Friday, September 25, 2009

Presiding bishop of Episcopal Church to visit Missoula

From Montana-

Montana Episcopalians will combine the national with the local this weekend during a visit by their church leader, Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori.

The 26th presiding bishop of the 2.4 million-member church will lead the state's diocesesan convention at Missoula's Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, and also tour the site of the church's volunteer relationship with the Partnership Health Clinic.

"The (Missoula) church is phenomenal in the help they give us," said Partnership Health Executive Director Kim Mansch. "To have the bishop come and see that firsthand is really an honor for the Partnership, but also for their parish."

Holy Spirit Parish started sending volunteers to Partnership Health in 2002. The nonprofit health care center provides medical and dental services to Missoula residents. About 60 percent of its clients are uninsured, with 16 percent on Medicaid.

The church volunteers organize medical records, remind patients of visits and overdue payments, and perform other tasks.

Church members also helped the clinic win two grants, worth $35,230 and $40,000 respectively, from the national Episcopal Church's United Thank Offering program. The second grant was awarded in July, and will help the clinic pay for its expansion into the historic Creamery Building at 401 W. Railroad St., doubling its office space.

Partnership Health also landed a $571,545 federal capital improvement grant for expansion in July. In August, it received two more ongoing federal grants worth $300,000 to strengthen its behavioral health program and pharmacy service.

"The support we had from the community helped us score high and really beef up that program," Mansch said of the behavioral health and pharmacy grants. That kind of community teamwork is also a big part of the presiding bishop's message.

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