Consultation on Faith, Healing and Mission, Santiago De Chile 28-30 October, 2003 Synthesis of Group Reports

Article excerpt

Important notice

At the Santiago consultation, participants were split into four groups: one English speaking, two Spanish speaking, and one bilingual. Groups began by sharing personal experiences and testimonies, then moved on to work on three related issues:

I. What are the obstacles and difficulties we face in the healing ministry?

II. What are the main emphases, characteristics and challenges of a healing community?

III. How can a healing community be developed?

The groups presented their reports orally to the consultation, but the reports were not distributed. I collected all the papers from the rapporteurs in order to publish them, translated the Spanish texts and, where necessary, compared the reports (some hand-written) with my own notes taken during the oral presentations. I came to the conclusion that it was not helpful to publish the reports as they had been written, since several appeared as a list of sentences or half sentences in no particular order within each of the three main themes. However, since I discerned a similarity in the approaches, it seemed possible to produce a synthesis. This I have done, mainly by putting together similar affirmations, eliminating some duplications and clustering the affirmations thematically within the three main chapters.

What follows is thus, in most cases, taken word by word (or in translation from Spanish) from the manuscripts. In some places, it was necessary to add a verb or a word to clarify the meaning and make real sentences.

I have kept the main classification done by the groups as they responded to the three questions. Within each of these "chapters", however, the sequence and classification of the material is due to me. This means that the reader will find sub-classifications containing affirmations from the four groups, but which seem to point to similar questions or theses. I assume editorial responsibility for this and apologise for any misinterpretation of the original intention. I am also responsible for the footnotes.

What follows is meant to enable the reader to discern tendencies, hopes, fears and commitments which were important to the participants in the Chile meeting. It has value as an illustration of the dialogue that took place in the groups. None of the affirmations, however, has been approved by the consultation.

Jacques Matthey

Organiser and moderator of the consultation for the World Council of Churches

Introduction

Life: Healing is part of life. The impact of healing on society has to be realised. There is a collective need to overcome the dichotomy between the spiritual and the medical. The challenge is to integrate the different approaches into a holistic one, and to interpret Jesus' healing ministry in order to make it a reality for people.

Bridge: There is a development among Pentecostals and other parts of the church towards more listening to each other, and openness to share theological perspectives. There is a need to build bridges between Pentecostals and 'mainline churches'. Healing is the most significant characteristic that distinguishes Pentecostals from other Christians. There are lessons to learn mutually from both perspectives.

Broken world: The diversity of illnesses and the universality of the need for healing have to be recognised:--the earth/environment/water/peoples/livelihood/economies. Reconciliation and building relationships is also a vital facet of the healing ministry. There is a need to assess how healing and liberation relate to the emotional, to violence, lack of forgiveness, broken relationships, witchcraft and ungodly interventions. The vital challenge to the church is how it responds to these needs. Are we equipped and willing?

Miraculous reality: Miraculous healing is real--dynamic and at times dramatic- consistent and integrated in everyday life.

Love and faith is the basis. …