Falls Church Anglican: The Long March to Healing Ministry Excellence

Falls Church
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Falls Church Anglican: The Long march to healing ministry excellence

 

To my knowledge no other Anglican church, or any other church, has such an effective and robust ministry of healing and deliverance as Falls Church Anglican.[1] At this church the healing and deliverance ministry is woven into the core of church life. I spite of this, Falls Church Anglican does not call itself a “charismatic” church. Rather it is a “three streams” congregation where the different aspects of liturgical/sacramental worship, evangelical preaching and Christian good works, and the gifts of the Spirit operate and interact among various groups and ministries, according to their preferences and needs.

 

The town of Falls Church, Virginia, is a suburb of Washington DC, a half hour’s drive away, and many of the parishioners are government employees or military personnel. Its parishioners and its excellent staff make is one of the most prominent churches in the greater D.C. area.

 

The Falls Church was established during the colonial period. Its first building arose in 1732. In fact, George Washington was a warden of the church in the 1760s and oversaw the construction of the brick church building, still in use, to replace its first wooden structure. Falls Church served as both a church and recruiting station for the American Army during the War of Independence. Later, the church served as a Union hospital during the Civil War, as Northern forces quickly took over the territory around Washington, D.C.

 

After that terrible conflict Falls Church was restored to its original status, but did not really thrive, and Sunday attendance dropped to less than a hundred. But in 1935 the Rev. Watkins was called as rector, and by the time his tenure ended (1945) church attendance was in the 300s.[2] Falls Church grew steadily from that time as the population of Washington  D.C, continued to grow as World War II morphed into the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

 

Church did not become the prominent church it is today until the pastorship of the Rev. John Yates, who came to Falls Church in 1979. He and his wife were both from devoted Christian homes. [3] The Rev. Yates’ mother was prominent in CFO circles in the 1950s and 1960s, and John went with his mother to many CFOs, and there received the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues.[4]

 

John Yates graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1971, and then served at an evangelical Episcopal church as a youth minister. After he was called to be rector at Falls Church he earned a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. Yates led Falls Church into a strongly evangelical and orthodox position, This was not easy, as there was opposition to that focus from parishioners who were content with the less demanding “traditionalist” mode of Episcopal life that enjoyed a good liturgy but rocked few boats. Yates tactfully handled the situation while he continued to preach the evangelical Gospel. To help, he invited such Anglican evangelicals as John Stott to preach and confirm the evangelical persuasion. The fruit of this was that, while some left, the numbers of committed parishioners grew steadily, to reach a thousand, then over two thousand.[5]

 

Under Yates important programs were initiated, including the “Second Chance” ministry which gave counsel and assistance to abused women and their children, He also set up a program for college graduates to learn apologetics and how to encounter America’s increasingly secular culture. Another ministry focused helping the poor in the Washington D.C. area with legal issues. These ministries were run by qualified lay volunteers, and given that many of the parishioners were experienced government or military personnel, there was no lack of qualified and experienced persons to staff and lead the various ministries.

 

One of the most important of Yates innovative ministries was the “Timothy Program” to train recently ordained priests. For three years these clergymen would be on staff, fully paid, as they learned the craft of parish work. They were mentored by experienced staff member and placed to lead various ministries. After three years they were then sent to establish new churches that spread the renewal and evangelical fire that Falls Church had acquired. Note that this was and is an expensive program that constantly “loses” ordained clergy to new churches.

 

Thankfully, among the ministries that Fr. Yates wanted was for Falls Church was the healing ministry.  In 1992 an assistant rector, with Yates’ blessing, assembled a group of people to begin praying about starting a healing ministry. There were some connections with the Order of St. Luke, but apparently it never really got off the ground. A later attempt was successful. But before we delve further into that story, we need to briefly mention the struggle that Fall Church had with the national Episcopal hierarchy and which ultimately led them to separate from the Episcopal Church, and lose their buildings and property.

