A Center for Spirituality and Healing.
Special Healing Service Issue, Tuesday, August 12, 2014
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|Special Healing Service Issue of eGraceNotes|
Every second Wednesday at 7pm (tomorrow!) and every following Sunday at 10am (next Sunday!), we convene our monthly Healing Services at Grace Church. These services, also known as Celebrations of Wholeness and Healing, have been instrumental to Grace Church's transformation into a Center for Spirituality and Healing.
These Healing Services have been going on at Grace for long enough to have become part of our tradition. For regulars, the origins of these celebrations may already becoming distant memories. For others who have not yet experienced them, they may still seem strange and unfamiliar.
This special issue of eGraceNotes tells the story of these special healing services at Grace Church--how it all began, and where it's leading us.
|In the Beginning ... |
Laura Hall recalls,
"The Healing Service started one balmy summer evening after dinner at Jim Edgy's home. We had retreated to Jim's beautiful patio.
I was telling Jim about a vision I had during a meditation at a Yoga teacher training event I had just attended in North Carolina. In the vision, I saw the sanctuary at Grace Church with people standing in line for healing. I could hear angels singing and music in the background. I told Jim that several days after returning from Yoga training, I met Bob Laake at a Victory of Light Expo and purchased a drum from him. I shared with Jim the thought that meeting Bob Laake and purchasing a drum was connected to my vision experience.
Jim replied, "Well then, we have to call Bob Laake and get this healing service started."
Hawley Todd adds,
"Jim Edgy and Laura Hall wanted to have a healing service that would combine Christian healing ministries with other forms of healing that are found in what is often labelled Complimentary and Alternative Medicine.
The first two modalities to be added to traditional Christian forms of healing were Reiki and African Drumming. Jim and Laura had the service in place when The Rev. Ernestine Flemister came to Grace as Vicar, and she oversaw the service while she was here. Bishop Thomas Breidenthal presided over the second service, which legitimated it as a healing service geared to the Emerging Church Movement. While Vicar Ernestine was here, she and I co-lead it, and I became the leader when she was called to another church.
|The Wednesday Night Healing Experience |
We asked Candace Moxley, a person relatively new to the Wednesday night 7pm Healing Service, to describe how that Celebration of Wholeness and Healing feels. Here's her story:
It starts with drumming--a primal call felt deep within our DNA--beckoning community. Everyone is invited to join as evidenced by the spare drums in the circle. You can feel the increase of energy in the air. Chanting follows in a foreign tongue reminding us that inclusion is desired on a global scale. "Welcome, welcome," we say in Swahili.
The Holy Spirit, angels and all heavenly hosts are consciously invited. One can almost see the orbs dancing in the rafters to the African beat.
The service has prayer and a sermon and the clear intent is on healing. Many self-proclaimed healers with different training and backgrounds offer laying on of hands, believing that energy follows thought (prayer) and the energy to transform comes from the Divine (the God of your understanding). There are many stations around the church: padded tables at optimum height, a padded kneeler at the chapel alter, a blanket on the floor. People are directed to participate as the spirit moves them, in peace and harmony.
The participants seem to have something in common--they truly love their neighbor as themselves. This is a backdrop for miracles to happen!
Come join us as we ALL heal.
The heart of Jesus, nothing more, nothing less, nothing else!See more pictures taken at the Wednesday Healing Services here.
|The Wednesday Night Healing Service--Some Observations |
Hawley Todd, TSSF, who, along with Bob Laake leads the Wednesday night
Celebration of Wholeness and Healing, offers some observations:
- Numerous participants recount having overwhelming experiences of the presence of God. In addition, there have been numerous reports by participants of having encountered angels and saints during the service.
- The service is lead by Hawley Todd, who has an explicit Christo-centric focus and yet honors and welcomes practitioners wherever they are on their spiritual journeys. Even avowed atheists have found meaning in the service.
- It is a service that puts the Grace Church values into action.
- It is based on Episcopal/Anglican services taken from the New Zealand Prayer book and the Irish Book of Common Prayer
- The service is in its 8th year.
- Attendance varies between about 40 and 70. It starts at 7pm and ends when everyone has gone home--sometimes as late as 11pm. People come and go throughout the evening.
