Building an Effective Cancer Ministry Through the Healing Power of Forgiveness Conference

Building an Effective Cancer Ministry Through the Healing Power of Forgiveness Conference was the third event in as many years in the effective cancer ministry series held by Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) to help faith-based organizations create or exhance cancer ministry.

With the annual number of people diagnosed with cancer continuing to rise, Our Journey of Hope® (OJOH), the CTCA spiritual outreach program, works to help church and community members expand their knowledge and skills to more effectively care for the cancer patients and families they encounter.

On April 21, 2012, this conference was held free-of-charge in Philadelphia, PA. World-reknowned experts presented on forgiveness, hope and healing to help attendees build an effective cancer ministry in their church or community. Participants were equipped with information to help patients overcome fear, find health and achieve peace.

Event host was Rev. Dr. Michael Barry, Director of Pastoral Care at CTCA in Philadelphia, author of The Forgiveness Project and creator of Release! The Healing Power of Forgivenesssm ( Speakers included Harold Koenig, MD, director of Duke University's Center for Spirituality, Theology and Health speaking on The Healing Power of Hope; Katherine Hurst, MSc, MD, a practicing physician in Iowa who promotes and encourages the concepts of forgiveness and reconciliation in her patients, speaking on Forgiveness; Loren Toussaint, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa, speaking on The Psychology of Forgiveness; and Terri Roberts, mother of the gunman in the Amish schoolhouse shootings that took place in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, speaking on Amish Grace: From Tragedy to Triumph.

Special music guest was Kevin LeVar, a gifted author, preacher, songwriter, recording artist and man of prayer. A native of the Washington, DC metropolitan area, LeVar's ministry has touched many audiences domestically and internationally. In the specific area of forgiveness, LeVar's first single, "You Are Not Alone," was written to encourage families impacted by the VA Tech shootings. Both it, and another single, "A Heart That Forgives," shot to #1 on the Gospel Music Channel.

According to a 2007 Journal of Clinical Oncology study, cancer patients experience higher quality of life when their spiritual needs are met. However, many patients say their spiritual needs aren't supported by their medical providers or religious communities. This spiritual component of care is an essential part of the CTCA patient care model. Based on research that shows spirituality and religion play a vital role in helping people cope with cancer, the Pastoral Care department of CTCA offers spiritual support, such as prayer, counsel, worship services and educational classes, to patients and their caregivers.

OJOH allows CTCA to take the insight gained from caring for the spiritual needs of cancer patients and their families over the past 20 years and share it with churches and congregations throughout the country. The first of our two spiritual support websites,, provides spiritual support resources for cancer patients and their families. Our second site,, provides written and video resources for people who minister to cancer patients and their families.

To watch this event, please click here.