Brother David Jardine, founder of Divine Healing Ministries, will be installed as Canon of St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, on December 2.
David said his appointment was a great honour, not only for him but for the many people who have helped in his healing ministry over the years.
David grew up in Banbridge and later Downpatrick before going on to study languages at Queen’s University.
“In my final year I felt God calling me to go for the ministry, so I went straight to Trinity for two years,” he said. He was ordained a deacon in 1967 and a priest a year later. His first parish was St Patrick’s, Ballymacarrett, in east Belfast.
In 1970, David became assistant Church of Ireland Chaplain at Queen’s, and in 1973 he joined the Society of St Francis, a religious community in the Anglican Church. He remains a member of the Society, and following his installation as Canon he chooses to continue to be known as Brother Jardine.
David spent 10 years, from 1975-1985, as Church of Ireland chaplain in Crumlin Road Prison. “This was one of the most influential periods of my ministry. It was an amazing privilege to work with all the men who had become involved in the Troubles,” he said.
“At a time when officers were being murdered it was a great privilege for me to be able to walk to and from work. Today I still have many contacts amongst men I got to know in prison, both inmates and staff. Recently, at a healing service in St Anne’s, there were two life sentence men sitting beside me and the prayers were taken by a former prison governor. It is only God who can really allow barriers like that to be broken down.”
When David left Crumlin Road Prison, the Society of St Francis suggested he go to Brooklyn, New York, to provide him with a greater variety of ministry. The three years in the Big Apple proved another hugely influential period in his life.
“There were 3,000 people killed in New York every year at that time. Brooklyn made Crumlin Road look like a Sunday School,” David said.
He worked in a predominantly black parish where there could be 800 at a service with David one of only three white men, and in a Spanish speaking parish.
“Although these two periods were the most influential in my life, my healing ministry has probably influenced more people’s lives,” said David. He first became involved in healing ministry in 1972, and became full time after his return from New York, working for the Churches Ministry of Healing.
In 1993 he founded the inter-denominational Divine Healing Ministries which has two aims – prayers for the healing of individuals and prayers for the healing of our land.
“For 10 years we organised six to seven hours of prayer a day in St Anne’s Cathedral and I believe that one of the major reasons we have comparative peace in Northern Ireland is that people, not only in St Anne’s, prayed throughout those years and God responded,” David said.
This 10-year prayer vigil ended in 2001, but David believes prayer is still vital to sustain peace. “We need as much prayer as we ever did, but people might not always recognise that. The peace process on one level is robust but on another it is fragile,” he said.
David has witnessed many healing miracles. In one case he prayed for a young mother, blind for seven years since the birth of twins, and her sight was completely restored. “Her family saw it as a miracle, her rector saw it as a miracle and I saw it as a miracle,” David said.
In another instance prayers were said for a three-year-old girl suffering from severe epilepsy. “We prayed for her over a period of four months, but I personally prayed for her on December 23 1993. She has never had an epileptic seizure since then and she is now 17,” David said.
He emphasises that the honour of Canon – he is the first Church of Ireland clergyman who is a member of a religious community to be made a Canon since the Reformation – is an honour for those people who work with him in his healing ministry. “They have made a major contribution to me getting this award,” he said.
Brother David Jardine will be installed as a Canon of the Chapter of St Anne’s at a service in St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, at 3.30pm on Sunday December 2.