“In the steps of Jesus. Saturday 1st February 2020 from 10.00am – 4pm. Venue – Guildford cathedral.
For the past year Acorn Healing Trust have been holding monthly sessions in the Lady Chapel in the Cathedral – with the blessing of Bishop Andrew. Attended by 25 – 30 people from the fairly local area. Every two years Acorn organise a day long Conference at the cathedral ending with a Eucharist service led by the Bishop.
This year the conference was held – pre Corona virus pandemic – on Saturday 1st Feb.
Below is a brief resume of how the day went. You will notice the number of speakers and the breadth of topics covered.
For me, the day stated at 7. 30am at the cathedral, in my role as part time roadie/helper. Helping to move mountains of projection equipment and miles of electrical cables. Between 8.30 – 9.30 we had to stop to allow a quiet service to be conducted… before the participants arrived at 9.30am. A busy but organised time… slightly stressful!.
The morning session started at 10am with sung worship led by the Acorn Scratch choir and Rev. Wes Sutton leading from his keyboard.
The choir came from various local churches ( St. Albans, St. Luke’s and Church Centre). It was glorious to sing at full volume in the huge cathedral… with minimal rehearsal time. About 150 people attended this service and joined in. Amazing time of praise!
The Rev Elizabeth Knifton (St. Luke’s Grayshott ) opened and introduced the day in prayer at 10.30am.
The keynote speakers were :-
1) Rt. Rev James Newcombe Bishop of Carlisle. Lead bishop in the House of Lords for Healthcare and the NHS… and also Acorn patron.
2) Howard Flemming. Senior Acorn national training manager.
3) Rev. Wes Sutton. Director of Acorn Healing Trust
4) Mrs Nonie Insall. Psychotherapist and member of Acorn prayer ministry.
5) Rev. Paul Harcourt. Vicar of All saints church Woodford Green Chelmsford. Also New wine conference leader.
1st Keynote speaker – Rt Rev James Newcombe – Bishop of Carlisle. Title of Talk – The Church, The NHS and the future.
This talk lasted for more than an hour and was very detailed. I cannot do it justice in a short article. The amount of detail shows the enormity of the strategic tasks facing both the NHS and the Church (and especially now as we try to relax some of the Lockdown) examples – NAH staff shortages of doctors and nurses. A & E Delays. Waiting times/lists for operations (hips, knees etc). Volume of dementia cases. Lifestyle issues including addictions, obesity, diabetes, loneliness, homelessness, depression, mental health etc. And the difficult one….. Ethical issues such as euthanasia, Abortion, palliative care, seniors/ residential care, genetic advances.
And of course just recently PPE shortages with Covid 19 Virus.
2nd Keynote speaker – Howard Flemming. Disability – how we perceive it and respond.
Very compelling talk.. started with a slide of a woman in a wheelchair approaching an old building with lots of steps, and no ramp.
The second slide was of Hussain Bolt and Stephen Hawkins (in his adapted wheelchair). Both are achievers, so what is a disability?
3rd Keynote speaker – Rev. Wes Sutton….. Mental health issues in young people.
With 10.3 million children between 4 -18yrs in UK there are 1 in 10 children with diagnosable mental health conditions. 75% are not receiving treatment. Children under 16yrs are suffering with gender identity problems. Other issues such as bullying, social isolation of peers, peer pressure, trolls on social media, suicide, home breakdown, single parent families (absent fathers) etc etc.
How can the church help?
4th Keynote speaker – Nonie Insall (psychotherapist) – The emotional toll of the Healing ministry.
Examples – carrying other people’s views, letting go at the end of the working day, upset when people are not healed, and finding space in a busy schedule to relax and unwind. The personal cost of caring, active/intensive listening. Ways to relax and creating space.
5th Keynote speaker – Rev Paul Harcourt – Living a life of integrity and showing compassion of Jesus.
Healing values to display – pray with love, faith, Authority, simplicity, humility, compassion and persistence.
Power of (appropriate) touch. Jesus touched people’s hands, feet, eyes, ears, legs, wrists, skin (leprosy ) etc with love and respect. We should do likewise. Paul also touched on parenting. He has two autistic children and the difficulties of bringing them up…. powerful testimony.
FINALLY, the day had a double endings first a service of Holy communion led by the Bishop. The congregation (after lunch) rose to over 200. Valentine was one of many clergy anointing people with holy oil.
Secondly people had the opportunity to be listened to, and prayed for, by the Acorn prayer ministry team, in the little side alcoves all along the two side walls. This lasted over an hour!
What a “full-on” day! It gave us all a revised perspective of the NHS and Christian healing ministry and just how complex some of the health issues are in our country.
If you would like to hear more about this day then please speak to Sue Wood or Jane Detrey, Hilton Carr or myself, who attended from Liphook.
Keith Ireland (Seniors Worker & Acorn Hospitality team)