United Church of Christ | St. Louis Public Radio

United Church of Christ

The Rev. Traci Blackmon of Christ The King United Church of Christ, at a press conference Saturday, Jan. 19.
Sarah Fentem | St. Louis Public Radio

More than 11,000 St. Louis-area families will learn this week that their medical debt has been paid, thanks to donations from local churches.

United Church of Christ congregations and the Deaconess Foundation announced Saturday they had purchased $12.9 million in medical debt for a fraction of the cost. They worked with the New York-based nonprofit RIP Medical Debt, which used the donations to purchase the debt from collectors.

Church leaders used Saturday’s announcement at Christ the King Church in Black Jack to make the argument that medical debt is a symptom of a system that devalues poor people and people of color — and call for political action.

Deborah Krause, a long-time faculty member and former academic dean at Eden Theological Seminar, will become the school's next president in July.
Mia Smutz-Ulmer

Eden Theological Seminary will soon have a female president for the first time in the school’s nearly 170-year history.

The seminary’s board of trustees voted unanimously Tuesday morning to appoint one of its own to the position, Deborah Krause. A professor and former academic dean at Eden, Krause has been a vocal advocate for social justice and racial equity in St. Louis, particularly in the years following Michael Brown Jr.'s death.