THE CHRISTIAN HEALING MINISTRY IN OUR CHURCH
Within our parish we have a Healing Ministry Team who offer the Christian Healing Ministry during every 10am service and at special healing services, using guidelines laid down by the Church of England in their Handbook ‘A Time to Heal’ (Church House Publishing, 2004). For anyone who is not familiar with this ministry here are a few questions and answers (an edited version of an article that was first published in our parish magazine in July 2004).
WHAT IS THE CHRISTIAN HEALING MINISTRY?
It’s prayer to God for healing, often with the laying on of hands (usually on the head), occasionally also including anointing with oil (usually on the forehead).
SO IS THIS THE SAME AS SPIRITUAL OR PSYCHIC HEALING?
There may seem to be parallels, but the Christian Healing Ministry takes place exclusively within a Christian framework, often in the context of a church service. The laying on of hands has always been used by the Church (for example in Confirmation) to help people into a closer relationship with God through the Holy Spirit, and this is part of the Christian healing process.
IS IT SOMETHING NEW?
The Christian Healing Ministry stems from the healings by Jesus and his disciples, and has been practised by the Church, in all denominations, ever since. In fact Holy Communion is itself a healing sacrament. But it’s true that there has been a recent strong revival of the Christian Healing Ministry. In the Church of England many of these developments were led by Bishop Morris Maddocks in the 1980s and 1990s, and services incorporating the Healing Ministry now take place in many parishes countrywide, including our own.
BUT HASN’T SCIENCE DISPROVED THE POSSIBILITY OF MIRACULOUS HEALING?
The fact that science can’t explain miraculous healings doesn’t mean they can’t happen. Many such healings have in fact been documented, but as they don’t occur under controlled scientific conditions they inevitably get little scientific attention. Some of them may even be partly understandable within current science, as it is known that the body’s own capacity for healing is extraordinary, and that many physical illnesses have their roots in mental factors such as stress.
SO THE CHRISTIAN HEALING MINISTRY IS NOT JUST FOR PHYSICAL HEALING?
The Healing Ministry involves a holistic approach. Morris Maddocks defined Christian healing as ‘Jesus Christ meeting you at the point of your need’, and that need may be for physical, mental or spiritual healing.
IS ALL THIS IN COMPETITION WITH THE MEDICAL PROFESSION?
Not at all. The Christian Healing Ministry is always complementary, not alternative, and is indeed supported by many in the medical profession as a helpful addition to any treatment programme.
WHY ARE INTERMEDIARIES NEEDED?
The simple answer is that they’re not! Anyone can of course pray to God for their own healing. But experience, from the earliest days of the Church, has shown that God can and does use people who are called to the Healing Ministry as channels for his healing power.
IF IT WORKS, WHY AREN’T FAR MORE HEALINGS REPORTED?
All that the Healing Ministry can guarantee is God’s love, and certainly healings don’t always occur, for reasons that we don’t understand. Also, healings can sometimes take place slowly rather than immediately, and are often never reported publicly at all. But many people do find that they gain something, whether physically, mentally or spiritually, when they partake of the Healing Ministry.
DO I HAVE TO TELL THOSE MINISTERING ABOUT MY ILLNESS OR NEED?
No, not unless you wish to during confidential one-to-one prayer ministry. For the healing services in our parish (see below) we use a standard form of words in our prayer for healing, confident that God will know your specific needs and the problems that you are thinking about. In your thoughts you can also seek healing for others as well as yourself; experience has shown that this can be just as effective.
WHEN AND WHERE DOES THE HEALING MINISTRY TAKE PLACE IN THIS PARISH?
During our 10am Communion services at Kirdford church, immediately after receiving the bread & wine or a blessing, two members of our Healing Ministry Team are available for private, confidential healing ministry, for those who wish it for themselves or for another. The ministry consists of prayer with layng on of hands. If you do not wish to say what the need is, a set prayer will be used.
Some other special healing services incorporate the opportunity for prayer for healing with laying on of hands, anointing with holy oil as well as one-to-one prayer ministry - details of the next service will be listed under “services & events” above.
Christian healing ministry