills worth tens of millions of dollars.