 

Unfortunately, the Episcopal Church, like many denominations, had been deeply injured and penetrated by the Sadduceeism of German higher criticism, as in Rudolph Bultman’s “demythologizing,” and other theologies that devalued the authority of the Bible. A pattern emerged in which recently graduated seminary priests who had accepted the various false teachings were sent to traditionally orthodox congregations, and began to weaken the congregation’s faith, as in the belief that the miracles of the Gospels were mythical, etc.

 

By the1980s the argument about orthodoxy and Biblical authority gravitated to sexual morality, and wither the Biblical standards held. All thru this decade the liberal demythologizing campaign continued, and was made famous in  the Episcopal Church by the writings of Bishop John Shelby Spong of New Jersey.[6] The argument became focused in the popular press on the homosexual issue, specifically wither a practicing homosexual could be ordained into the priesthood. That was debated and rejected by the Archbishops of the world-wide Anglican Church, but the Episcopal hierarchy in the US defied various directives on this issue and went ahead and began ordaining openly gay persons to the priesthood. When Jean Robinson was elevated to the Bishopric (2003), many orthodox and Bible affirming Episcopalians felt this was the last straw and decided to separate from the Episcopal Church.[7] They left either individually of collectively to form new congregations, and eventually new denominations.

 

The situation for the Rev. Yates and his congregation was perplexing in the extreme. Yates did not want to separate from the Episcopal Church and did everything his conscious permitted to remain Episcopalian, But as he, his staff and the congregation saw the continued slide of the national Episcopal Church into un-biblical spirituality and into asexual ethics that made man’s desires the ultimate authority, it became clear that separation was the only option for them. The Congregation eventually voted overwhelmingly to separate from the Episcopal Church. Yates sent a letter to Bishop Lee, bishop of the Virginia Diocese, notifying him of this decision (September, 2005). Negotiations for a separation settlement began, and indeed an amicable agreement was reached, in which the congregation retained its buildings.

 

But as the agreement was completed, a new presiding bishop was elected, Katharine Jefferts Schori. Among her first actions was to mandate that all negotiations between separating congregations and their diocese be terminated. She insisted that every exiting congregation vacate its property and lose its assets. Her policy led to long and costly litigations throughout the United States. This of course violated the clear Biblical injunction that Christians should avoid legal fights among themselves (1 Cor 6:5-7), but was to be expected of a leader who believes so little in the mandates of the Bible. Eventually the national Episcopal Church won, and orthodox congregations all over the United States were evicted from their properties.

 

When all the litigation was over in 2012, Yates and three thousand or so orthodox members left Falls Church’s buildings and its other assets, including almost $2,000,000 in cash, to worship and continue their multiple ministries at other venues. But there was real joy felt by the majority of those leaving, as they knew they were obedient to God’s word and direction.[8] About sixty members remained as a rump congregation to keep the lights on and the original Falls Church going. Falls Church Episcopal grew very little in the following years.[9]

 

The separating church, Falls Church Anglican, found temporary Episcopal episcopal oversight from the Anglican Church in Nigeria. But it soon settled in with the newly formed Anglican Church in America, made up of similar refugee Episcopalians. Pastor Yates had good relations with many of the other churches in the area, and several allowed the new Falls Church Anglican to worship at their facilities. Most often used was at the gym of Bishop O’Connor Catholic High School. The ministries were headquartered at the homes of the various ministry leaders. In this situation spiritual good came out of discomfort and trial, as relations between the host churches and the people and ministers of Falls Church Anglican became even stronger.

 

But a building fund was immediately begun, and by 2015 a large parcel with an office building was purchased to house the church and ministry offices. It took until 2019 for a new and beautiful, sanctuary to be completed.[10] To the Rev. Yates must go much of the credit for leading his congregation thru this difficult period. Actually, just before the new sanctuary was complete, Yates retired (after forty years of service) and handed over the reigns to the Rev. Sam Ferguson.

