‘To God Be the Glory!’: Church Wipes Away Medical Debt for Almost 2,000 Families


A Michigan Church has put its faith into action by paying off the medical debt of almost 2,000 families.

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written by

Will Maule

A Michigan Church has put its faith into action by paying off the medical debt of almost 2,000 families.

Wyoming congregation Grand Rapids First announced Sunday that it would be paying off the debt of 1,899 families across four counties—which amounts to a total of nearly $2 million, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“Today, that $1,832,439.26 that’s looming over families right now, those families that are living at poverty rates or less, has been paid in full as a result of a gift from this church,” senior pastor Sam Rijfkogel told the congregation during his Sunday message. “Paid in full, not held against them one bit.”

“To God be the glory!” the pastor declared.

“When somebody cancels your debt, that’s a good feeling!”

The debt was cleared in conjunction with an organization called “RIP Medical Debt,” which seeks to “empower donors to forgive the billions in oppressive medical debt.”

According to the free press, the debt repayment covers families in Kent, Ottawa, Allegan and Ionia counties, who will receive a glorious notification of the financial gift via a letter this week. 

Pastor Sam Rijfkogel read a section of the letter they will get in the mail: “We are pleased to inform you that you no longer owe the balance to the debt referred above,” the letter explains. “This debt has been canceled and eradicated with the funds donated by Grand Rapids First Church. Our forgiveness of the amount you owed is a no-strings-attached gift. You no longer have any obligation to pay this debt to anyone at any further time. This debt has been canceled.”

Church leaders noted that they do not know the identity of any of the beneficiaries of the debt repayment, nor do they know if any of them are members of Grand Rapids First.

“1,899 families whose debt has been forgiven. They could not pay it back, no way,” Pastor Rijfkoge added, noting that the gift was a “random act of kindness,” that “there are no strings attached” and that they “don’t know the names of the people” who benefited from the debt forgiveness.

The church’s executive pastor and CFO, Doug Tuttle, also noted that the gift was covered by Grand Rapids First’s missions fund, and thus no specific fundraising was required.

“Wow – what a wonderful thing to do,” one person commented on a Facebook post by the church, announcing the good news. “Thank you for doing good in the world.”