The Medical Ministry was started by Emily Bray and Nita Dade Beran in 1974, members of Circle Evangelical Free Church who lived in Austin neighborhood of Chicago. Their offices were located in the Circle Community Center. Doctors Jon Beran and John Payne soon joined the ministry which called itself Circle Christian Health Center. Initially, the doctors held hospital jobs so they could take very small salaries. Robert Stannard joined in 1987. Here is the staff in 1980:
The Counseling ministry was founded and headed by Emily’s husband, Paul Bray. Soon he was joined by other Christian social workers. It was called Central Austin Counseling Center. Here is their staff in 1979:
In 1984, Paul and Emily Bray moved their family to Maine. Rather than fill two director positions, the counseling and medical ministries came together under the name Circle Family Care with Len Sharber as the head.
After Rock Church joined Circle Urban Ministries, there was more emphasis on evangelism and some of the CFC employees were uncomfortable with it. They established offices at 4909 W. Division for both counseling and medical care.
The counseling ministry received grants so they were able to work with Chicago Public School students. Another office was at 5002 W. Madison.
In 1994 (?) the medical ministry moved into the rehabbed building at 115 N. Parkside. There have been other faithful doctors who worked at the Division Office, too many to name, who took other jobs because they liked receiving a regular paycheck. In the spring of 2014, a fire at the Division Offices and the problems caused by a French elevator caused the medical offices to be combined at 115 N. Parkside.
Since the state of Illinois is behind on the Medicaid payments, the medical ministry’s finances have struggled.
Two of the doctors, John Beran and Robert Stannard, are long-time members of Rock Church.