A prayer for the Feast of St. Luke the Physician

“Honor physicians for their services, for the Lord created them; for their gift of healing comes from the Most High, and they are rewarded by the king.” Ecclesiasticus 38:1-2.

Almighty God, who called Luke the Physician, whose praise is in the Gospel, to be an Evangelist and Physician of the soul; May it please you that, by the wholesome medicines of the doctrine delivered by him, all the diseases of our souls may be healed. Through the merits of your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.


St. Luke’s Day Service at St. Paul’s Augusta

The Augusta area medical and healthcare community is invited to a special service of Evening Prayer on the Feast of St. Luke the Physician.

Special service of Evening Prayer at Saint Paul’s Augusta on Monday, October 18th at 7pm on the Feast of Saint Luke the Physician, with prayers for healing and those who care for the sick. Everyone invited.


Physician shortages in rural Georgia

“Georgia is the ninth most populous state in the nation and it’s growing quickly. But it lags behind two-thirds of the country when it comes to recruiting doctors.”

An interesting piece by Georgia Public Broadcasting on what its like to practice medicine and live in rural Georgia with some good insights from physicians who practice in and around Jefferson and Emanuel Counties.

Read it all here.


How to Start a Health Ministry

A simple guide to help you start a health ministry.

New post in the Congregational Health Ministries section on how to start a health ministry in your congregation. It has some ideas about how to go through the process of discerning what type of health ministry would be a good fit for your congregation and who to talk to for ideas and resources. Check out Starting a Health Ministry!


The challenges of rural healthcare

Some thoughts on the practice of medicine in rural Georgia.

Dr. Donald Mirate, an opthalmologist from Valdosta, talks about the challenges of caring for patients in the rural setting:

Please count me as one who is interested in this organization.  We will have a challenge on our hands, as reduced reimbursements and increased capital needs for diagnostic equipment and computers will prevent the spread of quality healthcare to rural areas, and perhaps cause some providers to withdraw from these areas.  Concurrently, there is more difficulty for patients to travel to health centers, due to the cost of transportation and having to work.  We may be left with a few overworked general practice physicians in rural Georgia, and no way to bring patients and specialized providers together for proper diagnosis and treatment.  The scenario is that we can care for patients up to a certain point, but then they are out of luck.
For example, as an ophthalmologist, I would not want to be off somewhere attempting to diagnose and treat eye problems, without my office full of equipment.  To do so would violate the standard of care, and put myself and my patients at risk.  While this can be done in a third world country on a mission trip, it is not advisable in the United States.

It seems that our challenge is to develop a comprehensive rural health care delivery system, from primary care up to major trauma, within the constraints of geography, funding, time, and medical malpractice.  That should be easy!

What do you think the challenges are?


Defibrillators in Churches

How to start an AED program in your church

New page in our Congregational Health Ministries section, “Defibrillators in Churches.”

Check it out!


Why Health Ministries?

“Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.” (Matt. 25:40)

Lots of people ask, “why should my church get involved in a health ministry?” Let’s take a look at rural health, which is especially appropriate for our diocese as most of the counties that are a part of the diocese are rural.

Rural health is characterized by “leasts.” Rural communities tend to have a disproportionately high number of least healthy, least wealthy, living in the least healthy communities, with the least support services and resources.*

This combination of “leasts” gives us a tremendous opportunity for mission, to live out our commitment to the Gospel by helping our neighbors and members of our own congregations. The opportunity may be as simple as a volunteering in a local free clinic, starting a screening program at your parish for diseases such as high blood pressure, or helping a member of your parish navigate the complex maze of health-related issues that come with caring for an elderly parent or spouse.

There is no shortage of needs in our diocese. Over the next few weeks we will be posting information on the various pages of the site so you can see how healthy your community is and where the ministry opportunities are. If you’re already participating in a health ministry, let us know what you are doing and how its working.

The harvest is indeed plenty are the laborers regrettably are few. Time to get started!

(The Rev.) Bob Polglase, MD, JD

*David M. Young. Rural Health Ministry-An Emerging Community of Practice. Available from here


About this blog

Your input is needed to get this network off the ground.

We have created this web log to begin communications among those in the Episcopal Diocese of Georgia who see their vocation in health care as a ministry and would like to network with one another. We want to group pages of information and resources here, begin conversations and dream big. Add your comments below to let us know what you want to see happen in this space.