Christians promote a comprehensive experience of health and healing. In this they follow Christ, who spent much of his time amidst the people curing diseases, bringing reconciliation and subverting the powers of oppression. Throughout the following 2000 years, the Church established and maintained hospices and hospitals to offer compassionate care to the sick. Yet this comprehensive ministry is now more detached from the medical establishment. Faith has settled into the private sphere and no longer seems present nor believed to be helpful in the places in which the sick are cared for.
However, there are signs now that faith and health are being reunited. For example:
• Christian healing agencies have pioneered ‘whole-person’ approaches to health care.
• GP practices offer spiritual support from their surgeries.
• Parish nurses work with churches to strengthen the interaction between pastoral care and health services.
• Parishes work with NHS primary care organisations to offer innovative services to educate and support people in attaining a better level of health.
• Hospital chaplains come alongside patients and staff with prayer, reassurance and spiritual support.
The conference will reflect on these emerging trends and ask fresh questions about the role of the church in clinical care, public health and social care. This invigoration of faith and health will prompt church and society to seek new paths together to bring health and healing to individuals in communities throughout the country. The Conference will enable participants to discover practical ways forward.
Paul Blakey MBE, founder of SA-CNI, will be speaking at this conference on the work and impact of local projects across the UK.