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North London church becomes first Healthy Healing Hub

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CHRIST CHURCH, Southgate, in north London, has become the first Healthy Healing Hub, offering support for the health and well-being of the local community in a Christian context.

The hubs are an initiative of the Guild of Health and St Raphael (GoHealth), which regards the ministry of healing as intrinsic to the Church’s mission.

Its chief executive, the Revd Dr Gillian Straine, has said: “If we take the gospel call of Jesus seriously, then healing is not just a specialism you do maybe once a month. If you show people that you care, and that the Church can be a place of health and healing, then the Church will grow. . . We’re doing this as part of our core mission.” (Features, 30 April).

Churches signing up have access to resources and training to deal with issues of mental health. The Guild also acts as an umbrella organisation, working with other experts in the field. It encourages leaders to go to their local GP surgeries, engage with public health, and open up conversations about using church buildings for the purposes of community health.

More than 100 people have been through the training, and more hubs will be announced in early 2022. The Vicar of Christ Church, the Revd Dr Crichton Limbert, said: “The Healthy Healing Hub project appealed to us as a structured and professional way to offer support for health and well-being for the whole community but firmly within our Christian context.

“As a Silver Eco-church, we are also committed to care for all of creation, and are looking to combine that with offering spaces for enhancing well-being both within our buildings and outside spaces with increased biodiversity.

“We hope that, within this framework, we can become part of a wider community focus, including being part of social prescribing, as a place where anyone can come and find loving support and care for body, mind, and spirit.”

The Church’s lead bishop on medical ethics, health, and social care in the House of Lords, the Bishop of Carlisle, the Rt Revd James Newcome, said: “I am really excited by the project, and believe that this marks a big potential step forward in developing the Church’s ministry of healing, which is such a central part of our mission in and to a hurting world.

“I look forward to seeing it develop across the country, and am hugely grateful to the Guild of Health and St Raphael for taking this very strategic initiative.”

https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2022/7-january/news/uk/north-london-church-becomes-first-healthy-healing-hub