 

The Sam Ferguson began his ministry career with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes in inner city Philadelphia. He went to Gordon Cornwall Seminary and then Cambridge University. When he returned from Cambridge (2011) he was ordained an Anglican priest and came to Falls Church Anglican under its Timothy program. But instead of leaving, became Associate Pastor for Research and Teaching. In this latter role he earned a Ph.D. in New Testament at Southeastern Seminary in North Carolina. Sam completed a dissertation in the area of biblical anthropology. Everyone considers him a brilliant preacher and Christian scholar, and he fully supports the church’s healing and deliverance ministry.[11]

 

But let me retrace Yates achievements in the area of healing ministry. As we mentioned above, an attempt to get a viable healing ministry petered out in the early 1990s. In 1999 Yates went on retreat, and there the Lord informed him that Fall Church had a healing ministry. When he returned he preached on the healing ministry and expressed his frustration that it was not as advanced at Falls Church as he wanted. He ended by saying, “If you want to see this established you’re going to have to do it your self. I don’t know how to do it but I think you people probably do. So I am leaving it in your hands.”[12] Several persons stepped forward to bring this ministry to realty. A bit later Yates informed the church that Church and Nancy Cook would be in charge of doing what was necessary to establish a successful healing ministry. He had not told them before the announcement, but they graciously accepted the charge.

 

Chuck and Nancy Cook had experienced the Baptism of the Holy Spirit back in the 1960s. They had attended many OSLs and were regulars at the Shrine Mount CFOs and been on its governing council ring.[13] They were well acquainted with healing prayer. Before they came to Falls Church they were attending a Presbyterian Church, and were frustrated there by its cessationist theology and consequent lack of healing ministry. A friend invited them to attend Falls Church, and they accepted. They both appreciated the fine preaching and liturgy done there and stayed.

 

The Cooks mentored healing volunteers, and often sent them off to training at Fr. MacNutt’s Christan Healing Ministry in Florida or various OSLs. They organized these volunteers into healing teams for “at the rail” healing prayer, i.e. praying for persons at the end of regular Sunday services. They organized a special healing prayer program whereby two trained volunteers would pray over individuals in two hour sessions for up to six sessions. The healing ministry was really advancing under their leadership. This was greatly reinforced when Fr. Rick Wright was called to be director of pastoral care ministries at Falls Church.

 

As a teen Rick Wright entered the Charismatic Renewal at its height in 1973, and absorbed its multiple teachings for healing and deliverance that were at the heart of the Renewal.[14]  Rick felt a call to the ministry and went to Trinity School of Ministry, near Pittsburgh. This was and is one of the few orthodox (and Charismatic affirming) seminaries in the Episcopal Church. After ordination he served in several Episcopal parishes for sixteen years before accepting a call to be director of pastoral care ministry at Falls Church (2000).

 

That pastoral care ministry included such things as counseling, hospital vitiations and other services besides the healing ministry. Fr. Rick had a keen interest in the healing ministry and coordinated with the Cooks to further that ministry.

 

Fr. Rick had been influenced by the literature of the English Church Missionary Society, and their principals of ministry growth. These were: start small, listen to the Holy Spirit for direction, make sure money is only of secondary importance, and attract quality people under God’s providential guidance. He kept these principles in mind as the healing ministry grew under his guidance. It should be noted that a healing ministry under a flourishing congregation which Falls Church had become, can sustain itself with little additional income.  The healing ministry uses church properties, offices and volunteers to carry out it functions. Stand alone ministries do not have that luxury, and often the need for sustaining funds sneaks into high priority regardless of good intentions.[15]

 

In 2002 Fr. Rick started a new healing ministry class for the lay persons at Falls Church. This featured the early videos put out by the MacNutt’s Christian Healing Ministers, out of Jacksonville, Florida. The class had about thirty members with about half of whom had gone to various OSL and CFO conferences and camps. With these veterans and the groundwork laid by the Cooks there was already much wisdom, experience and desire for an effective healing ministry at Falls Church. The Cooks were able to develop a strong healing team out of that initial group.

