Rev. Matthew Best • Pastor, Christ Lutheran Church, Harrisburg

A young woman came to the door of Christ Lutheran Church and rang the bell.  As I opened the door and greeted her, I could see the expression on her face: she was concerned and looked uncertain. And she was very pregnant. She spoke no English, and my Spanish is limited. Thanks to Google Translate, I was able to discern that she was looking for the medical outreach clinic and she was told that the church could help her. I escorted her to the entrance of the clinic and explained to her in my broken Spanish that she could talk with a nurse who could help her directly. As we entered the lobby which had other people waiting to be seen, I introduced her to the nurses who immediately took her under their wing to offer her care and support.  

This is a typical day at Christ Lutheran Church and one of the biggest reasons I wanted to come to here. I serve as pastor of Christ Lutheran Church as well as the executive director of the health ministries. My background includes extensive history in politics and government, entrepreneurial coaching, and at a food pantry. During my previous call, our congregation did a variety of ministries with those who were unhoused and in poverty.  

I want to thank Derry Church for being a crucial partner for the Health Ministries at Christ Lutheran Church, going back to 2017.  I look forward to seeing that relationship grow and strengthen as we continue helping our neighbors in need.  

The Health Ministries at Christ Lutheran Church include a free medical outreach clinic which is visited by an average of 800 people each month with an assortment of health needs. The clinic is staffed by nurses from Penn State Health who offer care and support for every person who enters the clinic. Because of partners like you, Christ Lutheran Church is able to ensure that the clinic has all the supplies it needs including non-prescription medication, bandages, socks and underwear, reader glasses, and more.  

We also host a free dental clinic that takes place three times a month.  The clinic is staffed by dentists in the area who volunteer their time and expertise, as well as dental assistants who are paid by the church to be onsite for the clinic. The dental clinic sees between 6-12 patients each time it is open, and the main focus is on people who are experiencing active pain, offering fillings as well as tooth extractions. Plans are in the works to expand the dental clinic by moving it to the first floor, which would give us the ability to add an additional chair and be able to see even more patients.  

In January, we will be launching our newest clinic which we are calling “Healthy on the Hill.” One of our nurses recently became a Licensed Nurse Practitioner, giving her the ability to prescribe medication as well as refer people for tests. Much of the focus of this clinic will be working with people who have chronic conditions such as diabetes, which require more consistent medical attention and care for the patients’ wellbeing.  

Along with these ministries, Christ Lutheran Church also partners with Harrisburg Area Community College. Every nursing and dental hygiene student in their respective programs spends at least one rotation through the clinics at the church. This means that students are getting important hands-on experience that helps shape their career.  It’s been reported back to me from the instructors that the students’ time at the Health Ministries of Christ Lutheran Church are some of the most important and formative parts of their education.  

Thank you for your partnership in this ministry.  We could not do this without you, quite literally.  Because of your support, so many people’s lives are positively impacted, and they can start to receive healing. You help make Christ Lutheran Church and the health ministries that happen here a special place of healing. Thank you!