The initial idea to have a Christian health center in Champaign County came about at a Christian Community Development Association (CCDA) Conference in Pasadena, California November 2002. Jeff Trask, Associate Pastor of New Covenant Fellowship in Champaign, Illinois, attended a workshop facilitated by Bruce Miller, Director of Lawndale Christian Health Center in Chicago, Illinois. After speaking with Bruce Miller and visiting Lawndale, Jeff Trask began developing the concept for Champaign County.
Bringing It Home
In January 2003, two attendees of New Covenant Fellowship, Wayne Mathews, a Physician Assistant, and Nita Skeels, a long-time CCDA supporter joined Mr. Trask in organizing an informational meeting open to anyone interested in May 2003. Eighteen people from various church, racial, and professional backgrounds attended this informational meeting just by word of mouth. Due to the overwhelming support and excitement, these meetings were held monthly and eventually became known as Advisory Council meetings – an open forum meeting with particular agenda items and tasks to be fulfilled.
Laying the Foundation
In addition to the Advisory Council, a CORE (informally meaning “Christ, Our Reason for Everything) Team, established in July of 2003, began meeting to handle the “nuts and bolts” of operating this ministry. Shortly after forming the Core Team, the Champaign County Health Care Initiative (name at the time), received a grant of $10,000.00 to get started by the Christian Community Health Fellowship thanks to Core Team member, Cheryl Ramirez.
Making it a reality
In August of 2003, the initiative developed the name, Champaign County Christian Health Center (CCCHC). The fall of 2003 consisted of community collaborations, incorporation a collection of in-kind contributions, monthly Advisory Council meetings, CORE Team meetings, and over eighty people attend and/or show interest in developing the CCCHC in areas involving Spiritual Care, Health Education, Research, Fundraising, Diversity, Medical care, Pharmaceuticals, Volunteering, and many other areas. In January 2004, CCCHC had its first Board of Directors meeting where the bylaws were ratified.