Sacred Places Spring 2013 - Page 18

FEATURE STORY At an opening reception for the Community Eye Clinic of Fort Worth, attendees get a look at its location on the second floor of First Christian Church, which was retrofitted to accomodate the new use, but retains its original stained-glass windows. A Visionary Model A cornerstone of the Fort Worth, TX, community since 1885, First Christian Church has always maintained a tradition of innovation and advancement. Today, the church, led by the Reverend Tom Plumbley, is creatively combining ministry with adaptive reuse. Thanks to its partnership with Partners for Sacred Places and others, First Christian is now home to the Community Eye Clinic of Fort Worth, the largest clinic of its kind in America. Occupying the entire second floor of First Christian, the new facility is staffed by clinic director Jennifer Deakins, O.D., and students from the University of Houston College of Optometry and the University of the Incarnate Word School of Optometry in San Antonio. 17 • Sacred Places • • Spring 2013 Intended to serve 3,000 to 4,000 patients in the first year and upwards of 7,000 patients in subsequent years, the state-of-the-art vision clinic houses seven exam rooms, two testing areas, a cinema classroom, and a dispensary. Through partnerships with both the public and private sectors, the clinic will serve the healthcare needs of the economically disadvantaged throughout the city. Architecturally, First Christian is an integral piece of the urban fabric of downtown Fort Worth. Constructed in 1915, the Beaux Arts-style structure is the fourth incarnation of the congregation’s spiritual home. However, the congregation today consists of fewer than 300 members in a building designed to serve 3,000.