The Trinity Moravian Church in Winston-Salem bought $3.3 million in medical debt in their surrounding area for pennies on the dollar, roughly $15 thousand, and then canceled it, freeing their communities from oppressive debts hanging over their heads.
Then they ceremonially burned the debt.
Seriously, that's two of my favorite things rolled into one: helping people in need and lighting things on fire.
And this is the second time they've paid off medical debts in their area and lit them on fire.
In 2022, they burned $1.2 million in debts.
The Reverend John Jackman said,
It's sort of a real-world parable of what God does for us.
Trinity's debt burning has inspired other churches across the nation to start doing the same thing.
Lincoln, Nebraska's First Plymouth-Congregational Church forgave the debt of 500 families in the city with $520,000.
The Reverend Jim Keck said, "In my mind, it was a straight-on spiritual thing, you know, Jesus says, ‘love your neighbor.‘ What erupted was just generosity."
In order to purchase the debt, the churches are creating campaigns through the non-profit organization RIP Medical Debt, which is using donations to take advantage of the same purchasing system debt collection agencies use to purchase uncollected debts. The non-profit then forgives the debt.
According to them, every $100 donated can erase $10,000 in medical debt.
Since 2014, the non-profit has wiped out $8 billion in medical debt for over 5 million families.
Whether lighting the debt on fire happens with all of the debt forgiven or if that's just a Moravian thing, I'm not sure.
If it's not, well, setting things on fire is a good selling point. Think about it, RIP Medical Debt.