National speaker addresses Ministry Hospitals? BioEthics Committees
Susan McCarthy, the clinical ethics director for Ministry Health Care, invited Brian Talcott, a leading Christian Science lecturer, to address Ministry Health Care’s ethicists and chaplains about healing and prayer at their system-wide meeting in Steven’s Point on April 28th. His presentation is the first of many planned by the health care system to gain a broader knowledge of patients with varied beliefs and how hospital staff might accommodate those beliefs. As many recognize humanity’s urgent need to find a solid basis for health, prayer’s effectiveness as a means for healing is being discussed more widely. Over eighty percent of Americans believe in the power of prayer to heal physical illness. Even medical research points to the need to address healing from a mental and spiritual basis. In 1998, the Association of Family Physicians was surveyed with this question: Do you feel prayer would be beneficial to your patients’ recovery? Ninety-nine percent said yes. Ministry Health Care hospitals recognize this and, consistent with Catholic teaching on the pastoral and spiritual responsibility of Catholic health care, and in their commitment to meet the spiritual needs of all those they serve, they are working to find out more about prayer and healing as practiced in Christian Science and other traditions. As the dialogue on prayer and healing becomes more sophisticated, there is an understanding that all spiritual healing is not practiced in the same way. Whereas Christian Science is sometimes mistakenly perceived as a form of faith healing or Scientology, the fact is that Christian Science prayer is based on a much more universal concept of God as Love and has a record of cooperation with medical institutions and regulations. Christian Science has its own record of effective healing and its own system of care, including Christian Science practitioners, Christian Science nurses and Christian Science nursing facilities. However, each individual Christian Scientist is free to make his or her own decisions on health care. Brian Talcott was a former Protestant Chaplain in the US Air Force, and is now a Christian Science teacher and practitioner (one who heals through prayer as taught in Christian Science), and is serving as a national lecturer on the topic of Christian Science and healing and prayer, speaking to a wide variety of professional, religious, interfaith and medical groups, as well as giving talks to a general public. For more information on Ministry Health Care go to : www.ministryhealth.org. For more information on Christian Science and the public discussion on healing and prayer go to: christiansciencewisconsin.com (see right side for events in Wisconsin) or christianscience.com for general information.