In 1984 I was ordained as a priest in the Episcopal Church. I happen to live with a disability so was asked to establish a ministry about disability. This ministry was designed to educate churches to be welcoming and inclusive communities of people with disabilities. In order to address negative and stereotypical attitudes, I attempted to speak to the universality of limitation, suffering, and difference. As I traveled around the country I discovered enormous suffering in people with and without disabilities. Much of this suffering was caused by people who wanted them to be "cured" and when they were not, had been pronounced as evil, possessed, sinful, or lacking faith.
These were issues that I had encountered too often. I had wrestled with these issues and their attendant questions in prayer, therapy and throughout my theological and psychological studies. I had learned long ago that healing of my disability (cerebral palsy) was not what I needed or even wanted. Rather, I often needed healing from the negative attitudes and responses of others and, like most of us, needed healing from the hurts that life may bring to any of us. My life experiences, academic studies, theological training, and long years of spiritual direction had also convinced me that healing was a process of transformation and required attention and discernment of one's spiritual journey to God. My research in the study of healing, suffering, psychology, and theology also reinforced my understanding of the Church's original purpose for confession, reconciliation and anointing in the healing ministry. Each has a role in allowing us to let go of pain, grief, and anger that destroys body and soul. I felt more and more called to a ministry of healing which incorporated all these aspects.
While studying in England in 1991 I read about several Christian Healing Centres (Church of England). These Centres were concerned with healing of the whole person - body, mind and spirit. I visited twelve Centres in order to learn how spirituality, theology and psychology were integrated for use in the healing process. The work being done in these Centres is extraordinary and is based on the use of the sacraments: communion, confession, absolution, laying-on-of hands, and anointing. Healing work also includes psychotherapy, spiritual direction, and other complementary therapies. However, they have found after fifty years of work that without confession the majority of people do not heal.
My goal is to found a Christian Healing Center with others who are committed to a life of prayer, transformation and healing. In the meantime, I have established A Ministry of Healing which currently provides two services: 1) therapy and 2) lectures, workshops and retreats.
1) Our ministry provides counseling to clients using Jungian psychology, sacred psychology and prayer therapy. Sacred psychology enables one to look at the wounds, betrayals, and "deep holes" of life and learn how to turn them into holy places of strength. We offer Spiritual Direction, healing prayer, anointing, and laying on of hands for those who request it. Our services are directed toward those who are seeking healing of body, mind and spirit and integration.
2) We offer three workshops on healing and a retreat for people living with disability. Our workshops use psychology (understanding the power of the mind, the effects of consciousness and unconsciousness), theology (how we understand God at work in our lives), and spirituality (how we are connected to God and Self) to understand how healing is meant to transform our lives.
Our workshops on Spirituality and Healing and Explorations in the Healing of Addictions explore the relationship between our spiritual health and faith in God and our physical and psychological well-being. This holistic approach reflects Jesus' ministry of healing, which was always concerned with the whole person and their transformation.The workshop on The Christian Healing Ministry in the Church is designed for people wanting to learn more about the healing ministry, churches wanting to start a healing ministry, or churches already involved in a healing ministry who want further training.
A Retreat on Disability and A Spirituality of Healing: This retreat focuses on the theological and psycho-spiritual aspects of living with disability, as opposed to suffering from disability. Using a format of talks, discussion, story-telling, and worship, we explore the dimensions of the psycho-spiritual journey when living with a disability. These include: the cycle of grief and depression in disability; expressing anger at God, self and others; the meaning of suffering and healing in the spiritual journey, including the suffering of God; understanding the connection between sexuality and spirituality and what it means to be embodied; finding God's strength in weakness; how transformation leads to healing and wholeness. We look at how healing integrates disability into the totality of our life. Each day includes a rhythm of prayer, meditation and guided visualizations.Anyone interested in an outline of our workshops may go to: A Healing Ministry Website: http://ahealingministry.com/. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org