“…Help your servants to proclaim your message with all boldness by stretching out your hand to heal and to work miracles and marvels through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”– Acts 4:29-30
August 1975: At a Catholic Charismatic healing retreat, a large number of physicians, nurses, psychologists, and social workers gathered, too many for the laws of chance to be responsible since the retreat had not been directed to Christian health care professionals. As that first evening of the workshop drew to a close, the affinity of the Spirit and of mutually shared professional commitments had already drawn together the interdisciplinary nucleus of what was to become the Association of Christian Therapists. God spoke through promptings of the heart that were confirmed and reconfirmed by the professionals among themselves and by the retreat team, who, by now, had caught the enthusiasm of this little group off on their own retreat-within-a-retreat.
Then came the commission: “Redeem My people,” the Lord was saying: “In Your hospitals, in your clinics, in your offices, make them MY hospitals, MY clinics, MY offices; let ME care for them, and bring them health beyond healing; let Me care for YOU, and bring YOU to health, to wholeness, to holiness. Give Me your professional skills, your credentials; yield them to MY authorization, consecrate them to My name, for MY glory, and I will be glorified in your healing work…”
March 1976: The first general conference of the Association of Christian Therapists was held in Tampa, Florida, drawing together ninety health care professionals, priests, and religious activities in healing ministries. Today the Association continues to attract to its conferences men and women in the health/mental health professions from all over the country and beyond.
The Logo: The staff of the Saint Vincent Medical Health Center in Toledo, OH, created the logo. The symbol of the logo, caduceus, is a medical symbol representing physical, and psychological healing. It has roots in the biblical story of Moses and the bronze serpent. Anyone who looked upon the raised serpent was healed. Originally the logo had two snakes intertwined. Because this suggested an occult symbol one of the snakes was removed.
The wings of the dove represented the healing spirit. The cross was the instrument of salvation. It was through the power of the cross that healing came to the people of God. The candle, symbolizing the Light of the world, was at first separate from the cross, but it is now within the flame of the crossbar. The letter “M”, standing for the Mother Mary, was inserted above the cross in 1988 but removed shortly thereafter because it was not liturgical. The symbol of a heart was added to the logo in 1980. It was at the Burlington Conference, 1980, that the association was consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This consecration was confirmed by the formation of the “wax heart.”
Time and time again the association was called to healing through the Sacred Heart of Jesus. From another point of view, each member was called to the healing of his or her heart, in order to become an effective healing instrument of God.
Recognizing the complementarity of healing resources that God has provided for His people in the natural and supernatural orders, the Association undergirds its members in what is scripturally supportable and truly beneficial in the scientific aspects of their therapeutic professions, while it continues to emphasize and re-emphasize the dimension of prayer – prayer for deeper personal commitment to Jesus, prayer for wisdom, prayer for power to heal, prayer for guidance around God’s laws for the maintenance of health.
The Association – as a visible component of God’s unshakable purpose to reconcile, to restore, and to glorify His creation – supports local seminars, retreats, and ministry weekends across the country. The primary service focus is imparting physical, emotional and spiritual healing to the participants. It is complemented by instruction in the ministry of healing, offered to those who believe the Lord is calling them to a healing ministry and to the people who increasingly require Scripture-grounded wisdom around a ministry whose expression can confuse as readily as a console.
In response to this commissioning, members of the Association have written extensively on God’s healing purposes and have moved into the electronic age with teaching films and audio/videotapes, the Journal of Christian Healing and a Website. ACT’s commission carries with it the mark of God’s presence. In reflection, we believe that the following have emerged as the charter marks for the Association of Christian Therapists.
ACT/SIGN: We are to be visible signs of God’s intention to accomplish the most urgent work in our time, the healing and restoration of the broken Body of Christ.
ACT/SHAPE: We are to be a bold and powerful influence upon the therapeutic professions, such that they would be sanctified and empowered under Jesus’ Lordship.
ACT/SERVE: We are to serve the Body of Christ in all its diversity, recognizing that all local expressions of the Body – in all their varieties of form and structure – need the healing ministry as an indispensable provision from God to enable their work, to enhance their witness of wholeness, to accelerate the fulfillment of their particular commission. We are to share our insights and gifts with them, and we are to open ourselves to their insights and gifts, particularly as they pertain to the establishment of settings in which healing and wholeness can be maintained and advanced.
ACT/EVANGELIZE: We are to evangelize the seeker and the scoffer by means of God’s love-gift of healing, freely given to them through us. We are to bring them into a saving knowledge of the Healing Jesus’ full identity – true God, true man, personal Lord, and Redeemer.
ACT/BUILD: We are to build solidly upon the Word of God all that He gives us so that healing works become one with the uncompromising proclamation and application of God’s full message of salvation, the complete Good News of wholeness.
ACT/MODEL: We are to represent in our own lives – by the witness of personal victory over disorder and disease, and personal soundness of mind, of spirit, and body – that God’s healing is God’s love; we are to represent what we have learned. Love made flesh among us requires our active cooperation with God’s healing plan for each of us so that we may better know, love, and serve Him and one another.
In summary, we believe that our integrity as members of ACTheals requires that we see ourselves first as members of the Body of Christ. With others who are about building God’s kingdom, secure in our knowledge of who we are and what we are to do for God, we are to demonstrate that sharing in the diversity of gifts and ministries through personally growing in union with Jesus is the real healing gift of God. These living insignia of the ACTheals, as we see them, cause us to humble ourselves before the Lord, to reverence Him and to be one with Him.