All through the bible we see healing was at the heart of Jesus’ ministry. Healing means restoration, to be made whole. God intends for all of us to be whole in body, mind and spirit. We know that the church has always been engaged in healing ministries throughout history. More specifically we see that the church has offered the sacrament of anointing as one way to bring health and healing to the community of God.
All of us are called to ministry or service at our baptism. Anointing is one of the ministries that some lay people are called to offer to the community.
A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace. During the sacrament of anointing the lay anointer makes the sign of the cross with oil on the forehead and offers a prayer – usually a general one for wholeness and then often a more specific one for a particular problem. Only the person who comes forward can be anointed – it cannot be done in place of another person; however, specific prayer for others can be offered after the actual anointing has taken place.The anointing and prayer open the way for God to work in the person’s life and in the situations that they bring to God. As with all ministries in the church, the requests and prayers are held in strictest confidence.
Lay anointers receive training, and are approved and licensed by the Bishop.