Every Tuesday, people gather in the chapel of First United Church in Ottawa to offer healing. They are there to conduct Healing Pathway sessions. Practitioners learn to be spiritually grounded, heart-centred channels of God’s healing love. Across Canada, more than 100 other congregations are doing the same thing, as trained practitioners embody God’s unconditional healing love for those who come to receive.
Sharon Moon, a retired United Church minister who has cultivated Healing Pathway ministries in Ottawa and Montreal, explains that Healing Pathway is a heart-centred ministry using healing hands in non-invasive touch, working for balance and wholeness, using techniques learned in the training. Those who receive this training have told her they experience a deep peace, groundedness, integration, as well as pain relief and other experiences of healing.
Moon explains that Healing Pathway is a “profound spiritual practice of deep prayer and meditation.” Individuals can receive this “healing energy” on a massage table, in a chair or in a hospital bed. However, she adds that it is not only for people dealing with a major health crisis, as “we are all on a healing journey of mind, body, emotions and spirit.”
While all sessions are led by trained practitioners, Moon says that practitioners are not the source of the healing energy; “they are merely the instrument. The aim of healing is to restore balance and harmony within the energy system and thus enable the self-healing of the individual.”
The idea for the program originated when Rochelle Graham, a Healing Touch instructor working at Naramata Centre, offered workshops on healing. She developed a curriculum to train people to be heart-centred and to use healing hands techniques for restoration of wholeness, balance and healing on all levels. This program was adopted by B.C. and Alberta Conferences as a form of ministry. There are now over 20 instructors who teach Healing Pathway in congregations or communities that want to begin to develop this ministry.
After the Naramata Centre closed, Moon says the program survived thanks to “the incredibly dedicated work of a small coordinating team of five instructors,” and with funding from the United Church of Canada Foundation. It is now thriving, as in the last few years, more than 18 groups have formed in Ontario, with the Maritime Conference looking to develop it as a ministry.
Moon explains that Healing Pathway “offers God’s love, and grace and healing to all who come. We visit in hospitals where Pathway can help to support and speed healing after surgery, lower blood pressure, and restore balance. It is an outreach for congregations. And as both practitioners and those receiving experience the profound spirituality of the practice, it can transform communities.”
Moon wants to see Healing Pathway spread across the nation, and beyond. It is already used in prisons for women in Guatemala.
“Our ministry is continually evolving and we hope to do even more to spread it into areas where it has not yet touched,” she says.
If you would like to explore having training in your congregation and for more information, visit Healingpathway.ca or email HealingPathwayCanada [at] gmail.com. Or check out our Healing Pathway video.
-Paul Russell is Communications Coordinator with the Office of the Moderator and General Secretary.
New and diverse approaches to ministry are constantly cropping up across The United Church of Canada, and Embracing the Spirit wants to hear about them. If you are involved with a group that has found an innovative way to approach church, let us know, by filling in the Tell Us Your Story form, found at the bottom of the Spur Innovation page.