As the Episcopal Church continues to evolve in the 21st century, how might healing services take shape and respond to new needs and challenges? Grace Church, College Hill, offers three radically different healing services that may serve as an inspiration to other congregations looking to offer healing as a ministry to their neighbors.

The oldest of these three gatherings began in 2007 and is known as a Celebration of Wholeness and Healing. It is significant that the service is called a celebration and that wholeness comes before the word healing. While healing, wholeness and salvation are all linguistically related, many people outside Episcopal Church traditions are more prone to identify with seeking wholeness than seeking healing. Over the years this service has become a welcoming oasis for people seeking radical inclusion. All traditions and ways of seeking God and healing are honored. African drumming has been a mainstay of these Wednesday evening gatherings, and typical attendance is 50 to 60 participants. The service has attracted attendees from as far away as New York City and has given birth to similar services in Louisville and other denominations.

Laying handsA second service, also called a Celebration of Wholeness and Healing, takes place once a month on Sunday morning as Grace’s principle worship service for that day. It is a more traditional service of healing and appeals to Episcopalians who are comfortable with our liturgy.

The third manifestation of a healing service at Grace is called Spiritual Expressions and does not look at all like a traditional healing service. It often is scheduled on the last Friday of the month and like the Wednesday evening Celebration of Wholeness and Healing, this service reaches out to seekers and people who have been hurt or damaged by traditional forms of “doing church.” Spiritual Expressions honors each person as a child of God and welcomes everyone, especially those who may be afraid to attend church on Sunday mornings. Most services employ musical instruments such as drums, singing bowls, gongs and flutes as the liturgical platform for the Holy Spirit to manifest in the gathering. Participants may play instruments, dance, sit quietly, pray, or do whatever else helps them to be present to God in the here and now. It is called Spiritual Expressions because it utilizes an understanding of healing as “becoming the authentic person God is creating one to be.”

For more information about any of these forms of healing service, contact Hawley Todd TSSF at todd@episcopalhealing.org.

Attend a Celebration of Wholeness & Healing at Grace Church College Hill on the second Wednesday of the month at 7 p.m. There’s a free community dinner before the service, dinner begins at 5 p.m. Participants are welcome to join the service whenever their schedule allows and also leave whenever needed. Services typically run until 10 p.m. Grace Church is located at 5501 Hamilton Ave. in Cincinnati. Call 513.541.2415 for more information

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