Clinic offers opportunities to witness

"Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms," our God tells us in 1 Peter 4:10. In this spirit, the Granville Neighborhood Health Center had its beginning. As Pastor Ken Fisher of Risen Savior, Milwaukee (Granville community), Wis., puts it: "God brought people together who shared a common passion for showing Christ's love to others and putting their unique gifts to work."

A collaboration between Risen Savior and Wisconsin Lutheran College (WLC), Milwaukee, the center works "to provide free health care services, out of Christian compassion, to the people of the Granville community who are uninsured."

The idea for the clinic began when Risen Savior member Margo Ulrich, who directs the congregation's pregnancy counseling center, learned of the difficulty neighborhood residents had in obtaining proper health care, because they lacked insurance. With encouragement from Fisher, she began to pursue the idea of a clinic. Meanwhile, Rebekah Carey, head of WLC's nursing program, asked Risen Savior if WLC students could assess their school's children as part of the pediatric clinical rotation.

A connection was made, and the first official brainstorming session was held in December 2007. Community leaders from all interested parties—including an alderman and state senator, major donors, African-American health care leaders, and community partners—attended.

After much planning, the Granville Neighborhood Health Center opened on April 25, 2009. Located in Risen Savior's school gymnasium, the clinic is accessible, secure, and linked to the church and school. Open one Saturday a month, the center provides screenings for blood pressure, blood glucose, and depression; school and flu immunizations; management of minor illnesses; and management of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol.

The center not only serves as a clinical rotation site for nursing students but also provides volunteer opportunities for all WLC students and members of Risen Savior or other WELS congregations.

"Overall, we have been abundantly blessed," Carey reflects, "and the good Lord has opened doors in ways we never imagined possible! Funding will always be a challenge, but the Lord has provided thus far. Volunteers have stepped up all over the place, and we hope and pray that continues."

"Our ultimate goal is to give WELS people an opportunity to witness to the community through their words and actions," Fisher shares. "I have had many nurses and health care professionals explain to me how excited they are to be able to put their gifts to work and actually tell people about Christ as they are doing it."

To learn more or to volunteer, call 262-385-5138 or send an e-mail to granvillehealthcenter@hotmail.com.


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