Community ‘healing’ service to be April 21
Those who are grieving over the loss of a child — parents, grandparents and siblings — are urged to take advantage of a non-denominational community “healing” service to be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, April 21, at First United Methodist Church, 566 S. Haywood St., in Waynesville. The service is sponsored by First UMC and Grace in the Mountains Episcopal. Both churches belong to the Order of St. Luke (OSL), an ecumenical organization dedicated to the practice of healing prayer.
The service will consist of music, Scripture, liturgy, homily and prayers for the families, and lighting of remembrance candles by those who want to light one. Craig Summers, of MedWest Hospice and Palliative Care, will provide music.
“We are reaching out to families who have lost children for whatever reason,” said the Rev. Wilson Strickhausen, associate minister at First UMC. “We are using ‘soaking prayer,’ in which each person fills out a prayer card and the prayer ministers come behind and pray for each person silently. This way, each person is prayed for individually by every prayer minister. While the service is primarily for those who have lost children, anyone can come who has a need.”
This is the first time the two churches have held this type of service as a community outreach. Strickhausen and the Rev. Arlene Lucas, rector at Grace Episcopal, will be the presiders.
Fr. John Rice, president of the National Board of Directors of OSL, will give the homily and direct the healing prayer. Rice has been an Episcopal priest for 24 years, and is the director of Region 3, which includes the southeastern states.
Both First Methodist and Grace in The Mountains have active OSL teams, including First Methodist members, Betty Lou Hubbard, Frances Hannah, Anita Strickhausen, Toni Mullany and Barbara Stallings, and Grace members, Carol Brady, Jack Brady, the Rev. Lucas, Connie Mozelewski, Bill Stecher, Joann Thrower, Gretchen Tope and Sharon Miller.
“I attended a workshop on family healing, and the whole day was so respectful of families and whatever pain they brought in, “ said Miller. “It’s OK to feel pain. We are presenting this opportunity to families to create an atmosphere for their healing.”
Lucas, who spent her internship at a hospital NICU, knows how hard it is emotionally, not only for the families affected, but also, for the doctors, nurses and clergy, “who hold the (deceased loved ones) faces in their memory.”
The group will have professionals in grief counseling available at the service.
“The service will be very welcoming. People attending can choose how to participate. The real focus will be on Scripture, soft music, intimate candles, and paced so that there is some silence — some personal prayer,” said Lucas.
“ People can sit and pray by themselves or go to the prayer ministry ‘team’ for prayer or soaking prayer,” added Strickhausen. “This is not ‘charismatic’ healing in style.”
Miller asks that anyone who knows a family in need of healing pass the information along about the special April 21 service.
The International Order of St. Luke the Physician is an ecumenical Christian organization devoted to bringing the healing ministry of Jesus to all who need physical, spiritual or emotional healing. It was founded about 70 years ago and numbers more than 7,000 members.
In addition to this special service, Grace Church in the Mountains holds ongoing healing services at noon on Wednesdays. First United Methodist Church Waynesville holds healing prayer at 4 p.m. the third Sunday of the month and at noon every Thursday.
For information on the April 21 service, call either Strickhausen at 456-5183 or Mozelewski at 400-4176.