Ministry of Deliverance
The Ministry of Deliverance is not something that is encountered by most of us very often. It is, however, something that most clergy will be required to deal with on at least one occasion during the course of their ministry. Quite often, the phenomena appear puzzling, bizarre and certainly to those experiencing them, disturbing. Every Diocesan Bishop in the Church of England is required to appoint one or more persons to assist with the Ministry of Deliverance.
In the Diocese of Carlisle there is a team of people authorised by the Bishop, who have accumulated very considerable experience in this ministry. The position of Diocesan Team Leader is currently vacant.
What should I do if someone is disturbed and comes to me for help?
The first priority is to listen and to calm anxiety. Whether you ‘believe’ everything that you hear is not too important at this stage. So listen carefully, question carefully and write down some notes. Just listening to the story will help calm someone who is distressed, and assurance and prayer will relieve anxiety further.
What happens next?
Before considering the ministry of deliverance in this Diocese clergy must consult the priest authorised by the Bishop to conduct the deliverance ministry. Clergy should undertake only such ministry under the direction of the Bishop’s Adviser.
Bishop's Adviser and Team Co-ordinator
The task of the Advisor is to support you in your ministry. Initially we will simply listen and try to work out just what has been going on. What we do next depends very much on what has been happening. On some occasions we will simply offer advice to you on how to proceed. In other instances, and always when requested by you, a member of the team will arrange to visit in person. Occasionally one visit might suffice, but it is more usual for there to be ongoing contact for some time.
The Church of England’s Report entitled, ‘A Time to Heal’ has a chapter devoted to the ministry of Deliverance and this is an excellent introduction. It clearly sets this ministry within the wider ministry of healing in the church.
For those who want to read further, the standard current text remains ‘Deliverance’ (2nd edition) which is edited by Michael Perry (formerly the Bishop’s Adviser in the Durham Diocese) and published by SPCK.
The Churches’ Fellowship for Psychical and Spiritual Studies has produced an excellent leaflet for those who experience such phenomenon. Entitled, ‘Deliver us from Evil’ and available either from the Bishop’s Adviser or directly from the organisation:
The House of Bishops has produced Guidance for Good Practice in Deliverance Ministry (Revised 2012) which those authorised to conduct this ministry are required to follow.
The House of Bishops has produced ‘Guidelines for the Professional Conduct of the Clergy’. Every ordained person in the Diocese should have a copy of this document, and use it as the basis for ‘Good Practice’ in ministry. This is particularly significant in responding to the anxious, troubled and often vulnerable people who are frequently encountered through the Ministry of Deliverance.
Christ within me,
Christ behind me,
Christ before me,
Christ beside me,
Christ to win me,
Christ to comfort and restore me.
Christ beneath me,
Christ above me,
Christ in quiet,
Christ in danger,
Christ in hearts of all who love me,
Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.
For a house:
Visit this place, O Lord, we pray, and drive far from it the snares of the enemy;
may your holy angels dwell with us and guard us in peace,
and may your blessing be always upon us; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The peace of God, which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and minds
in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord;
and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit,
be upon you and remain with you always.Amen.
Further useful prayers can be found in the Common Worship volume of Pastoral Services in the section entitled 'Prayers for Protection and Peace' (page 94ff).