Bishop’s Committee on Healing Ministries

The gospels reveal to us that Jesus’ ministry was a ministry of healing. Nearly 1/5 of the gospels are devoted to acts of healing, with more than 40 recorded instances of physical and mental healing. Christian ministry, by its very nature, involves ministries of healing that strive for the well-being of the mind, body and spirit.

In May 1968, the Bishop of Toronto’s Commission on the Church’s Ministry of Healing noted:

“Health and healing are difficult to define, but health may be described as a condition of satisfactory functioning of the whole organism. The words health, wholeness and holiness are closely linked in origin. Healing may, therefore, be described as the process by which a living organism, whose functions are disordered, is restored to health or ‘made whole’; that is to say, returns to complete functioning. In a sense, all healing maybe considered to be Divine. Many aspects of healing are still outside our present knowledge, and this we should honestly and humbly admit.”

Healing is as much mystery as it is science. The experience of healing and the ministry of healing is as old as humanity itself. In today’s scientific 21st century, the promotion of the Church’s ministry of healing within both the parish setting and publicly funded institutions such as hospitals, long-term care facilities and prisons remains one of the most challenging opportunities of living out our vision of building communities of hope and compassion.

The Committee

The Bishop’s Committee on Healing Ministries is committed to education across the Diocese, providing speakers as requested for parishes, area days and workshops on a variety of topics related to healing in the Church.

In our Diocese

The Diocese of Toronto requires those who wish to minister in acts of healing to be both trained and licensed within their specialized ministries.

The Diocese lives out its ministry of healing in the following ways:

  • The laying on of hands (currently restricted to ordained clergy)
  • Anointing with oil: considered a sacramental act and restricted to either ordained clergy or licensed lay anointers.
  • Pastoral visiting: both generalized and specific therapeutic care offered by qualified clergy and lay pastoral visitors. This is a fundamental dynamic of a worshiping community of faith tending to the spiritual and religious needs of its membership through a regular pattern of focused visitations.
  • Parish nursing: also known as faith community nursing, a growing field of specialized nursing that operates in churches and other faith communities, promoting health, healing and wholeness.

For more information, please contact the Rev. Canon Joanne Davies, co-chair of the Bishop’s Committee on Healing Ministries.