 

Fr. Rick then invited the MacNutt’s to Falls Church for a healing conference. About six hundred parishioners and others from nearby churches attended. This was a major “energy producing” event in which fired up many in Falls Church about the healing ministry

 

Fr. Rick and several of the developing leaders went down to Jacksonville to see just how the MacNutts had organized their ministry. They were impressed, but one thing particularly struck Fr. Rich: that was how CHM had created an “open door” in which a person with a healing need could come and be ministered to immediately, and not wait for a specific med-week or Sunday service. Fr, Rick determined that Falls Church healing ministry would strive to do likewise, and managed to make that a fact at Falls Church Anglican.

 

In 2006 Fr. Rick, together with the Cooks, organized a six month long course given on Wednesday nights to train new volunteers into the healing ministry.  These classes ran between seventy five and a hundred participants, about two thirds from Falls Church and the rest from nearby churches – Falls Church was by then influencing many churches in the region.

 

Fr. Rick understood that Falls Church Anglican was primarily an Evangelical congregation, and many of its parishioners were suspicious of the “charismatic stuff” and the healing ministry. This was a leftover from the cessationism taught in their previous congregations, and reinforced by the scandals affecting Charismatic leaders in the 1980s. So the healing ministry had to proceed tactfully, proving itself in the daily life of the congregation. With persistence, and the support of the Rev. Yates, the healing ministry acquired universal support from the congregation. (It is hard to oppose the healing ministry on theological grounds if your child or next-door neighbor is healed of a serious condition).

 

In 2007 Fr. Rick brought in the Rev. Kathleen Christopher as his assistant in the pastoral care ministry. She had both experience and the credentials for that ministry and had a special love for the healing and deliverance ministry. After a period he assigned her oversight over the healing/deliverance aspects of the pastoral care ministry.

Kathleen was borne into a devote Irish Catholic family and went to Catholic schools to include a BA in Classical Languages from St. Louis University. She had a deep love for Jesus since childhood and recalls that in her childhood she was in church “six days a week.”[16] But in her teen years she stumbled into the occult/metaphysical world. At first innocently playing with the ouija board, but then widly reading into the New Age literature. Jesus faded into the background as one of the “ascended masters” who had reincarnated sufficiently to achieve perfection, etc. [17]

While this was happening K married and had two children, and went on to acquire an MA in Classical Archeology from the University of Pennsylvania. With that background she got a job at the Smithsonian Institution as an archivist and for ten years served as the reference archivist for the National Anthropological Archives, working especially with Native Americans and their cultural records. This reinforced her New Age ideology and belief in shamanistic spirituality.

 

In spite of appearances, her life was not going well. She had marital discord that ended in divorce. Kathleen fell into a deep depression, experiencing constant nightmares. She began psychiatric counseling which did some good, but often entertained thoughts of suicide, and her nightmares did not subside.

 

At this point, even though she still went to Catholic Church, a neighbor invited her to an Episcopal Church pastored by a woman priest. At Holy Communion Kathleen experienced the intense love and presence of Jesus. She exclaimed to the Lord “I don’t even believe in you!”[18] But she began attending regularly, and joined its Bible study group. The pastor invited her to attend a church retreat and she accepted (1995).

