An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Emmanuel Movement

The Rev. Dr. Elwood Worcester became the rector of Emmanuel Church, Boston, in 1904, and served there until his retirement in 1929. While at Emmanuel Church he worked on combining religion and science, resulting in a healing ministry which lasted until his retirement. The movement began when Worcester developed a program for the treatment of tuberculosis patients under the auspices of Emmanuel Church. The plan included health education for patients and their families as well as in-home medical care. Gradually the plan was expanded to include the treatment of nervous and psychic disorders. In Nov. 1906, Emmanuel Church held a series of four lectures about health and healing, culminating with the offer of treatment beginning the next day. On the next day, approximately 200 persons arrived at Emmanuel Church for healing prayer and treatment by physicians. This ministry expanded and grew into the Emmanuel Movement. It spread from its New England base. It was aided by stories in Good Housekeeping and Ladies' Home Journal, as well as books such as Religion and Medicine: The Moral Control of Nervous Disorders. The movement stressed the cooperation of clergy and medical professionals in the ministry of healing. The movement declined after Worcester retired.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.