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Posted: February 11, 2005

Spiritual Caregiving

Time Is Love

"Time is money," we often say ? but what if there were no money? Couldn't we come up with other equations that make as much sense? How about "Time is love," for example? When it comes to relationships, that equation makes sense. One of the best things we can spend on our loved ones is time.

The Micmac Indians of Maine and the Maritimes have no word for either time or money in their vocabulary, they just "do what needs to be done until it's finished" (Dan dell lippi djadun). And they take all the "time" they need to do it right.

During the Great Depression, my Micmac grandfather had no money to speak of (in any language!), but he had lots of love, and he loved to fish. Not the type to buy cards or big gifts, he'd show my mother his love for her by spending the time to take her fishing. Even though a good catch would put food on the table, it was more important to show her how to be in harmony with nature.

He never said, "Micmacs are patient. We don't rush things, we take one step at a time." Instead, he'd take her to Eel Brook first, not the fishing spot she was eager to go to, and catch minnows until they had the right amount of bait, no matter how long it took.

Instead of saying, "There's no word for time in Micmac," he'd take her to a certain place on the Saco River at exactly the time of day the stripers ran best, when the sun was "right over there."

And instead of telling her that Micmacs love nature, he'd take her trout fishing in the most beautiful place she'd ever been, where wild grapes hung plump and juicy, waiting to be eaten, and the sun shone warmly on the singing stream. He knew her Micmac heart would rejoice in nature for the rest of her life.

Love takes time to create, just as money does. Just as every moment holds financial potential, each moment also holds the potential for love and beauty. If you love music, take the time to learn an instrument, write a song, or just listen to others play. If you love your family, take time to think of things to do together, and then do them! See? Time is love!

-- Evan Pritchard


The Cutting Edge of Healing Ministries

Healing services have long been held at traditional, mainline churches, but the 3,000-member Cathedral of the Advent in downtown Birmingham, Alabama, has developed an upstairs/downstairs ministry that is remarkably cutting edge even in our new world of complementary medicine.

Called Advent House, the setting is a two-story 95-year-old house in Birmingham's thriving modern medical district. Downstairs at Advent House, people in need of healing ? mostly patients at the local hospitals who are members of the parish ? meet with Peter Newton, a retired Anglican minister from Great Britain, and his wife, Janice.

For an hour they pray, study Scripture, and listen for God's word. Upstairs, meanwhile, other members of the parish add their own prayers to make a double dose of healing. Says Robin Anderson, a former senior warden at the church who works with the Newtons supervising day-to-day operations at Advent House, "We have seen a lot of miracles."

The Newtons live and work at Advent House six months of the year. At other times Advent House hosts workshops and conferences on healing, prayer, and faith led by parishioners or others involved in healing ministries. Says Newton, "The emphasis is prayer through listening to God, as Jesus did, empowered by the Holy Spirit. Having prayed for our own spiritual cleansing, we await God's starting point. This may come as a picture, a word, or phrase, which will mean nothing to us, but we offer it to the person. It usually proves to be the key that unlocks the issue."

Although parishioners may meet more than once with the Newtons, the intent is for people to return to the church and let God work with that faith community ? especially in its small groups. To ensure the privacy of patients, Advent House was deliberately set up "off campus" from the church, and those praying upstairs don't know for whom they are praying. Says Anderson, the Newtons "share needs, not confidences."

This healing ministry was inspired by a similar effort in Sydney, Australia, and its development was encouraged by the dean of the Cathedral. To the Rev. Canon Joseph Warren, director of pastoral care at the Cathedral Church, it seemed like a natural extension of what the church was already doing. "We want to get people who are involved in healing ministries to come to Advent House and help us grow. One of our members is a teaching physician at UAB (The University of Alabama at Birmingham) Hospital. He would like to see his medical students take classes at Advent House to learn about the spiritual aspect of healing."

Anderson acknowledges that some are skeptical, but, she says, "We're spirit-led. We're open to God telling us what the next step is. But because of the gradual nature at which we've progressed, people don't disparage what's happening at Advent House. They either take it seriously or with a grain of salt."

-- Brent Davis

This article originally appeared in Spirituality & Health magazine, For subscriptions call 1-800-876-8202 or see Editor Stephen Kiesling and his staff contribute weekly columns, features and articles published every Friday as "Spiritual Caregiving" at Contact staff directly via email at

© 2005 Pederson Publishing, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Commercial use, redistribution or other forms of reuse of this information is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of Pederson Publishing.

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