 

At the retreat the woman priest, the Rev Jane, sensed Kathleen’s depression and suggested she talk about it. The Rev. Jane and K went to a beach by the bench where Kathleen began to tell her story. Listening a while, the Rev. Jane said, “I think you have a demon.” Kahleen argued about this as foolish “medieval superstition,” etc., but agreed to have the Rev. Jane pray over her. She did so, in a conversational voice, with no drama or manifestation that sometimes occur in deliverance ministry. She commanded the demons to leave. Actually, this was the Rev. Jane’s first experience with deliverance ministry, a sadly common situation among even the bet educated of Episcopal clergy.[19]

 

After the deliverance Kathleen asked, “Is that all?” Jane answers “yes” and made a sign of the cross on her forehead and spoke the baptismal promise found in the Book of Common Prayer, “Katheleen, you are sealed by the Holy Spirit in Baptism and marked as Christ’s own forever.”[20]

 

The both retuned to the retreat house and went to bed. When Kathleen awoke the next morning she discovered that she had had no nightmares and had a wonderful sense of peace. This began her renewed walk with Jesus. She renounced her metaphysical and occult past. She began reading the literature of healing and deliverance, and went to conferences about healing, including the MacNutts’ and others.

 

Kathleen felt a call to ministry and arranged to attend Virginia Theological Seminary (Episcopal) where she received a Masters in Divinity (2000.) From her experiences in the Metaphysical and occult movements K gained special wisdom and special gifting in the area of spiritual warfare and deliverance. With that wisdom Kathleen went on both domestic and foreign missions, including to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota, and in Uganda and Kenya were she ministered healing and deliverance prayer. Ordained by the Episcopal Church, Kathleen served in various parishes where she ministered and taught healing prayer.

Kathleen arrived at Falls Church Anglican in April of 2007 to fill a part time position. She assisted Fr. Rick in all aspects of pastoral care. But he quickly discerned that healing was her passion. She asked Fr. Rick if she could meet regularly as a mentor for Chuck and Nancy Cook and her group in regard to the healing ministry, He readily agreed. It was a providential decision. The healing ministry grew steadily stronger and more expansive. She was given a full time position on the Falls Church Anglican staff.  By January 2013 the healing and intercessory prayer ministries had grown to the point where it came out from under the pastoral care department and became a separate department with the Rev. Kathleen as director.   Not long after Kathleen and her principal volunteers began planning for the creation of a separate, more outwardly-focused, healing ministry. This culminated with the formation of the Christian Healing Institute (CHI) in fall 2014. Today, Kathleen serves as both the Director of the Healing and Prayer Ministries at Falls Church Anglican and the Executive Director of CHI. Falls Church Anglican supports CHI by generously paying her full salary and providing the infrastructure, as in classrooms, office equipment, etc. (Again, the advantage of having a healing ministry intertwined with a church and not s a stnd alone ministry).

We need to describe the astounding multiplicity of healing prayer opportunities available to Falls Church Anglican parishioners and its many visitors. Most common are the healing prayers available at practically every worship service. Trained intercessors are i present at the altar rail or at the side of the altar. This is called “prayer at the rail.”

 

Further, every Tuesday afternoon, from1:30-4 p.m., various intercessors and counselors, including Kathleen, minister for those in need of inner healing or counseling.

 

Further, on Wednesday there is a noonday service at the Cramer chapel for healing, via Holy Communion and intercessors, “prayer at the rail.”

 

Further, there is counseling, inner healing and deliverance prayer every third Tuesday of the month, 7 to 9 p.m.

 

Further, concurrently on the first Tuesdays of every month there is a period of “abiding prayer,” 7 to 9 pm, (also called “soaking prayer”)  where persons seeking healing have hands laid on for lengthy periods.

 

Further, on the second Sunday of every month there is an evening healing service in the sanctuary, at 7 p.m.  This periodically becomes a generational healing service several times a year.

 

Further Kathleen sets aside much of her time for personal inner healing and deliverance prayer, at times as many as six two ors sessions.

 

Further, Kathleen, as director of the CHI, organizes major conferences on healing and deliverance. Normally there are two large conferences per year at Falls Church Anglican. One is open to all and deals with general topics of healing and deliverance. Another is more restricted, aimed at those in the medial, psychiatric, and counseling professions, and specializes on how to integrate the secular healing professions and its skills with healing and deliverance prayer. In 2019 the specialized conference focused the deliverance/exorcism ministry pertaining to health professionals. The presenters were both from the Falls Church Anglican and CHI staff  and others from the outside, including a psychiatrist from the West Coast who does exorcism and deliverance ministry within his practice.  At times the CHI staff goes to far away churches to put on conferences, once even to Belgium to a Church of God congregation.

