More than 250 people from the Fredericksburg area received both medical and spiritual guidance from the Fredericksburg Christian Health Center since its establishment this January. The center, started and operated by one physician, Dr. Timothy Powell offers low to no cost treatment to heal body and soul.
The center began as a “great faith journey” taken by Dr. Powell under the auspices of the 15,000-member Grace Church of Fredericksburg. Powell, who learned that prayer might lead to physical healing, resigned his job at Lee’s Hill Medical Associates to pursue a different kind of medical practice.
"It's different in that we attempt to care for the physical, spiritual and emotional," Powell said.
The patients treated by Dr. Powell all agree, the Christian Health Center is unlike any other. "After he examined me, he asked if I wanted to pray," said Harlotte Sheets, 46, said. "It brought tears to my eyes. I'd never had a doctor ask me that before."
Financial support for the clinic came through religious connections; Powell asked more than 140 churches in the area for support. Mike Jones, an elder at Grace answered the call by building and providing rent-free housing for the center. The Ni River church, founded by Baptists, along with Salem Fields Community Church, a Nazarene church, and the Spotsylvania Assembly of God all responded by providing financial backing.
Such alliances with the religious community bring a spiritual pillar of support to the clinic. As such, Powell asks patients about their spiritual health as part of the examination process; he asks what role faith plays in their life, whether they would like information on worship services and if they want to pray with him. However, the clinic’s services are not limited to patients with Christian backgrounds.
"I don't force my views on patients," Powell said. "I respect their right to believe what they want, but my staff is very good at meeting people at whatever religious point they're at."
Powell’s views are also shared by his staff, comprised of nurses and volunteer; they are required to attend a “Saline Solution” conference – a seminar by the Christian medical association designed to help professionals integrate faith into their practices- as part of their training. The staff prays together each morning and volunteers speak with patients about their faith.
Recently, the Rev. Pat Taylor of the Ni River Community Church joined Custalow and Grace Church of Fredericksburg to help fund the Center.
"Many people who call themselves Christians do little to help others," Taylor said. "But Timothy Powell wants to serve people like Jesus did."