From Chapters to Healing Communities
by Rev. Paul Feider
Since the beginning of OSL, the local prayer groups have been called “chapters.” This seemed to be an appropriate way of designating these local gatherings of people offering healing ministry. In this last year, as we have tried to expand the vision and scope of OSL, it became apparent that the word “chapter” was too small to designate what our ministry is on the local level. “chapter” designates a specific gathering, but it does not describe the deep connections and commitments found in our local groups.
During the past year the leaders of OSL began talking about how we could describe our local gathering more accurately and in greater alignment with the gospels. We recognized that we are seeking to form communities that learn about the healing ministry of Jesus and then live in his healing presence. We see in the scriptures that Jesus not only did healing ministry but also formed a healing community that carried on his work. We began to see our “chapters” as “healing communities” that do what the early Christian communities did.
Jesus created a healing atmosphere in which people experienced healing. As we seek to do what Jesus did, it is important to create an environment where people can feel wrapped in his unconditional love. This is especially important for offering inner healing. People who were hurt in a destructive environment in early childhood often need a healing environment to be set free from hurtful memories and destructive relationships. We can offer them that transforming environment in our healing communities.
For these reasons, and after consultation with many OSL leaders and prayerful discernment, the board unanimously agreed in April to change the name of “chapters” to “healing communities.” As we go forward, we ask OSL members to begin referring to your group as a healing community. As we talk with people about this, we will have a great opportunity to explain what we do and how we seek to relate to others in a healing and caring way as Jesus did. The way we care for each other and listen to each other’s needs will validate this new designation. I think this will give a new flavor to our ministry and open the door for more people to experience the healing atmosphere of a healing community. I believe it will be more compelling to invite someone into our healing community than to a chapter meeting.
Going forward, when you write new letters or brochures, we encourage you to begin using the new designation. During the transition time we may need to use both designations so that people know to what we are referring.
As a healing community, we befriend people with the love of Jesus, give them a place to belong and a community in which to become their true selves as Jesus intended. As we carry out this ministry, we will be richly blessed by the Presence of Jesus. Thank you for being part of this awesome ministry.
Rev. Paul Feider
President of the OSL Board