Healing Line

Healing Line

April Richmond Conference Makes Impact

by Francis MacNutt
Summer 2000

The Lord always amazes us with the healing He brings about when we step out in faith to speak His message of healing to groups around the world. A notable event took place in Richmond, Virginia, when Rev. Bob and Sandi Kerner, former members of the CHM staff, arranged for Judith and me to give two conferences there in April. God's blessing on these events turned out to be even more than we expected.

The first was a two–day conference for psychotherapists, clergy and prayer group leaders. It was held at the request. of psychotherapists, and their chosen topic was astounding: deliverance from evil spirits! Many had unexpectedly encountered spirits in their work, especially among victims of satanic ritual abuse, which is a result of involvement with rituals performed as part of satanic worship. So little is known in the counseling field about how to help these victims. And, of course, this is not a topic covered in normal university courses. But like Judith, they have found deliverance prayer to be a much–needed, vital ingredient in their treatment of wounded clients. What a unique and wonderful privilege to be able to encourage and teach a professional group of counselors what we have learned from the Lord over the years in these areas!

At the end of the meeting, the group asked for prayer for the release of the Holy Spirit, and almost all came forward for prayer. We are confident the Lord will mightily use these warriors to His glory in the work that they do.

The deliverance conference was held at Richmond Hill Retreat Center, an ecumenical house of prayer directed by an Episcopal priest, Rev. Ben Campbell. This conference was the outgrowth of a conference given at Richmond Hill five years ago by Norma Dearing and Ann Bauwens. Racial divisions became very apparent at that conference, and the weekend was painful. Providentially, a blizzard struck so the participants couldn't go home, and then some of the larger healing came as relationships were worked out. They saw beautiful healings and had a thirst for more. We were honored to be asked to return to speak to them.

And the response to this most recent visit was so enthusiastic that they have asked for another, longer conference on inner healing and deliverance, now scheduled for next April. This conference was special in that we hope it may be the forerunner of large numbers of psychotherapists, clergy and church leaders wanting to learn about how to pray for inner healing and deliverance.

The second conference was equally extraordinary. We spent two days preaching at St. Giles Presbyterian Church, where 700 people were in attendance, and The House of Prayer, a nondenominational church, where we spoke to over 400 people. This type of event is, on the surface, a typical speaking engagement. However, something unusual happened.

A larger healing began to take place: the healing of the city of Richmond from a variety of divisions — healing among races and social classes, among Christians of different backgrounds, and healing of wounds caused by the city's historical roots.

The divisions in Richmond are very real and are similar to the ones we see in Jacksonville and other cities around the South. But in Richmond, they seem deeper. The wounds are generational in character, going back even before the Civil War, to the massacres of lndians and whites in 1620 along the James River. The racial division is strong and traces back to Richmond's slave market, a thriving business during the 18th and 19th centuries. Add to that the divisions between social classes and religious denominations and you have the classic picture of a divided society. Furthermore, Richmond was the capitol of the Confederacy. Jefferson Davis' office was only a short distance from where we spoke at Richmond Hill.

A healing of larger divisions often takes place at conferences where"we speak, but the magnitude of the response in Richmond was more than we usually see. Bob Kerner wrote to us after this conference: "Francis spoke on 'Healing the Body of Christ,' and Judith spoke on 'Healing Our Image of God' ... God brought together once divergent groups from all over metropolitan Richmond — Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, mainline Protestants, Pentecostals, nondenominational charismatics and evangelicals from both sides of the James River, a division that is more than just geographical .. .It had a significant effect on Richmond."

As a result, an enthusiasm has developed for the healing of the city as a whole! Bob, now pastor of an Episcopal church, Rev. Randy Bremer of St. Giles Presbyterian Church, and Rev. Steve Stell of The House of Prayer have invited us back to speak at a large conference aimed at the healing of the city of Richmond.

Another amazing "coincidence" is that Richmond Hill, now ecumenical, was founded by a Roman Catholic Archbishop in 1866 as a convent of nuns who prayed for reconciliation after the Civil War.

It seems that with the advent of the new millennium, the Lord IS reaching out to heal His people!

Francis MacNutt Francis MacNutt is a Founding Director and Executive Committee member of CHM. Summer 2000 Issue