(Indianapolis, Ind. – DNS – Aug. 18) – Members of the faith community will host a live webcast call-in on Wednesday, Aug. 19 that will lift up a variety of voices in the national debate about health care.
General Minister and President Sharon Watkins will be one of the participants on the call, along with Rev. Dr. Cynthia Hale, pastor of Ray of Hope Christian Church in Decatur, Ga. President Barack Obama was invited to join the call, and has accepted, making this the first time a President of the United States has spoken by phone to such a large number of people.
The live webcast – "40 Minutes for Health Reform" will allow people of faith to share their stories about health care in this country. The call is being hosted by a number of religious organizations, including Disciples Justice Action Network (DJAN), which is affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), and will involve religious leaders from diverse communities of faith.
Hale will offer a prayer during the webcast and Watkins will make a statement about the faith community’s critical role in encouraging legislators to create a health care system that is accessible and affordable for all. Clergy working in their own communities will follow Watkins’ comments, explaining ways that they are involved in working for a solution, and telling real-life stories of people who have been impacted by the present health care system. President Obama will speak directly to the faith community during the call. The call will include a question and answer session with a high-ranking Administration official on pressing issues for religious persons.
"Though our health care system is the best in the world for people who can afford it, too many people can’t afford it," said Watkins in explaining her interest in being part of the webcast. "Too many people – especially children – get sick and even die unnecessarily because good health care is beyond their reach. I just think we can do better, and I want us to try."
"The call will be an important, reasonable conversation about something that matters very much – a health care system accessible to all of us," Watkins continued. "While we sometimes differ about the approach, I think it is important that we all stay engaged in the conversation so that we can get a better deal for all."
Watkins has spoken out on the issue of health care reform a number of times. She recently wrote a letter to the Church reminding Disciples that Jesus’ ministry was one of healing, of bringing life to the dying, sight to the blind, and wellness to the sick. In the letter, she called on Disciples to contact their Senators and Representatives asking for affordable, accountable, and inclusive health care this year.
The webcast call-in will take place at 5 p.m., EDT tomorrow. To listen, log on to www.faithforhealth.org at the time of the call. Or, you may dial 347-996-5501 (no passcode, long distance charges may apply). Because of the large call volume that is expected, listening online is the preferred method. You may also RSVP for the call by going to: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1973/t/9336/signUp.jsp?key=4452
Contact: Wanda Bryant Wills
Executive Director of Communication Ministries