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God has given me a great gift to heal the sick and I consider it my duty to do so; Health.

Byline: By Diane Parkes

DO you believe in miracles? At a church in Birmingham people not only trust in miracles but believe they are experiencing them.

Because for the past two years the vicar at St David's Church in Shenley Green, Selly Oak has been holding healing sessions at which people have reported change.

Open to church members and non-church members alike, as word has got around the sessions have become so popular Nick has now alloted them a specific room and time.

Each Thursday morning a range of ailments arrive looking to Nick to lay his hands on the hurt and provide healing of some form.

While many find the idea of socalled 'faith healing' difficult to comprehend there are more than enough people who feel they have experienced pain relief and healing in this room to give it credibility.

And while Nick is at the forefront of the sessions, he is by no means claiming the power is his own. He believes God has given him a gift to heal and it is his duty to do so.

It would be difficult to imagine anyone less given to hyperbole than this plain-talking vicar and indeed he is keen to stress that he is no special person, simply a means to an end.

"All healing comes from God," he says. "It is God working through me.

"Sometimes people will tell me what is wrong with them and sometimes I can just tell.

"When I place my hands on them, some people may feel heat, they may feel cold or they could feel tingling or nothing at all.

Some hear vibration, buzzing or other sounds, it varies from person to person."

The level of healing also varies from person to person.

"Some people tell me they feel better immediately, for others it may take a few gos," he says. "And while some people will tell me themselves I am always really interested in the cases where their doctors have seen an improvement as that is a way of measuring it.

"But not everyone will be healed.

I don't know why some people are healed and others are not. Maybe God has something else up his sleeve for them.

"Usually there is less effect on older people. Maybe it would go going against God's natural law for some people.

"Maybe our role then is not so much healing as alleviating pain.

It might not always result in healing but I find there is always a positive effect on people."

Nick first discovered his healing gift more than 20 years ago, took some time out as an army chaplain and began healing services at St David's two years ago. He set aside the healing room to give people peace and quiet and he works alongside the church curate Angela Bevan and church members.

And he discounts the term 'faith' healing as he maintains it is not based on faith.

"It is like the story in the Bible when Jesus healed ten lepers," he says.

"They did not have to have faith for that healing to take place. It is the same here, God's generosity is much greater than people's faith in him.

"I don't preach to people, I don't ask them about their beliefs. If they want to come to this room for healing that is all they are here for. We don't charge people, or ask for a donation, that is very important.

This is a quiet reflective place and there is no religious pressure."

Nick's efforts are supported by the Anglican church.

"One of the striking things about Jesus is that he heals people," says the Venerable Hayward Osborne, Archdeacon of Birmingham.

"And so the church, from its very beginning, has sought to do the same.

"Often this has been through physical and medical care, often through prayer with individuals or in acts of worship together.

"Sometimes healing is physical, sometimes it is a matter of a person being inwardly changed.

"Sometimes we have to admit we cannot see any obvious effects, but we continue because we want people to be touched by the love God has for us all."

"I don't know why some people are healed and others are not. Maybe God has something else up his sleeve for them

CAPTION(S):

HEALING... Derek Bow with curate Angela Bevan and vicar Nick Evans. Photo ref: TR030708HEAL-4; CHURCH HEALING GROUP... Hilda Walls receives healing from vicar Nick Evans at St David's church in Shenley Green. Photo: Trevor Roberts Photo ref.: TR030708HEAL-9
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:Jul 22, 2008
Words:752
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