 

Further, every year there is an extenive, two part series on healing and intercession – a modification of what Fr. Rick and the Cooks had developed. The fall semester runs thirteen weeks and covers Biblical aspects of healing, and many of the basics of being an effective Christian healer, as in listening to the supplicant and to the Holy Spirit. The spring semester, of twelve weeks cover more nuanced topics such as spiritual warfare, generational healing and the ministry to the dying.

 

It is in these sessions of instruction that the gifts of the Spirit and their practice within the healing ministry are taught. Kathleen is fully charismatic with strong gifting in discernment of spirits. This author is a believer in the manifestations of the gift of the Spirit during even liturgical services,[21] and I asked Kathleen how she felt being a staff member of a church that reserves the gifts of the Spirit to home groups and healing/deliverance ministries. She said she was thrilled and totally content to be at Falls Church Anglican, and that the mix of Anglican liturgy, excellent teaching and preaching by the Rev. Ferguson and his staff, and the gifts of the Spirit operating during healing ministry suited her perfectly. She joked that if a person wants a more fully charismatic experience they can go to Turo, an Anglican Church not far from Falls Church Anglican and famed for its charismatic worship.

 

Kathleen was kind enough to supply this author with witnesses of healing that have occurred at Falls Church Anglican over the years. Here are just a few:

 

A couple months ago a large growth was discovered on my mother’s pancreas. Knowing the severity of pancreatic cancer, my family was devastated. My mom was rushed in for emergency surgery to have the area tested. We were praying the fluid within the growth would be clear, but instead we received the dreaded news that it was full of a “mucous” material, indicating that it was either cancerous or pre-cancerous with the likelihood of becoming cancerous quickly. While we waited for another two weeks to find out the exact details of the cells, her doctor explained the process of the planned upcoming surgery to try to remove it. Due to the fact the growth was communicating with her pancreatic duct, the surgery would require the partial removal of 5 organs and had an extremely high mortality rate. This was definitely the hardest week for my family. Although we all knew firsthand that God not only can but does heal, fear had a way of sneaking in on many days.  It was during these long two weeks that my family went to meet for individual prayer one Tuesday afternoon with two wonderful women on the prayer team.  A few days after our prayer together, the test results of the cells finally came in.  The doctor began by sharing that in the 30+ years he’s been a pancreatic specialist, he has only once before seen a growth contain mucous fluid and yet not contain cancerous/pre-cancerous cells—my mom was now his second occurrence. 🙂 He had no medical way of explaining the miraculous results.

Thank you so much again for your prayers—they meant so much to me and my family!

Anonymous

 

 

I just wanted to let you know that my neurosurgeon said, “It’s a miracle-no surgery needed!” when he last saw me.  Four days after running up a flight of stairs, tripping and hitting my right temple on the edge of a door (with full force!), passing out and ending up in the hospital- I was told I would need spinal surgery and possibly brain surgery to correct all of the damage that had taken place. I was given steroids to reduce the swelling in my brain but was making very slow progress in my recovery due to several factors (severe concussion, spinal damage and an unknown- pre-existing malformation in my brain). After coming to a night of healing prayer my recovery took a very rapid turn for the better. Each week since, I have become so much better, stronger and “clearer” that even the nurses in the office were literally clapping their hands to their face saying, “We don’t believe it!!”

 

 

My wife was instantly cured from late stage 3/early stage 4 breast cancer.  After fighting the cancer with surgery and chemotherapy the cancer was still spreading.  It had moved into her lymphatic system and was quickly spreading throughout her entire body.  A friend invited my wife to your healing service where she received prayer.  The next day we got a new scan and the cancer was totally gone.  That was 5 years ago.

