FOUNDING AND HISTORY
Mercy exists as an extension of the local Christian community and seeks to be an avenue of ministry for area churches. The vision for this ministry began to form in the fall of 1999 when God brought together a small group of individuals with a common desire to use medicine as a doorway to minister the needs of the low-income uninsured in Athens, Georgia. For two years, this small group continued to pray about their vision, and as they did so, their group expanded.
On September 10, 2001, Mercy opened with a prayer, and volunteers began to care for the medical, emotional, spiritual, and pharmacy needs of the patients who arrived. Sunday school classrooms at Redeemer Presbyterian Church served as makeshift exam rooms and an office became the pharmacy.
Our patient volume has continued to grow, and in July of 2007, Mercy Health Center moved to its own facility. We have medical clinics scheduled throughout the week during regular administrative hours, and Tuesday-Thursday evenings. We also have pharmacy refill clinic on Wednesday mornings and Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday evenings. Dental clinics are held on Fridays. In 2015, 10,479 patient visits were provided.
“Through a community of volunteers, Mercy provides quality, whole-person healthcare in a Christ-centered environment to our underserved neighbors.”
In his time on Earth, Jesus Christ validated the dignity of human beings by taking on human form and concerning himself with feeding, clothing, and healing the people around him, especially those without economic or social resources. In our time, God has given us the talents and resources to minister specifically to physical needs. In caring for the body, we seek opportunities to minister to the eternally important spiritual needs of individuals.
Christ Centered– We believe that in Jesus Christ the love, mercy and grace of God are made known to us and to all people (Rom. 5:1-2). We seek to follow him – in his identification with and compassion for the poor, the afflicted, and the marginalized (Matt. 11:5; Luke 4:18; 6:20; 14:13); in his desire for the physical, emotional, and spiritual wholeness of each individual; in his call to share our resources and talents with each other (Phil. 4:9-19). We look to the Lord as the ultimate author, leader, and guide of all we undertake. Our purpose, vision, ministries, and decisions are nurtured in prayer, seeking the direction and wisdom of the Lord (Isaiah 28:29; Eph. 2:10; James 1:5).
Value each Person– We regard all people as created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26-27). Therefore, we recognize and act in ways that respect the dignity, uniqueness and intrinsic worth of every individual with whom we come in contact (our patients, donors, community partners, our own staff and volunteers and their families) (Rom. 12:10). We believe we are strengthened by each person’s unique personality, culture, and contribution. We seek to understand the situation of the under-served and work alongside them toward fullness of life (1 Cor. 12:23). We practice a participative, open, and enabling style in working relationships. We encourage the professional, personal, and spiritual development of our staff, volunteers, and patients (Eph. 4:15). We seek opportunities to facilitate engagement between the underserved and the Christian community that opens both to transformation. We respect the underserved as active participants, not passive recipients, in this relationship (John 13:34; 15:12-17; 1 John 4:7-8).
Seek Excellence in all we do– We believe that excellence honors God and therefore strive for it in everything we undertake. We endeavor to provide outstanding care and are continuously looking for ways to improve the processes and services we provide. We maintain an attitude of learning, reflection, and discovery in order to grow in understanding and skill (Col. 3:17).
Faithful Steward of all we have– We believe that the resources at our disposal are not our own. Therefore, we live as faithful stewards of all our material resources, time, energy and talents. We desire to give our volunteers, patients, and staff opportunities to use their God-given gifts and talents. We act in accordance with the highest standards of ethical practice and financial integrity (Psalm 8:6-8; Gen. 1:27-28).
Motivated by love for one another– We take seriously God’s command to love one another. From the overflowing abundance of God’s love we find our motivation and ability to serve others (1 John 4:11; Gal. 5:13). We strive to develop caring, supportive relationships with our patients, volunteers, staff, supporters, churches and community partners. We follow the model Jesus provided through his love for all people without discrimination or conditions (John 4:4-30); in his example of servanthood (John 13:5-15); and in his offer of new life through faith in him (Rom. 6:4, 23). Through our belief and practice, we bear witness to the redemption offered through faith in Jesus Christ (Titus 2:11-14).