St Stephen’s Church to begin a Ministry of Christian Healing
Fr. Terry Sweeney has been involved in the ministry of Christian Healing for most of his 33 years in active ministry. He’s been the pastor of St Stephen’s full time for about 18 months, 12 of which was during the COVID lockdown. The church responded to the pandemic using online services and is now back to public worship on Sundays at 11 am.
At a recent retreat the church leadership decided to plan and offer a new ministry to the community by offering services of healing prayer for those in need of healing. Pastor Sweeney described it this way:
“Healing was a prominent part of Jesus’ ministry. He cured the sick in mind and body through a combination of divine power and natural means. The early church continued to heal in the name and power of Christ, through charisms of healing (1 Cor. 12) and/or sacramental ministry (James 5). The rite of anointing the sick became “extreme unction” for the dying. Bodily suffering was to be patiently endured and healing ministry transmuted into the “cure of souls” focusing on relationship with God.
Bodily healing came through medical interventions or, rarely, by special providence of God. The split of healing ministry into medical care (physical) and pastoral care (spiritual) continued into the twentieth century.”
St Stephen’s is continuing in the early church practice of anointing and prayer for the sick. Pastor Sweeney is quick to add, “Christian healing does NOT attempt to replace science and medicine with what may be called faith-healing. We are not advocating practices found in “Church of Christ; Scientist” Reading Rooms or any such beliefs. Every aspect of maintaining or regaining health is employed including prayer and the sacraments.”
He further adds, “Healing to some degree occurs when the sick are anointed with oil and prayed for. Such healing when combined with sacramental confession many times results in a peace that transcends our understanding. The sick person is made whole by grace and sometimes such grace manifests a physical healing. Miracles although not promised, have occurred. The healing ministry at St Stephen’s will be liturgical, biblical, and will never suggest, teach or encourage anyone to bypass medicine, or sound diet, exercise or religious practices such as anointing, communion or prayer.”
The ministry will begin public worship Tuesday September 14 at 7pm and every Tuesday evening thereafter. There is no charge. There will be no push to have someone join the church. Just come and expect the Lord to be present as we worship Him. Fr Terry Sweeney, Pastor. 931-571-8235 or firstname.lastname@example.org