St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic is named after the disciple and physician, Luke. The Clinic was born from an interdenominational vision to provide free quality healthcare to low-income uninsured individuals.
The Rev. Dr. Clay Turner, former director of The Church of the Advent, brought the seed for this ministry to our community from Roanoke, Virginia. He had seen the tremendous impact that free clinic services had on that community and saw a similar need in Spartanburg. Dr. Turner and Rev. Benjamin Snoddy of Mt. Moriah Baptist Church led the effort by talking with local physicians and other interested citizens to gauge the need and interest for the idea of a free clinic. Dr. Turner invited the director of the Roanoke clinic to Spartanburg in the spring of 1991 to share her experience in providing health care to the uninsured.
There was an excited response, and from this meeting, a steering committee of about 30 people was formed. Doctors and other medical professionals in the area were canvassed, looking into funding, staffing, and possible locations. An executive director was found, and the clinic began to become a reality.
Mt. Moriah Baptist Church offered a building, situated on property adjacent to their church, for the clinic to use rent-free. Funds for renovations to the building were raised from local physicians. Folks from all over the community came together to bring about the existence of St. Luke’s Free Medical Clinic. The Junior League of Spartanburg provided $50,000 seed money to stock the pharmacy, the Episcopal Diocese gave $3,000, and many other churches, organizations, and individuals made donations. The clinic opened its door in August of 1992, thanks to the efforts of many.
St. Luke’s continued to operate in this donated building comfortably until 1999. We needed a larger clinic and Mt. Moriah Baptist Church needed to expand to meet the needs of their congregation, so a search for new quarters was underway.
After exploring many options in the community, we were fortunate that the descendants of John B. Cleveland decided to donate the old Georgia Cleveland Home to St. Luke’s. Built in 1907, this old building was a perfect new home for our clinic. It changed hands in 1921 when Spartanburg General Hospital was chartered. Mr. Cleveland bought the structure and transformed it into a residential facility for elderly ladies. He named it after his wife, Georgia Alden Cleveland.
A successful capital campaign raised the money needed to renovate the building and bring it full circle to become a medical facility once again. Furnishings were donated to outfit our new surroundings, and we saw our first “new” patients in the “new” building in April of 2001. In this facility, rich with history and very much a part of the present, volunteers make it possible to meet the needs of Spartanburg’s uninsured.