The Church’s ministry to the sick and those in distress is based on Jesus’ constant concern and care for those in need. This is reinforced by the Epistle of James’ admonition to the sick to call for the elders of the Church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. James expects this rite to have three effects:
- the prayer of faith will save the sick
- the Lord will raise them up
- their sins will be forgiven (Book of Alternative Services, p.551)
Anointing with oil is a healing ministry intended to happen within the life and worship of a parish or faith community. It’s not a private or individual ministry, but a ministry of the whole Church.
The Bishop’s Committee on Healing Ministries offers annual training for lay anointers to support pastoral care in parishes. Each anointer is licensed by their area bishop and works under the supervision of parish clergy. Lay anointers also get support through annual refresher days on topics helpful to their ministry.