Disaster Response: Responding to Hurricane Idalia | Early Response Teams needed

Mulberry Street UMC helps clear $1 million in medical debt for middle Georgia families


By Kelly Roberson
Mulberry Street United Methodist Church in Macon, Ga. is kicking off their annual stewardship campaign in a little different fashion. For three weeks this Fall, they are sharing stories of how giving makes a difference as church members live out their mission to share the heart of God from the heart of downtown Macon by fostering healing for the broken places of life. 
As part of this focus on giving, the church is turning its attention outward to its community and has launched a campaign to clear more than $1 million in medical debt for individuals and families in Middle and South Georgia. Mulberry St. UMC is partnering with RIP Medical Debt, an organization that will secure medical debt—preventing it from going to debt collectors—and abolish it completely.  
“For our stewardship campaign this year we wanted to do something that says, ‘We’re not your average church,’” said Rev. Peyton Stone, associate pastor of Mulberry St. UMC. “We wanted to do something that makes a tangible difference in our community and something worthy of our support. In order to do this, we are partnering with RIP Medical Debt to abolish medical debt in our community. This organization does life changing work, and we are excited to support them in their mission.” 
According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation, people in the United States have at least $195 billion in medical debt. The survey says 16 million Americans owe over $1,000 while 3 million owe more than $10,000.
Mulberry St. UMC’s campaign began September 11 and will run through September 24. With the help of RIP Medical Debt, every dollar donated will be converted to $100 of debt relief.  
“At Mulberry St. UMC, we foster healing for the broken places of life,” said Dr. Ted Goshorn, senior pastor of Mulberry St. UMC. “We are thrilled to partner with RIP Medical Debt to heal the brokenness experienced by our neighbors in Central Georgia who bear the burden of onerous medical debt. Mulberry enjoys strong community support, and we look forward to seeing not only our church, but the community of Macon, respond to this life-changing opportunity.” 
With an initial goal of $12,000, Mulberry St. UMC secured a generous donation of $6,000 that matched the first $6,000 in donations. Ten thousand of this will go directly to abolish medical debt in Bibb County and other counties in Middle and South Georgia, and another two thousand will support RIP Medical Debt and their administrative costs. 
After just one Sunday of the campaign, Mulberry St. UMC members and other community donors met their $12,000 goal on Sunday, September 17. With one more week left to go in their campaign, church leaders announced a “stretch goal” of $15,000.  
“This morning, Ted challenged Mulberry to meet the $12,000 goal for our giving campaign for RIP Medical Debt, and we have now passed our original goal!” said a post on the church’s Facebook page. “We are excited for individuals and families in Middle and South Georgia to have their lives changed because of your generosity; through your giving, over $1 million dollars of debt will be abolished! Since we have one more week left in our campaign supporting RIP Medical Debt, we are excited to announce our "stretch goal" of $15,000!” 
This outward focus comes as part of Mulberry St. UMC’s new shared rhythms, a way to set high expectations of themselves as they live out who God is calling each person to be: weekly worship, weekly discipleship, monthly service, and monthly giving.   
“These are rhythms that we as members adopt in order to encourage each other to grow in our faith, in our relationship with our church family, and in our capacity to serve the community,” said Dr. Goshorn. “By committing ourselves to these rhythms - these high expectations - we create space for God to make us evermore a healing presence in our community. And, after all, that’s what we are about.” 
About RIP MEDICAL DEBT: Since being founded in 2014 by two former debt collectors, RIP Medical Debt has acquired — and abolished — more than $6.7 billion of burdensome medical debt, helping over 3.6 million families and addressing a major social determinant of health. RIP partners with individuals, faith-based organizations, foundations, and corporations and empowers donors by converting every dollar contributed into $100 of medical debt relief on average. RIP partners with hospitals and health systems and physician groups to acquire medical debt for abolishment. RIP rose to national prominence on an episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” with John Oliver in which RIP facilitated the abolishment of $15M in medical debt. 
Kelly Roberson is the Director of Communications/Conference Ministries for the South Georgia Conference. She can be reached at


Stay in the know

Sign up for our newsletters


Conference Office

3040 Riverside Dr., Suite A-2 - Macon, GA 31210


Administrative Office

3040 Riverside Dr., Suite A-2 - Macon, GA 31210


Camping & Retreat Ministries

99 Arthur J. Moore Dr - St Simons Is., GA 31522

PO Box 20408 - - St Simons Is., GA 31522


Contact us

Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.