 

 

[From the era when Falls Church Anglican was uing the high school gym for services] At church Sunday, a woman slipped and fell on the wet floor just before the 9am service. She hurt her knee, managed to rise, then fell again, damaging her lower leg and ankle. Three healing prayer ministers showed up, found her splayed across the floor just outside the auditorium doors, and prayed hands on for her, and she claimed healing for the swelling knee. PTL!  Someone apparently helped her inside the auditorium for the service. Then another prayer minister found her sitting in the back.  She said her knee was better but the lower leg and ankle were still bad and hurting.  Later, during a prayer time in the service, the prayer minister prayed hands on for the damaged lower leg and ankle.   After the service, she was beaming with a big smile and walking around completely well over by the cafeteria. She said she had been completely healed!   Praise God!!!

 

Our son has a rare, serious colon disorder for which he has had a number of major surgeries and procedures since he was a newborn.  The surgeries did not resolve his problems.  Eventually it appeared that no surgical options were left except to give him one final colostomy.  That would not be desirable, given how little colon he had left.  Our now four-year-old son has not been able to have bowel movements on his own — he was dependent on a thrice daily medical procedure performed at home, which was not ideal for various reasons.  Last month, our son received healing prayer.  Exactly one week later, our son had his first self-controlled bowel movement on his own.  And for the first time in years, we do not need to perform any daily medical procedures for our son.  This is truly a miracle.  The Lord giveth, the Lord taketh away.  Blessed be the name of the Lord.”  [Kathleen added, “We continued to follow this family, and their son was completely healed –able to go off medication for what was an “incurable” condition.”]

 

My husband and I attended a Tuesday night session of soaking prayer in October 2009. We had struggled with 2 years of infertility, including 2 miscarriages.  That night we felt so covered in prayer by the various healing ministers at the Falls Church. It provided great emotional relief. Also, God used it to work a miracle in my body. That month, after 18 years of irregularity, my reproductive cycle was healed and became regular. I had never experienced this before. This was not accompanied by any medication or medical intervention, it happened because of God’s healing. We were so encouraged and walked onward in hope of having a child someday. The following May, on Mother’s Day, a visiting minister from Swaziland was staying with my parents in Southern California. He heard our story and called us to pray for healing over the phone. He had us lay hands on my body and prayed powerfully, in Jesus’ name, casting out the spirit of miscarriage and asking for a child. He said, “Next Mother’s Day, we’ll be celebrating.” A few weeks later, I got pregnant, and now I am six and a half months along with a baby boy, due on Valentine’s Day 2011. I found out about the pregnancy exactly one year, to the day, of learning that our 2nd baby had passed away. We are thankful beyond words, not that God has given us what we hoped for, but because God has showed himself powerfully in our lives and worked through healing ministers to do His will in us. It is impossible for me to think about this baby, or feel him kick, without remembering what God has done through healing prayer. [Follow-up: she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.]

 

Kathleen emailed me saying, “We have LOTS of cases of prayer over infertility resulting in healthy pregnancies/births; also a case where a pregnant woman has come to us because doctors have determined with “absolute” certainty that the unborn child has a severe deformity and will not live much past birth, and was trying to convince her to have an abortion.  After healing prayer, she gave birth to a completely healthy child!”

 

[1] The history of Falls Church, Episcopal, then Anglican Church is recorded in the work by J.B. Simmins, The Awakening n Washington’s Church (n.p.: self-printed, 2019). Unfortunately Simmons ignores the church’s salient feature, its healing ministry.

[2] See web site and pictures of the original Episcopal church:  https://www.thefallschurch.org/

[3] John’s wife Susan has been an active partner in Christian ministry, involved both in parish projects and her own very fruitful writing and speaking career. She her author page at Amazon for her multiple books on the topics of family life and prayer. https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Alexander-Yates/e/B001K8J8SG?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1576164607&sr=1-1

[4] Information from a telephone conversation, Jan. 20, 2020, with Church and Nancy Cook, long-time members of Falls Church Anglican and friends of the Yates.

