Golden Cross Donated $28K to Pay Medical Bills
By Lindsay Peyton - En Español
Golden Cross Ministry helped United Methodists cover their medical expenses since 1921. With rising healthcare costs and difficulty obtaining insurance, the ministry’s importance continues to grow. Contributions from the TAC help Golden Cross keep up with an ever-increasing need.
While Golden Cross Ministry has been in the works for a while, some individuals have yet to discover its efforts.
Ann Davis Wade grew up knowing about the ministry. Her father was a Methodist minister in the conference for 53 years. “He raised thousands of dollars for Golden Cross,” she recalled.
That’s why she thought of the ministry in her own time of need. Her hearing had been getting worse and worse. “I would go to church every Sunday, but I couldn’t hear what they were saying,” she recalled. “I was totally socially isolated. I couldn’t hear anyone.”
Wade relied on a teleprompter to read the scripture. Finally, her children pleaded with her to get hearing aids. She had lost 80 percent of her hearing.
The 85-year old retired Conroe ISD teacher, however, was not able to cover the costs involved. She was also confused by the insurance paperwork that she needed.
Then Wade remembered Golden Cross. “I thought, ‘I wonder if they could help me with this?’”
With help from her pastor at Conroe FUMC, she filled out the form.
“Lo and behold, I was approved,” she said. “It meant the world to me. Now I can hear. If it weren’t for Golden Cross, I would not have a hearing aid. They paid 100 percent of this.”
Wade said a number of people do not know about the ministry at all – and she hopes that more learn about how they can be helped. “Plus, they need to contribute to it,” she said.
Administrative assistant Ana Robles explained that a number of individuals helped by Golden Cross might otherwise forego medical attention. The ministry can give up to $3,000 in aid to cover an individual’s medical expenses annually.
In 2019, Golden Cross has already given more than $28,929 to 19 people. Both lay members and clergy can apply for assistance.
To be eligible, applicants must be a member of a church in the Texas Annual Conference for at least a year. They are asked to fill out a form describing their medical diagnosis and expense, doctor’s recommendations and insurance information.
Having insurance does not disqualify a candidate for Golden Cross, Robles explained. Often times, deductibles are too high for patients to pay for their needs.
Golden Cross recommends that awardees ask their medical providers for discounts in their care. “That way we can stretch out our dollars more to help more people,” Robles said.
Robles wants to share the ministry with others so they know that Golden Cross may help them. She explained that some church members and pastors are still unaware of the program.
“The need is so great,” Robles said. “We get a lot of requests. We need people to be aware that this ministry exists. We’re here for them if they need help. You have to give hope, and Golden Cross does that.”
At the same time, the amount of donations to Golden Cross have not been as great as in years past. Robles said that even small donations can add up.
“If we don’t have donations coming in, we cannot support each other,” she said.
Gifts are often made in memory of a loved one or to honor an individual on a special occasion, like a birthday, graduation or retirement. Churches also take collections for Golden Cross.
Leonarda Valdez, a member at Beneke Memorial UMC, became aware of the ministry when it helped other church family in the past.
Her vision had been deteriorating for some time. For a while, she continued to drive her husband to doctors’ appointments even though her sight was blurred. After he died, she could barely leave the house.
“I just didn’t know what to do,” she recalled.
She needed cataract surgery but did not have enough to pay for the operation. Then, she applied for Golden Cross.
With the help of the ministry, Valdez was able to complete surgery in her right eye in September. Last week, the doctor operated on her left eye.
“I’m so very grateful,” she said. “It’s like a whole new life for me. I’m starting over, seeing things I couldn’t see before, and the colors are so vibrant. Everything is so beautiful. I thank God.”
He was at work through Golden Cross. “I wouldn’t have this surgery without this help,” Valdez said. “I’m so deeply appreciative.”
A fundraiser for Golden Cross will be hosted by Mary Lou Reece on Sunday December 8, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m., all laity and clergy are invited to this Advent open house and viewing of Mary Lou Reece’s nativity collection at the home of Bishop Scott Jones and Mary Lou Reece. See invitation. Guests may R.S.V.P. at www.txcumc.org/whatchildisthisrsvp.