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Christian healing centre goes into administration

03 May 2019

Staff at Burrswood Health and Wellbeing were informed on Tuesday of the decision


Burrswood, in Groombridge, Kent

Burrswood, in Groombridge, Kent

A CHRISTIAN centre that has offered “whole person” care for more than 70 years, Burrswood Health and Wellbeing, has been put into administration.

Staff were informed on Tuesday of the decision, and were also warned that there was not enough money to pay their wages for this month.

A statement released by the centre’s trustees, last month, had warned that the centre was facing an “unsustainable financial position” and would have to close in the summer.

Financial records, lodged at Companies House, show operational losses of more than £1 million in 2017, with only a substantial legacy keeping the centre afloat. The Dorothy Kerin Trust — which manages the centre — has more than £6 million in assets, largely consisting of the Grade II listed Burrswood house and estate.

LENAREDorothy Kerin founded Burrswood in 1948,. She had experienced an overnight, miraculous healing in 1912, after years of illness. She believed that she had been healed by Christ and had been called to set up a place where others could come to receive the same healing  

Burrswood, in Groombridge, Kent, was founded in 1948 by Dorothy Kerin, who, after years of illness, experienced an overnight, miraculous healing in 1912. She believed that she had been healed by Christ and had been called to set up a place where others could come to receive the same healing.

Supported by donations, she set up homes of prayer and healing from 1929 onwards, eventually raising the money — entirely through donations — to buy the Burrswood estate and turn it into a hospital for physical and spiritual healing. The estate contains the only church in the UK dedicated to Christ the Healer where twice weekly healing services are still held. Kerin died in 1963, and it was revealed then that she had received the stigmata after her own healing.

Burrswood was registered as a 40-bed hospital until 2016, when financial pressures forced it to close the hospital and focus, instead, on health and well-being, offering 12 beds for rehabilitation and respite. Its income has fallen further since then.

The chairman of Burrswood’s board of trustees, Robin Hepburn, said: “It is a beautiful building in a beautiful place, but, as a hospital, it rarely covered its costs, and fundraising was increasingly falling short. When Dorothy Kerin was alive, people used to come to healing services in coachloads; but now, rather wonderfully, you can attend a healing service at almost any parish church; so fewer people visit.

“Burrswood is a very special place where healing has happened in many ways for very many people. We are very sad we have not found a way to make it sustainable.

“We recognise that this news will be a cause of grief for the very many people who have been connected with Burrswood over many years, but we hope this is not the end of what started under Dorothy Kerin, but that a new future will emerge.”

A former medical director and chief executive of Burrswood, Dr Michael Harper, said that he had put forward two proposals to the trustees last month to try to save the healing ministry begun by Kerin, basing it around the Church of Christ the Healer.

He said that he and others wanted to continue “upholding the marriage of medicine and ministry which has been the hallmark of Burrswood for 70 years”, but his proposal did not get a response from the trustees.

A former member of staff said: “Dorothy Kerin believed that beauty heals. Burrswood is an exceptionally beautiful place, and genuinely has something special about it, which you feel, and which you can’t find anywhere else. There are people whose whole lives have been transformed by being there. There are lots of stories of people turning up in a wheelchair and walking out, but it isn’t just about physical healing — the whole ethos was the healing of body, mind, and spirit.

“When the hospital went, it lost its unique selling point. It will be tragic if it collapses and dies altogether.”

Another former medical director and chief executive of Burrswood Hospital, Dr Gareth Tuckwell, said: “I thank God for Burrswood’s amazing 70 years of ministry, and for the many thousands of people who have encountered the living Lord Jesus Christ in a profound, deep, and healing way during their time there. It has been a wonderful ‘place apart’ where lives were touched and transformed in a beautiful way. I so hope and pray that there is a new chapter to come where this unique ministry can be continued.”

Campaigners have set up an email address to co-ordinate efforts to try to save Burrswood: bwd@resurrectionburrswood.org.

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