An Open Letter to Clergy and Congregations of the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church: Please Carefully Consider Before Inviting a Faith Healer to Come to Your Congregation
- –Please be careful who you invite into your pulpit.
- –People with Disabilities can live full and happy lives.
- –Not every person with a disability wants to be cured.
- –Faith Healers who promise healing in exchange for money are false prophets.
- –False faith healers exploit people when they are at their most vulnerable.
Dear Friends and Colleagues of the Susquehanna Conference of the United Methodist Church,
May the peace of Christ be with you. This letter was inspired by recent events that have occurred in the community in which my ministry setting is located. I am writing this letter to you from a place of deep conviction within my heart. I earnestly beseech you on behalf of the Disability Community to please carefully consider before you invite a traveling faith healer to come and to visit your congregation.
As United Methodists, we believe that all people are made in the image of God. This includes those of us who are part of the Disability Community. Disability is a spectrum and having a disability will impact every person differently. Some members of the Disability Community consider our disabilities to be an important part of our identity and do not wish to be changed; however, there are many others who hope for a cure.
Fraudsters often set themselves up as faith healers and prey on members of the Disability Community when we are at our most vulnerable. False prophets are a danger to everyone, but they are especially dangerous to the Disability Community. Some false prophets promise miraculous healings in exchange for money in the offering plate. This is dangerous because miracles cannot be purchased.
False faith healers have many ways of deceiving people for their own financial gain. Some fraudulent faith healers will place actors in the congregation. These actors will pretend to experience a miraculous healing during the worship service. When these false teachers are exposed, their false witness does damage to those who believed in their gifts of miraculous healing.
Many faith healers also perpetuate the harmful belief that, “If your faith is strong enough, God will heal you.” This can cause immense harm. I have personally been injured by this mindset. I have been told on numerous occasions by both laity and clergy that if only I “had more faith,” God would cure my eye disease. This is hurtful to me, because I do not know how I could believe any more deeply in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I know this mindset has injured other members of the Disability Community as well. Please do not assume that people who do not receive a miraculous healing lack faith. We can never know what is in another person’s heart.
In conclusion, I earnestly ask clergy and congregations of the Susquehanna Conference to carefully consider who you invite to lead worship. Please do your research and make sure that no harm will be done, especially when it comes to faith healers and the Disability Community.
Rev. Rebecca L. Holland
Disability Ministries Task Force of the Susquehanna Conference (Chair) and Chair of Communications for Disability Ministries of the United Methodist Church
For more information about Disability Ministries, please visit: https://umcdmc.org/