21 October 2022
A Belmont parishioner says a healing service at his church has helped refresh his sense of purpose.
Brett Gear said his involvement with the healing service at St Stephen’s Anglican had given him a better understanding of God, and that he was more aware of His presence.
Mr Gear said he had been baptised at St Stephen’s as a child but had drifted away from his faith during his teenage years.
He said that like many others, life’s ups and downs had precipitated his return to worship.
For Mr Gear, that had been around the age of 36 years.
Since then, his interest had slowly gathered pace, but with the healing service in particular had flourished into a deeper faith and spiritual awareness.
Assistant priest the Reverend Elizabeth Bufton said the service was a small one but that participants had seen God move in amazing ways.
Ms Bufton said initially the church had focused on training a group of people to be enabled and confident about praying for the healing of others.
She said that they helped make the service comforting for participants, and that people from other churches had also begun attending the services.
Ms Bufton said the evening usually started with a welcoming prayer, a few Scripture readings and hymns and that there was generally confession or absolution.
The service progressed with encouragement from the readings which were usually healing stories, and then waiting on the Holy Spirit.
”We let people know that and if they want to respond, they’re very welcome to come forward for prayer for themselves or anyone else. And during the next couple of hymns, we might invite people to come in the ministry team, and have a prayer together,” Ms Bufton said.
She said that healing was ultimately about having a relationship with God, and she was hopeful that participants were beginning to feel that.
Mr Gear said that in the six months the healing services had been running he had observed and been involved in some of the healing.
He said that he had recently felt moved to ask if anyone had been having trouble with their eyes. A parishioner Corey Britten had then approached him about the pain he had been experiencing in his eyes.
But Mr Gear said what moved him most was that he felt that he was entrusted to get up and speak words that God had blessed him with in front of people.
“God had put the words in my heart to express to the congregation. I trusted in Him and felt I could speak those words with confidence,” he said.
That trust also made him aware that he couldn’t take credit for any of the successes that stemmed from the prayers because it was God who was doing the healing, he said.
Mr Gear said he thought the service was still developing, but that people who attended, who weren’t normally part of the congregation, were becoming more comfortable with being there.
He said because of that St Stephen’s was hopeful that it would bridge into regular attendance at the normal Sunday services for them.
So, it’s a bridge-building exercise too. A pathway, if you like, to regularly experiencing God’s grace,” Mr Gear said.