Healing services intended to refresh spirit, mind

YOUNGSTOWN -- This passage from the second letter of Paul to Timothy in the New Testament reveals the reason for the healing services recently held at St. John's Episcopal Church, 323 Wick Ave.
"The laying on of hands helps us feel the resources of God's love. And that helps us get through," said the Rev. John S. Horner, who has been at St. John's for five years. "It's the strength of community as we pray,"
"It's not magic or any big deal," he said. "And it's not unique to me. The rule of thumb is to have a healing ministry ... it's part of who we are."
The Good News, the church newsletter, describes the healing service as "a peace-inspiring gentle service of light and love ... It will put you at ease, remind you of what is sacred, and refresh your mind, body and spirit." The services are at 2:30 p.m. the first Wednesday of the month.
Keeping it simple
The Rev. Mr. Horner said the basic tenant of the service is simplicity. Participants sit around the altar and passages from Scripture are read and participants offer responses. "Usually about 20 or so people participate," he said.
Participants may pray silently or share their request. "Some tell me what their prayers are for," Mr. Horner said. "It can be a private matter, not for public confirmation."
The physicality of laying on of hands energizes multiple senses, Mr. Horner said. The laying on of hands is simple physical contact by which participants connect with and draw strength from another person of faith.
For that part of the service, participants are invited to form a semicircle around the altar. Mr. Horner says the same blessing over each person as he lays his hands on each person's head. The words, in part, state "that you may feel the healing power of God's love."
"It's a positive force that touches people spiritually, mentally, physically, emotionally and cognitively," Mr. Horner said. The physical gesture and praying are signs of inward resolve to "rekindle faith." Participants also may take communion.
In the March 8 service, scheduled a week later than usual because of Ash Wednesday, Mr. Horner told participants that "the deepest part of Christian life is prayer."
He also noted that though the "world is broken, God knows how to put it back together." But it is up to individuals to "ask for healing of mind ... and pray our minds and hearts be open," he said.
The service has been well-received. "The feedback I have gotten has been positive. It's helped people in various ways," Mr. Horner said.
He noted that if people "have faith and are active in the community," positive energy ensues. It is drawing on the inner self, the faith within, that makes that, and more, possible.
"I feel uplifted," Patricia Sekola of Austintown said of the feeling she has after attending a service. "It's an affirmation of the gospel that Christ has brought to the community."
Pat Rogers, also of Austintown, said, "After the wild world, though it's wonderful ... this is peaceful. It gives you a chance to get your head back together."

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