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Mission in Our Communities: Extending Christ’s Healing Touch

Advent Health Series Audrey Gregory

Spectrum is honored to partner with AdventHealth for a bi-monthly series in 2024. Every other month we will publish an essay in which an AdventHealth executive will share a spiritual reflection drawn from their personal and professional commitment to healthcare and Adventist mission.

In the book of Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.” His expectations of them are high. They must not only be different but be transformational forces wherever they go so “that they [the community] may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16, NIV).

As I reflect on my personal journey, I am reminded of these words and the core values instilled in me from a young age—a deep sense of service, compassion and leadership. 

Growing up in Kingston, Jamaica, surrounded by a family of “helpers” and “servers,” including nurses, pastors and educators like my mother, I learned the profound impact of extending a helping hand to those in need. My parents were consistent in offering help to others even with their own small means. They taught me the importance of being present in the community. This foundational upbringing not only shaped my character, but also continues to influence my perspective on AdventHealth’s mission of Extending the Healing Ministry of Christ.

While medical care often centers around treating illness, at AdventHealth, our mission goes beyond the traditional boundaries of health care and healing. We strive to be present in the everyday moments of life, meeting people where they are and extending Christ’s healing touch beyond the confines of sickness and difficulty. 

As the salt of the earth, we are called to preserve and enrich the lives of others. This means offering healing and restoration to those who are hurting, vulnerable or in need, just as Jesus did. Our presence in the community is not just about providing health care services but also about bringing hope, compassion and comfort to individuals and families facing challenges.

Likewise, as the light of the world, we are called to illuminate the path towards health, wellness and wholeness. Our actions, attitudes and initiatives should reflect the love and grace of Christ, inspiring others to seek a better quality of life and glorifying our heavenly Father through our actions.

Each day we take these teachings to heart. This is why we engage the community wherever they come together. We are committed to meeting people where they are—at local fairs and fests, at 5K walks and running events, at sports stadiums and arenas, and even at the racetrack. We want to come alongside people at their best moments, not just when they need care. 

Our involvement at events such as NASCAR’s DAYTONA 500 race exemplifies this commitment – and it is so much more than just having our logo printed on the hood of a racecar. 

This is the only major sporting event to nationally televise prayer, enabling our chaplains to reach millions as they lead the official invocation for the drivers, their families and the more than 100,000 attendees, creating a sense of community and connection. 

As the Official Health Care Provider of Daytona International Speedway, our expert clinicians also care for approximately 6,000 people annually onsite, treating all drivers, pit crew, NASCAR officials and fans alike, free of charge, during various events throughout the year, providing another needed access point to care for the community. 

We use these racing events as an opportunity to champion health education, providing valuable wellness resources for individuals’ physical, emotional and spiritual well-being. 

Truly, our mission extends beyond healing the sick; it’s about empowering everyone to embrace healthier, more fulfilling lives.

The alignment between AdventHealth’s mission and Christ’s healing ministry is deeply rooted in our dedication to health equity. Just as Jesus showed compassion and care for the marginalized, we actively seek to address disparities in health care access and outcomes, particularly in underserved communities. 

Driven by our spiritual purpose, we actively support people who are unhoused or unsheltered, or those who are experiencing food insecurity, and promote accessible education through our community benefits program. Our commitment is to uplift every person, regardless of their background or circumstances, mirroring Christ’s compassion and care during His earthly ministry.

The Bible says in Isaiah 58:10: “If you spend yourselves on behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness and your night will become like the noonday” (NIV).

As we look around the spaces where we live, learn or work, I challenge you to embrace the community with a deeper sense of love and compassion. 

Let us—you, me, all of us—extend Christ’s transformative touch wherever life takes us, becoming beacons of hope, comfort and support in moments of joy and difficulty alike. May we follow Christ’s call to be the salt and light, blessing others through our very presence and actions.

Audrey Gregory

About the author

Audrey Gregory, Ph.D., R.N., executive vice president and CEO, AdventHealth East Florida Division. More from Audrey Gregory.
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