What is Medicine and Ministry?
The Conference on Medicine and Ministry of the Whole Person is an ecumenical gathering that seeks to foster and facilitate a meaningful dialogue bridging the common ground between the health care profession and the clergy. Internationally known physicians, theologians and authors lead participants in an exploration of the issues common to physical, emotional and spiritual healing. This is done through a series of presentations by the main speaker, which are complemented by small group discussions. While foundationally Christian, this conference is open and welcoming to all persons, regardless of their chosen spiritual path.
The conference was established to acknowledge health of the whole person – mind, body and spirit – a concept introduced in the 1940s by French physician-theologian Dr. Paul Tournier. For more than 43 years, this conference has worked to keep Tournier’s healing principles vital and relevant by choosing speakers from the healing professions who help conferees explore issues of emotional, spiritual and physical healing.
“We have small groups in which we share experiences and share our thoughts, and each year when I return home from the conference, I go home renewed, refreshed and with love.” — Dr. Rose Ann Weaver, internist
This conference affirms that every human being exists as body, mind, and spirit and that these aspects of the person cannot be separated. Physical, emotional, and spiritual healing take place when the wholeness of the person is honored by the caregiver. Medicine and Ministry honors the power of the encounter as an agent of healing. The caregiver participates with the person receiving care in order to allow healing to take place. Medicine and Ministry affirms with Dr. Paul Tournier that the healing encounter opens both participants to the healing power of God.
Who comes to Medicine and Ministry?
Healing of the whole person involves the attitude of the healer. Our purpose is to develop and nurture this understanding in the lives and work of the doctors, clergy and health care providers who participate in the conference. We also believe that spouses/partners, lay or professional, should be recognized as full partners in the healing team, and that they are integral in every aspect of the conference. To make that easier in some cases, arrangements can be made for childcare, and scholarships are available.
“This conference tries to help us integrate our healing ministry with our spiritual life. That has helped me listen to my clients better and has helped me to understand my clients’ situations better. And I believe it has helped me to become a better psychologist.” — Dr. Patrick McAleney, clinical psychologist and priest
Where does Medicine and Ministry Take Place?
Held each year in early November, Medicine and Ministry takes place at Kanuga Conference Center in the Blue Ridge Mountains near Hendersonville, N.C. While the conference is unaffiliated, the Conference Center is affiliated with the Episcopal Church.
Small groups are often noted as the best part of the conference experience. Conference participants are assigned to small groups for the purpose of conversing and continuing the conference dialogue within a safe and confidential setting.
The schedule includes five small group sessions. Spouses and couples attend these groups together, and professional disciplines are purposely mixed. The conference leaders and group facilitators strive to create a space of possibility for learning, growth, and healing through the processes that occur in each small group.
Small group discussions are often inspired by the keynote speaker’s presentation, yet they may range beyond that into personal and professional matters and stories from the participants. Confidentiality and dignity guide this small group experience, which is intended to enhance mutual connection and the M & M paradigm. The aim is that through both understanding and accepting differences and commonalities, each participant can rise to new levels of knowledge about themselves and others.
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