7:00 A.M. EST Nov. 22, 2010 | BALTIMORE (UMNS)
The United Methodist Church and Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington just announced the creation of a $75 million fund that will provide grants to churches
and faith-based organizations providing health care to the poor and marginalized.
A UMNS photo courtesy of Melissa Lauber.
View in Photo Gallery
In a move to ensure that the United Methodist commitment to health care for all people is preserved in the nation’s capital, a $75 million fund is being established by Sibley Memorial Hospital and Johns Hopkins Medicine.
The Jane Bancroft Robinson Foundation – named after a Methodist deaconess – will be administered by an independent board of directors, which includes a majority of United Methodists. The board will award grants to congregations and faith-based organizations providing health care to the poor and marginalized.
The foundation was championed by Sibley president Robert Sloan and Washington Area Bishop John Schol, who serves on the hospital’s board of directors. The United Methodist Women's Division board of directors also voted to approve the affiliation.
The hospital traces its heritage back to 1890, when Methodist women from the Home Mission Society – the predecessor to United Methodist Women – started the Lucy Webb Hayes National Training School for Deaconesses and Missionaries. The mission of the school was to train nurses. In 1894, with a $10,000 grant provided by William J. Sibley, a member of Foundry Methodist Church, Sibley Hospital was constructed to give the nurses a clinical setting to practice their skills and serve a growing population in Washington, D.C. In 1944, the Women's Home Missionary Society deeded the original property to Sibley Hospital, and the hospital later moved to its current location as a part of a redevelopment land swap.
United Methodist legacy
“In the late 1800s, United Methodists were builders. Their faith and labors constructed colleges, homes for the aged, orphanages and hospitals,” Schol said. “In 1881, Methodists opened Maryland General Hospital in Baltimore. In 1895, Sibley was opened. That is our legacy. Today we build on that as United Methodists create a new kind of mission that creates innovative partnerships of possibility.”
United Methodists have always had an active voice in the operations of the 328-bed community hospital in northwest Washington. When Sibley Memorial began negotiations to join Johns Hopkins Medicine, a $6 billion integrated global health enterprise headquartered in Baltimore, Schol insisted that Sibley’s legacy of caring for the marginalized be part of the integration plan.
“The bishop was absolutely instrumental in establishing the foundation,” said Dale Hoscheit, who has served on the Sibley board for 36 years. “He’s allowed us to continue to build, in meaningful ways, upon what was created at a grassroots level.”
Distinct from the day-to-day operations of the hospital, the Jane Bancroft Robinson Foundation will allow for more focused efforts that carry on the Methodist tradition of caring, said Edward J. Miller Jr., chairman of the Sibley board. “This is a huge opportunity for Sibley. It’s a huge opportunity for Johns Hopkins Medicine and it’s a huge opportunity for The (United) Methodist Church.”
‘It’s a faith-like-a-mustard-seed story’
In remarks at the celebration of the integration of Sibley Hospital and Hopkins Medicine on Nov. 8, Bishop Schol evoked the words of God that were relayed by the prophet Isaiah: “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?”
Mrs. George O. Robinson.
A web-only photo courtesy
of Melissa Lauber.
In addition to the Foundation, which “will address the systemic issues related to the physical, emotional and spiritual health needs of the poor,” the joining of Sibley and Hopkins will carry health care in Washington to new levels of excellence, the bishop said.
While day-to-day operations at Sibley are not expected to change, Miller said, the partnership will allow both organizations to better address the changes in the U.S. health-care system, including economic pressures.
The partnership is expected to give Hopkins increased access to a patient base in the nation’s capital and open Hopkins’ extension research facilities and other resources to the Sibley community. Some preliminary plans also call for a program that offers state-of-the-art cancer care at Sibley.
“We face a new era that will bring major reforms and demands for more coordinated and efficient ways of delivering care, said Steven J. Thompson, senior vice president of Johns Hopkins Medicine. “Increasingly, our decisions on how best to accommodate these changes must be based on sound and practical strategies. What we must never lose sight of during these turbulent times is that every decision we make has to be in the best interest of our patients and the communities we serve.”
“It’s a faith-like-a-mustard-seed story,” said Rene Carter, a Sibley board member and member of Asbury United Methodist Church in Washington. “Those women started with a vision, they started small and look how it has grown. They were brave enough to act, to reach out. That’s our heritage.”
*Lauber is editor of UM Connection, the newspaper of the Baltimore-Washington Conference.
News media contact: Joey Butler, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or email@example.com.