By Maya Pilbrow
9 March 2023
People facing hardship have been taking up support opportunities at special healing services run by St Stephen’s Belmont.
St Stephen’s Belmont has run weeknight evening services aimed at offering healing prayer to those in need since December 2021.
The Reverend Shirley Lettras said the services originally began in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We noticed a lot of people in our community were struggling with mental health issues,” she said.
Mrs Littras said the services were frequently attended by those dealing with mental health issues, as well as addiction and physical illness.
Mrs Littras said healing could come in a variety of ways and that it was important for people to be able to feel God’s love.
“The main thing is actually listening,” she said.
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Mrs Littras said the parish had plans to continue the services and to further open the church up to the community as a space for meditation and reflection.
This comes at a time when record numbers of Australians are trying to access mental health care.
Recently released data from mental health support service Lifeline showed 26,000 Australians had searched for assistance and support from the organisation in January, the highest number to date.
Lifeline Australia CEO Colin Seery said in a 5 March media release that the significant increase in demand for support was triggered by rising cost-of-living pressures affecting a wider number of people.
The healing services at St Stephen’s, held on the second Monday of each month, are open to anyone in the community.
The Reverend Liz Bufton said it was not just prayer, but the love and care offered by the community that was beneficial to those in need.
She said it was important to hold healing ministries separately to traditional Sunday services.
“It opens it up for more people that maybe wouldn’t be comfortable coming to a Sunday service,” she said.
“It’s giving people who wouldn’t normally come to church an opportunity to come forward for prayer.”
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