By The Rt. Rev. C. Andrew Doyle, IX Bishop of Texas
EHF’s Chairman of the Board
In Mark’s gospel, Jesus gives us the greatest commandment: “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” He says, “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”‘
In the parable of the Good Samaritan, we learn we are to be neighbors to people in our community. Like the Samaritan, the Jesus we follow calls us to look beyond perceived boundaries and to care for the health and well-being of all people. The parable is a clear description of who God is and how we are to be in community.
Since its inception, the Episcopal Health Foundation has become a strong voice for health in Texas. Our mission is focused on improving health, not just healthcare — especially for the poor and people with few resources. EHF is also part of a larger voice that continues to build and strengthen a different kind of community in our part of Texas.
We build true communities when we talk to one another, listen to and respect one another, engage and serve together to make healthier communities. This new kind of community is defined by our mutual desire to reflect the love that Christ Jesus has for us, rather than what separates or divides us. This new kind of community reflects the parable of the Good Samaritan, not the “toxic charity” of doing something because it makes us “feel good.”
We have a health crisis in Texas. Our state ranks near the bottom when it comes to the health of our children, parents and families. We have the highest number of people without health insurance in America. The number of Texas children suffering from asthma is enough to fill every seat in Houston’s NRG Stadium eight times over.
Texans will be better off tomorrow because the Episcopal Church through EHF is making changes today.
In 2016, EHF invested in innovative solutions to address the root causes of poor health. Our research expertise helped communities better understand their unique health needs and challenges. We built partnerships with those most affected by our work so, going forward, communities are able to begin to take charge of their own health. This approach is dynamic and promises improved results because of the strength of the research and the partnerships we have built.
All of this work isn’t done inside a building in Downtown Houston. It’s done at a weeknight health coalition meeting in Beaumont. It’s helping a mother in Austin access affordable health services, instead of being on the outside of the health system looking in. And, it’s partnering with more than 150 Episcopal churches across 57 Texas counties to organize and focus congregational efforts to have the greatest impact on each of their community’s unique health needs.
EHF is the Episcopal Diocese of Texas at work engaging a mission of healthy communities for all. We are bringing the very best practices, research and understanding about what actually changes the health of a community into our work of serving.
Our one mission expresses our faith that Jesus invites us to support the well-being and health of those around us.
Like the Good Samaritan, our one mission removes boundaries and becomes immersed in a new kind of community that removes the barriers to good health. EHF’s work now, and moving forward, is to model what it means to be a “neighbor” to those within the community, so that we become healthier together.