PLANS to resurrect the Christian healing centre Burrswood as an intentional community similar to Lee Abbey have been laid out by former senior leaders at the centre.
Founded by Dorothy Kerin in 1948, Burrswood, was put into administration in April (News, 3 May): it had debts of £3.75 million. The estate contained the only church in the UK dedicated in honour of Christ the Healer, where twice-weekly healing services were held. Until 2016, it was registered as a 40-bed hospital.
The private estate of more than 100 acres, including a Grade II listed building, in Groombridge, Kent, is currently listed for sale at Knight Frank with an asking price of £8 million.
Dr Michael Harper, CEO of Burrswood from 2000 to 2006, is among a group of former senior leaders campaigning to save it. A press release from the group says that there is still a need for “places where Jesus is manifestly present, places of hope, healing and discovery”.
The group argues: “There is a difference between what most local churches are able to offer, and what Burrswood can offer. At Burrswood people can be embraced and lovingly held for a time within the community, where Jesus is at the centre, and is the raison d’être. Local churches and centres like Burrswood are in fact complementary in ministry.”
The plan focuses on re-establishing Burrswood “along its original lines: as an intentional community”. The Scargill Movement and Lee Abbey are cited as models: “In such communities there is a greater unity of purpose, and costs are greatly reduced, for people feel called, serve as part of the community for a period, are accommodated and fed, and receive a modest and equitable allowance according to their circumstances.”
It is envisaged that, in addition to a community (following a “simple rule of life”), senior residents would stay as long-term guests “who need now to be served”. The centre would also host day volunteers.
The ministry would include the offer of “accredited lifestyle medicine programmes — science-based yet holistic — that have a proven ability to prevent, arrest, and even reverse some of our biggest causes of poor health, such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and dementia.”
It would also offer accredited courses in theology, spirituality, and health for health-care professionals; physiotherapy; and hydrotherapy. Counselling will also be available.
For more details, email David Hanes at firstname.lastname@example.org.