The Order of St. Luke derives its name from St. Luke, ‘the beloved physician’ as he is described in the bible (AV). The International Order of St. Luke was founded in the United States of America in 1947 by The Rev. Dr John Gayner Banks, a priest of the Episcopal Church. The order began in Australia in the 1950’s and was granted autonomy in 1961. It is now firmly established in Australia, New Zealand and many other countries. From it’s origins in the Anglican Church in the United States the Order is now an International and Inter-denominational Organization which is widely accepted by Christians in all churches.
In late 2009, after considerable consultation with the membership, "OSL Healing Ministries" was adopted as the operational Trademark name of The Order of St. Luke the Physcian in Australia. Whilst retaining the traditional and internationaly recognised symbol and legal name of the Order, it was felt that the change to the operational name more appropriately reflected the mission of the Order in the 21st Century.
The aim of “OSL” is to promote the understanding and practice of the healing ministry according to New Testament teaching, and to help to restore this ministry to the normal stream of Church life. It seeks to work with all Churches and to offer a disciplined fellowship which focuses on healing as an essential part of the Gospel and integral to the Church’s mission.
Membership of “OSL” is open to all Christians, Clergy and Laity, who believe that the healing ministry of Christ is operative in the Church today and who agree to participate in the furtherance of this ministry. Those who do not wish to commit to ‘Membership’ can be ‘Associates’ of “OSL” simply by assenting to the OSL’s Statement of Faith and to the Charter of the Order, together with payment of an annual subscription which entitles them to receive the OSL’s periodical ‘Healing Contact’ and other mail-outs.
Groups of “OSL” Members and Associates from the same geographical area meet in ‘Chapters’. Each Chapter usually has an ordained Minister as Chaplain, a lay Convenor and a Secretary/Treasurer.
As the aim of the Order is to promote a deeper knowledge and acceptance of the healing ministry as a normal part of a balanced presentation of the Gospel, it encourages the study of Scripture, and provides opportunities for Members, Associates and other interested people to meet together for teaching, study, prayer and sharing together. Chapter’s also conduct regular healing services in their local areas.
The “OSL” also encourages cooperation between the ministry of the Church and healing professions, and seeks to be an avenue whereby this cooperation can be achieved and maintained. (More and more ‘healing professionals’ are becoming aware of the ‘spiritual aspects of healing’ and, for example, empirical studies now show direct links between ‘prayer’ and ‘recovery’ from illness and surgery.)
The “OSL” affirms the Church’s faith as contained in the accepted creeds of the Christian Church, especially the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, and recognizes the various statements of faith from different denominations.
Each Member of “OSL” seeks to be effective in their involvement in the healing ministry, through regular prayer, fellowship, Bible reading, and the cultivation and use of the gifts and talents given by God, and the lifestyle which reflects a desire to be healthy in body, mind and spirit.
The emblem of the Order consists of a cross within a circle, which contains the Latin words, ‘Jesu Esto Mihi Jesus’ – which can be translated as ‘Jesus be to me my Saviour’. Each arm of the Cross has a three letter Latin word reflecting some of the attributes of Jesus Christ. Lux (Light), Rex (King), Dux (Leader), and Lex (Law). The whole emblem has the meaning ‘O Jesus be to me my Saviour, my Light, my King, my Leader and my Law’.
“Today there is renewed interest in the healing ministry and a growing concern for it to be taken seriously, and restored to the life of the church, rather than being a fringe interest. There is also a general acceptance of healing as wholeness, although there are some differences as to what this actually means.
However, when it comes to the content and practice of any healing ministry, there are wide differences in approach and understanding. These differences often cause confusion and misunderstanding among those who are involved or interested in the healing ministry. Many Christians feel comfortable with one particular emphasis and become confused by different approaches, each which usually claims to be based on particular interpretation of the Bible. One of the aims of the Order of St. Luke is to help people to understand some of these different approaches to the healing ministry, and to encourage discussion among those who are actively involved in health and healing, so that they will appreciate the work of others who may approach the work of healing quite differently from themselves.”
Taylor,H. (2007) p. 76, Sent to heal. A handbook on Christian healing. Roseville, MN: Speedwell Press
(The above information is an extract from the book ‘Sent To Heal: A Handbook on Christian Healing’. Author: Harold Taylor. Development and Education Officer – The Order of St. Luke the Physician in Australia)
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