Jesus call to his disciples to share with him in his ministry of healing has been at the heart of Christian life in Hereford for centuries.
The shrine of St Thomas of Hereford attracted pilgrims from across the country and there are many accounts of miracles of healing.The shrine of St Thomas today continues to attract pilgrims and the intercession boards near to the shrine are full of prayers daily.
During the 20th century, the church ‘re-discovered’ the ministry of healing.The formation of organizations like the Guild of St Raphael, the Guild of Health and the divine Healing Mission encouraged a new awareness.Addressing his diocesan conference in 1924, Archbishop William Temple said:
You cannot read the Gospels and cut out the ministry of healing without tearing them to ribbons…Nor can you draw a sharp like between what is physical and what is mental.The two merge in most baffling ways.
All this lead to the setting up of the Archbishops’ Commission in 1953.Since that official report, the ministry of healing has become a familiar and much used ministry in many parishes.It was give further official support through the influential report A Time to Heal (2000).
In the diocese of Hereford, may parishes have healing groups.Some meet regularly, others only from time to time.Some encourage the laying on of hands and anointing within the Eucharist – others prefer a separate ‘healing service’.
In recent years, we have encouraged parishes to make others aware of the existence of a parish group, through appointing a ‘healing champion’ in each deanery.
From time to time there are healing days, when parish representatives come together for training and prayer – recent days have included those led by the Revd. Beatrice Brandon, the Archbishops’ Advisor and consultant for the ministry of healing and another under the auspices of the Guild of Health/St Raphael.
Hereford Cathedral holds two or three Healing Eucharists each year, to which representatives of parishes and deaneries are invited.We feel that the ministry of healing needs time and space for those involved in it, and the evening Eucharists, in the quiet of the cathedral provide that space and reflection.
For further information on the healing ministry please contact the Dean of Hereford, the Very Revd. Michael Tavinor: