Alternative therapies

02 November 2006

The book Equipping Your Church in a Spiritual Age lists numerous case studies of individuals and churches responding to the search for spirituality through therapies and practices often thought outside the Christian faith.

Ursula Findlay-Donisthorpe holds private clinics in the Forest of Dean for people with various pains and injuries. She trained as a remedial masseur, reflexologist and sport-injury therapist, though she rejected the New Age aspects of her training. She prays in the room before her clients arrive, and over them while treating them. Sessions frequently develop into conversations about the whole person's life. Many are said to have been helped emotionally, spiritually, and physically; and some clients have become Christians.

Holistic centre
In St Martin's Church, in the centre of the Bullring shopping centre in Birmingham, a centre for health and healing has been opened. Among the services offered by Christian professionals and trained volunteers, the centre provides counselling, stress-management, advice, and prayer for healing. Since it opened in April 2000, more than 15,000 people have used the centre.

Meditation at school
The Revd Barry Hobson, a Church Army evangelist and parish priest, has become involved in his local school's spirituality sessions by teaching pupils to meditate. He is careful not to close the sessions to children of other faiths, and works within school guidelines of not promoting Christianity as the only true faith. The sessions have enabled youngsters to encounter God and develop an impression of Christianity as something attractive and spiritual.

Tom Brown is a minister in Chipping Sodbury. When in Australia he came across the Community of Hope, who were using people's interest in tarot cards to get them to explore a Christian interpretation of the cards' message, based on Christian symbolism within them. Tom uses this now in his area, and several people have become Christians through it.

This is an edited extract from Equipping Your Church in a Spiritual Age (£9.99; 0-8516-9314-8), available from 116 High Street, Harrold, Bedford MK43 7BJ (p. & p. £1.50) or via

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