- It draws folks from all over the Greater Cincinnati area, and beyond--Columbus, Indianapolis. Louisville, Lexington. We even had a couple fly in from New York City to experience it.
- Churches in other locations such as Louisville have tried to duplicate it.
- We draw folks from many established faith traditions--Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, Hindu, Native American and numerous emerging spiritual organizations.
- Grace Church and this service in particular have a reputation in the alternative spiritual communities as a place where all people are welcomed and honored.
- Participants have told us that this is the first service they have attended in a Christian Church since they left the "Christian church of their childhood" where they felt accepted and treated with respect.
- During the summer months, neighborhood folks will hear the drumming and come into the church to see what is going on. Some are moved by what they see and join us. All are welcome to come as they are.
|The History and Implications of the Healing Ministry at Grace |
Jesus was a healer, of course. He healed what was broken in people's lives: reconciling people to God, people to people, and people to themselves.
It can be said that Grace Church has been facilitating healing through the traditional rites of the Christian Church since its founding in 1866.
In 1978, the healing of human relationships was emphasized when the passing of the peace was added to our worship service.
In the late 1990's the healing component of Grace's ministry became more explicit when we began offering healing prayers and laying on of hands for healing at every Sunday service, using a trained corps of healing ministers. This practice continues to this day.
About eight years ago, as described in an article above, the Wednesday night Healing Services came into being. From the first, this service welcomed a variety of healing modalities: traditional healing prayers and laying on of hands for healing, African drumming, reike and others. At some point, the services was formally named "A Celebration of Wholeness and Healing."
Hawley Todd developed a more traditional version of the Celebration of Wholeness and Healing for use on Sunday mornings. This service is now offered once a month at 10am.
As a result of the welcome found at Grace by non-traditional healers, combined with a decision by Grace Church leadership to find ways to extend spirituality and healing to its neighbors, groups and individuals have come to use Grace Church as a base for their ministries. We're now seeing some kind of healing ministry happening almost every day of the week. Grace Church has come to see the groups sharing its facility as being partners in a joint ministry of spirituality and healing.
Recently, realizing that Grace's goal of extending spirituality and healing had succeeded beyond its wildest dreams, Grace Church began billing itself as "A Center for Spirituality and Healing." Clearly, God is working something new here. Now, we're looking for ways to support and build on the unexpected success God has given us.
To learn more about the Center for Spirituality and Healing at Grace and its partners, visit the Center for Spirituality and Healing page on the Grace Church website.
|Open Heart, Open Mind, Open Body: Being Open to Healing |
Richard Rohr's Daily Meditation To finally surrender ourselves to healing, we have to have three spaces opened up within us--and all at the same time: our opinionated head, our closed-down heart, and our defensive and defended body. That is the summary work of spirituality--and it is indeed work. Yes, it is also the work of "a Power greater than ourselves," and it will lead to a great luminosity and depth of seeing. That is why true faith is one of the most holistic and free actions a human can perform. It leads to such broad and deep perception that most traditions would just call it "light."
Remember, Jesus said that we also are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14), as well as saying it about himself (John 8:12). Strange that we see light in him but do not imitate him in seeing the same light in ourselves. Such luminous seeing is quite the opposite of the closed-minded, dead-hearted, body-denying thing that much religion has been allowed to become. As you surely have heard before, "Religion is lived by people who are afraid of hell. Spirituality is lived by people who have been through hell and come out enlightened."
The innocuous mental belief systems of much religion are probably the major cause of atheism in the world today, because people see that religion has not generally created people who are that different, more caring, or less prejudiced than other people. In fact, they are often worse because they think they have God on their small side. I wish I did not have to say this, but religion either produces the very best people or the very worst. Jesus makes this point in many settings and stories. Mere mental belief systems split people apart, whereas actual faith puts all our parts (body, heart, and head) on notice and on call. Honestly, it takes major surgery and much of one's life to get head, heart, and body to put down their defenses, their false programs for happiness, and their many forms of resistance to what is right in front of them. This is the meat and muscle of the whole conversion process.
Adapted from Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the Twelve Steps, pp. 8-9, by Richard Rohr. Copyright © 2014 Center for Action and Contemplation, cac.org
| Coming Attractions |
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