[5] During the same period two other Episcopal churches in Northern Virginia were undergoing rapid growth, Turo and The Church of the Apostles.  All three were, ‘three streams’ churches though Turo and Apostles were prominently charismatic. All were “evangelical” in their passion for outreach and orthodoxy of doctrine. See, Beth Springs, “Spiritual Renewal Brings Booming Growth to Three Episcopal Churches in Northern Virginia,” Christianity Today, Jan. 13, 1984.  This article first brought Falls Church to national attention.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/1984/january-13/spiritual-renewal-brings-booming-growth-to-three-episcopal.html

 

[6] Among his bevy of apostate works is Why Christianity Must Change or Die (San Francisco: Harper One, 1998). Under his leadership and tenure, his diocese in New Jersey suffered catastrophic decline.

[7] That is what happened to this author and a group of Episcopalians from St. Jude’ in Marietta, which was really a very fine, Bible affirming church.

[8]Alicia Constant, “The Costly Faithfulness of The Falls Church,” TGC (May 24, 2012). Excellent article on the specific of the loss of property, but good morale of  Falls Church. https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/the-costly-faithfulness-of-the-falls-church/

[9] Compare the websites between Falls Church Episcopal and Anglican churches. The former is a “normal” small congregation a few ministries, none of which are outstanding.

[10]Abri Nelson, “The Falls Church Anglican Lost Its Historic Building, But Its New Sanctuary Still Feels Like Coming Home,” Christianity Today (Sept. 12, 2019)

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2019/september-web-only/falls-church-anglican-first-sunday-new-building.html

 

[11] The link to his sermons is: https://www.tfcanglican.org/sermons

[12] Simmons, Awakening, location 969.

[13] The CFO (Camps Furthest Out) was an extremely important and influential para-church ministry founded in the 1930s. It was anti-cessationist, and later became the schoolhouse of the Charismatic Renewal in the 1950s and 1960s, and it was where Agnes Sanford first taught inner healing and Derek Prince taught deliverance ministry. For detailed information on these camps and their inportance in the Charismatic Renewal see my work, Agnes Sanford and Her Companions (Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2015) chapters 13 & 14.

[14] The information on Fr. Rick’s role in TFCA healing ministry is from a telephone conversation with him on 1/27/20, and several follow up emails.

[15] Here I recall the story told me by a friend that while she was attending a healing conference of a distinguished healing evangelist the 9/11 terrorist attack occurred, All were horrified, and a brief prayer offered up, but the evangelist promptly resumed his emphasis on fund raising for a new facilities.

[16] From her witness detailed in Falls Church Anglican resource video, “Deliverance Ministry” at https://www.christianhealinginstitute.org/videos

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid.

[19] In the 1970s, under the influence of liberal Protestant demythologizing, Roman Catholic seminaries stopped teaching about deliverance and exorcism.  Thankfully that foolishness ended.

[20] Book of Common Prayer, (1979) 308

[21] William De Arteaga, “Can Church be done as Paul Mandated in 1 Cor 14?”  Pentecostal Theology blog. http://www.pentecostaltheology.com/can-church-be-done-according-to-1-cor-14/

William DeArteaga

William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include, Quenching the Spirit (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), and Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He and his wife Carolyn continue in their healing, teaching and writing ministries. He is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations.

2 Comments

  • Ray E Horton
    Reply April 26, 2020

    Ray E Horton

    Great article! I hadn’t realized how much some litergical denomination churches had gotten into charismatic/healing ministry.

  • Troy Day
    Reply April 26, 2020

    Troy Day

    yes indeed Ray E Horton Thank you so much William DeArteaga we need some more like this very soon I think

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