Friday, April 25, 2014


How deeply I loved being a member of the International Order of St. Luke the Physician, a Christian healing ministry based in the Southern United States. Laying hands on people and praying for them to be healed brought substance to the sense of spirituality I have had since I was a young girl.
The loss of my beloved husband tore a gaping hole in my heart. A dear friend brought me to a healing service at St. Barnabas Anglican Church in Pierrefonds, a suburb of Montreal where I have lived all my life.
I was Jewish, I am still Jewish, I will always be Jewish, but I desperately needed something more - some substantial assurance of God's reality, His presence and His care.
It is a long story, but I was finally baptized in 1994, and I started to take the course with the program of the International Order of St. Luke the Physician to become a member of the healing ministry.
I took the responsibility very seriously, very deeply. Praying for people who, like me, were suffering, physically or emotionally, was - to me - a very personal commitment.
At St. Paul's Anglican Church in Lachine, where I took the OSL course with Fr. Barry Clarke - since 2004, the Anglican Bishop of Montreal - I was inducted into the Order of St. Luke and I received my pin. I participated with Fr. Barry in healing services and I taught the course to others at St. Paul's.
The experience helped me heal from the great agony of my loss. It meant so much to me. I don't know if Barry likes me, but I have always held him in high esteem and affection, and working in the ministry beside him was an honour.
So why am I writing this piece? Because, as has happened to me so often in my life, something good and lovely was torn away from me and I need to reveal this truth.
The annual membership fee for the Order of St. Luke was something like $25.00 as I recall. Back then, in the 1990's, I was living on welfare. One year, I could not afford the full $25.00 for my membership renewal.
I offered the Order of St. Luke  a $10.00 cheque. They refused me. And I was no longer a member of OSL. No longer a healer. No longer a "minister". No longer qualified to stand beside Fr. Barry and lay hands on the sick and suffering.
In my heart, I never changed. I never stopped wanting to help. I never stopped hoping that I could make a difference, bring comfort and a little light to desperate people. But, officially, I was no longer a member of The International Order of St. Luke.
For want of $15.00 - U.S. funds - Lord Jesus Christ - as represented by the International Order of St. Luke the Physician - divorced me and removed me from His ministry.
Phyllis Carter

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The International Order of St. Luke the Physician is an ecumenical organization dedicated to the Christian healing ministry. Members meet in local chapters to study Scripture, specifically the biblical stories of the healing miracles, as well as additional books on Christian healing. Members also engage in healing prayer, often with the laying-on of hands.

The Order was founded in 1932 by the late John Gayner Banks and his wife, Ethel Tulloch Banks, and was incorporated in the State of California in 1953. Our purpose has been to restore the ministry of healing to its proper place in the Christian Church. Initially, the focus of OSL was to promote healing services in every church. We continue that commitment to healing within the church by seeking to create more time in our worship for healing services. While it is still an important part of our ministry, it is not our sole mission. Today our focus also includes extending our healing ministry beyond the church and into the greater community.

playing_group.jpgIt is OSL's mission to take the healing touch of Jesus beyond the walls of the church building into hospitals, nursing homes, and into the greater community—anywhere people are in need. Through our work, we seek to create time that is not rushed, so that we may act as God's presence, intentionally pouring out His love as prayer for the sick. We minister to those who are bound in guilt, so that they might confess their sins before God and be set free through the absolution that God has provided for us. We tend to those who will take the time, through counsel and prayer, to begin healing the painful memories of the past.

As part of our deliverance ministry, we call on the healing power of Jesus to cast out those forces that invade the psyche and compel behavior that is not the will of the person or of God. (We recognize this ministry is to be extended in accord with the disciplines and policies of each denomination.) We recognize the need for ministry that will empower those who are not able in their own strength to cope with the disease in their lives. OSL holds that healing begins with our introduction to God as Abba, so that we might grow as His child. It continues when the love, joy, and peace of God is imparted as the Holy Spirit and brings a risen Lord to dwell within us.

This vocation calls us do more than sponsor healing services. It also calls us to seek God's grace so that we may study and learn, and minister to all whom God sends to us. OSL is founded on the conviction that God intends for us not to be spectators but, rather, to be participants, sharing Jesus' ministry as He comes among us to heal the sick.

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