Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Ministers - Save Money on Hospital Parking

This is a savings tip for you other ministers reading the blog. It isn't applicable to anyone else. As ministers, we end up visiting people at the hospital more than most people. In a small town like Blytheville, anyone can park in the hospital parking lot for free. However, in bigger places you have to pay to park at the hospital. St. Bernard's Hospital in Jonesboro, AR starts at $.50. Larger hospitals, like Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN, can cost several dollars to park each time (though at Vanderbilt anyone visiting a patient can have their parking ticket validated at a nursing station and park for free). Most of these hospitals which charge for parking will allow ministers to visit without paying for parking. By filling out a form, you can usually receive a Clergy pass, and flash it at the gate to get out for free. Alternatively, many times you can get out for free just by letting the parking attendant know you are a minister. The easiest way to do this is to take the parking ticket and on it write your name, your 'title' as a minister (minister, preacher, youth minister, senior minister, etc.), and the congregation you work with (including the city if you are out of town). When you hand the ticket to the attendant, hand it to them where they will see that information. The times I have done this or seen it done by a minister, there was no charge for the parking. Hospitals recognize that the ministers who visit are doing a service for the patients, and in turn extend this gesture of kindness.

NOTE: If you are not a minister it would be dishonest and inappropriate to take advantage of this gesture extended to ministers. Since it would be dishonest, it would also be sinful! As stated at the beginning this is only a tip for the ministers out there.