The small village of Ballintra, in County Donegal, was the venue, on Sunday 29th May, for the first in-person Healing Service in the diocese since the pandemic struck, over two years ago. The Service of Celebration of Wholeness and Healing, in Drumholm Parish Church – one of the southernmost churches in the diocese – was led by the Rector of Macosquin, Rev Paul Lyons, who is Warden of the Derry and Raphoe Ministry of Healing. He was assisted by Rev Heather Houlton, who preached the sermon and took part in the laying on of hands; Archdeacon David Huss, who provided music; and Wendy McCool and Brian Seaton, from the Diocese’s Healing Ministry team, who delivered the Gospel readings and helped with the private prayers afterwards.

The clergy and congregation – which included people from different denominations – were welcomed to the church by the Rector of Drumholm, Kilbarron and Rossnowlagh, Rev Canon Brian Russell.

Rev Lyons said those taking part in the service “believed fervently in the power of prayer”. He encouraged members of the congregation to avail of the opportunity for prayer: “Maybe it’s for illness, maybe it’s for a relationship, maybe it’s for a certain situation.”

In her sermon, Rev Houlton said those present were thinking mainly of sickness of “body, mind and spirit”. She commended Romans Chapter 8 to anyone who was feeling down. “It’s filled with encouraging words,” she said, “especially the second half of the chapter, so, remember that: pull out your Bible and read Romans 8 as soon as you can.”

Rev Houlton said that she had been on teams praying for healing for many years and had seen answers to prayer. “When the Holy Spirit touches us,” she said, “it is possible for us to experience healing because the Holy Spirit is so powerful. He was there at the beginning of creation. God is the one who knows our complex human bodies because he made them. The Holy Spirit came into Christ’s dead body in the tomb and raised him from the dead. The Holy Spirit is able to do that, and he is able to touch our bodies in the place of our sickness still today.”

After the service, the congregation stayed on either to pray privately – as individuals – with the Healing Ministry team, or to enjoy refreshments provided by members of Drumholm Parish.

Rev Lyons said he and his colleagues on the Ministry of Healing team looked forward to supporting clergy and congregations right across the diocese in future. He invited rural deans to get in touch if they wanted the team to come and support healing services in their local communities.