Thursday, February 11, 2010

Guidelines for Ministers of Healing

Hawley Todd TSSF, Episcopal Healing Ministries

General Principles

All that is done is to be motivated by love for God and for those seeking healing. Everyone is to be treated with respect and dignity. Each person is a precious extension of the body of Christ. Whatever we do to the least of these, we are doing to Christ.

Everyone who serves in ministries of healing must make every effort to maintain the highest levels of ethical and pastoral standards. Ongoing training and maintaining a healthy spiritual life are normative.

Healing team members minister under the authority and supervision of the church in the locality in which they serve. One does not operate under one’s own “authority” or by being answerable only to God. Confidentiality is essential. Any information gained in a prayer session remains in that prayer session unless Federal or State law would require otherwise.

The healing ministry is practiced in accord with the canons, teachings, and worship of the Episcopal Church.

Ministries of healing are means by which God enables people to become whole. The focus is on providing opportunities for grace so that people can become the persons God created them to be!

Prior to the Prayer Session

Listen. Listen. Listen.

Ask clarifying questions only when needed. Make sure that those receiving prayer have given informed consent.

Give permission for those seeking prayer to be in whatever position is most comfortable. For instance, some may prefer to stand rather than kneel. Others may prefer to sit. Be sensitive to the wishes of those seeking healing as to whether the laying-on-ofhands is desired; and if so, what would be most appropriate.

The Prayer Session

Healing team members are to be a loving and welcoming presence. Their focus is on God and those seeking healing. Healing team members are representing Jesus Christ to those seeking prayer. In the mystery of intercession, it is easy for those seeking prayer to confuse who the healer is. God is the healer.

Content of Prayer

Pray out loud only for what has been named explicitly by the person seeking prayer. Pray out loud in a language edifying to the person seeking prayer. While at times praying in the spirit may be how one feels led to pray, one can do that quietly and in one’s spirit. Periods of silence during a prayer session are often appropriate.

Never speak for God or make promises in the name of God.

Never diagnose or give advice. Let God led the person into the truth that person “needs” to hear. It is not the job of the healing team member to fix or cure a problem. Never escalate a named problem. For instance, if someone has asked for prayers for a stomach ache, do not pray for healing of stomach cancer.

Never introduce the demonic into a prayer session. Please consult the Book of Occasional Services (2003 edition, p. 174) for specific guidelines on Episcopal Church Policy. Exorcism is a ministry under the direct supervision of the Bishop.

Never condemn or be judgmental in one’s prayers.

Trust that God knows what is needed and will do it.

After the Prayer Session

Maintain confidentiality. The person who sought prayer may initiate conversation about the session but not the caregiver. Unless required by law, never share information about the content of the prayer session without the express consent of the person for whom prayer was offered.

Only licensed professionals may give any form of counseling or medical advice. This is to be initiated at the request of the person who sought prayer.

Continue to pray as led by God.

Other Considerations

Prior to a prayer session and/or a public service of healing, explanations should be given so that all participants will have a clear expectation of what will happen. Written materials explaining the purpose and process of healing ministries should be available to all participants.

Christian modalities of healing are to be done in conjunction with medical science. Resources for referrals and follow-up should be planned in advance of sessions.

Contingency plans for medical and/or pastoral emergencies should be in place and known by those “working’ in the ministries of healing. Anointing with holy oil is one of the oldest modalities of Christian healing. Many Dioceses allow trained lay healing team members to anoint.

© Hawley Todd TSSF, Episcopal Healing Ministries

About Episcopal Healing Ministries

“The healing ministry is for all who seek a closer relationship with God; for all who seek to grow in grace and knowledge of Him. Christ is a healing Savior who heals all brokenness in every area of our lives.”

The Rev. Emily Gardiner Neal

Why were we founded?

Episcopal Healing Ministries was established in 1987 as a 501 C 3 charitable organization to implement the threefold healing ministry of Jesus Christ - to proclaim the kingdom of God, to teach, and to heal.

What is our mission?

The mission of Episcopal Healing Ministries is to proclaim by word and example the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by being obedient to his imperatives of teaching and healing. Episcopal Healing Ministries is devoted to training, instructing and preparing both clergy and laity to the highest professional standards of practice in ministries of healing. The staff of Episcopal Healing Ministries is available to lead ministries of healing through missions, retreats, liturgical services, and intercessory prayer.

What is our vision of healing?

All healing proceeds from God. Healing prayer is a sacramental activity. The best metaphor for prayers of healing is the epiclesis in the Holy Eucharist.

Who is Hawley Todd?

Hawley Todd TSSF is the Foundation Director and the Formation Director for Episcopal Healing Ministries. Having been mentored by the Rev. Emily Gardiner Neal from 1982 until her death in 1989, Hawley has 27 years of experience in the healing ministry. He was trained in the Anglican tradition at Bexley Hall Episcopal Seminary, taught World Religions at McMaster University and has been an Education for Ministry mentor with the University of the South since 1996. He has been an Assistant Formation Director for the Third Order of the Society of St. Francis and was the Director of Christian Formation at St. Thomas Episcopal Church from 1990 - 2006. Also a trained spiritual director, Hawley has led retreats and missions in the United States and Canada.

Contact Information

Hawley Todd TSSF
Foundation Director & Formation Director
Episcopal Healing Ministries
Christ Church Cathedral
318 East Fourth St.
Cincinnati, Ohio 45202
Phone: 513-967-6581


No comments: