The Guild of Health and St Raphael is an ecumenical, inclusive and prayerful organisation working locally and nationally in the Christian healing ministry. Taking theology seriously, we reach out to both policy makers and those on the ground to spread the Good News of Jesus Christ for healing and healthy living. Working with key partners and through publications and events, we aim to be the premier academic point of contact for science, religion and healing, whilst also providing resources for individual and parish based healing ministry.


The Guild of Health and St Raphael, as it is known today, was formed in 1904 to bring together members of the clergy and medical professions together to study and promote the healing ministry of the Church. It is the oldest organisation in the UK working in the field of Christian healing. In 1915, the Guild of St Raphael broke away and dedicated itself to promoting and practicing Christ’s ministry of healing as an integral part of the life and worship of the Church. The Guilds reunited in 2014 bringing back together both the professional and sacramental, and continues today to be at the forefront of engagement with the professional and academic world, as well as supporting individuals and parishes in local expressions of this work.

Trustees and more of the team

The Revd Lucyann Ashdown

Lucyann has spent most of her career in health care, training as a registered general nurse at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary. During this time she became interested in women’s health and went onto do her Midwifery training at The Royal London because of its reputation for feminist social justice. In1989 she became an Independent Midwife specialising in home birth across London. Alongside this Lucyann facilitated antenatal groups in the NHS in Tower Hamlets, taught pre and post registration midwives, held workshops for prospective Independent Midwives and gained a degree in Social Anthropology.

In 2003 Lucyann became a senior lecturer in Public Health at Anglia Ruskin University until she was ordained in 2008 and has continued to teach about Spirituality and health at the pivotal moments of birth and death.

More recently, following a decade of offering supportive supervision to the London Birth Practice and because of her passion for supporting professionals by offering them a compassionate space to explore and reflect on their work; she decided to train as a supervisor at The Centre for Supervision and Team Development (CSTD) in Bath.

Lucyann is particularly interested in the way we experience God in times of struggle and absence, encountered as we traverse the terrains of birth, death, ill health and childlessness.

Lucyann is Bishop’s Advisor for health and healing in the Salisbury Diocese

Lucyann became Chair of trustees in Oct 2014.

Dr. David McDonald

After qualifying as a medical doctor, preparation for an intended career in general practice included a post in psychiatry – and I stayed: It was so interesting and rewarding. My forensic work in prisons and secure units revealed that mentally unwell adults were actually disturbed children; the majority of adults with psychiatric disorder have a history of symptoms starting in early life. This led me to further train as a child psychiatrist and thereafter as a family therapist and psychotherapist for individuals and groups. I came to see that adverse experiences in the early years carried a significant component of spiritual harm as well. As a consultant in NHS practice for over 30 years, involvement in the healing ministry of the Church, and a particular interest in the deliverance ministry, has given me a continuous role in training and support for clergy and pastoral teams.

Commonalities I found between psychology and theology in understanding dis-ease in individuals and society, I put to academic use in study for an MA in interreligious dialogue and an MSc in psychotherapy. I fully trust the potential for health and healing in communities that will lead us to total salvation through Christ’s ministry for all peoples.

Jim McManus

Jim McManus is Director of Public Health for Hertfordshire County Council, a Chartered Psychologist and Chartered Scientist and is a Health Foundation Generation Q Quality Improvement Fellow. He has degrees in theology, psychology and public health. He is visiting Professor at a number of institutions including LSE.

Jim was the founding Chair of the Health Psychology in Public Health Network, a national network whose purpose is interdisciplinary discussions across public health and psychology. He was recently listed in The Tablet’s 2017 list of 100 leading lay Catholics and in 2011 was awarded the Good Samaritan Medal for excellence in healthcare by Pope Benedict XVI, the highest honour for health work the Vatican can award.

He survived a Grade IV blood cancer and in his spare time enjoy music, reading and travel. Jim volunteers in his local parish church and is a member of the Secular Carmelite Order. He has always been interested in the links between theology and social sciences, and theology and health.

Dr. Michael Platt
Clinical Director

Dr Michael Platt graduated as a doctor from the medical school of the University of Western Australia in 1977. After training in pain medicine and anaesthesia in Perth, Australia and London.

He became Senior Lecturer in Anaesthesia at Imperial College and St Mary’s Hospital in 1991, and is now Consultant and Honorary Senior Lecturer in Pain Medicine and Anaesthesia at St Mary’s Hospital and Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, and is also Honorary Consultant in Palliative care for Kensington and Chelsea Primary Care Trust.

While working in this position, he studied for and was awarded an MA in Bioethics from Surrey University in 2005, with a special interest in end of life issues, particularly in pain medicine. His special interests are nerve pain and functional disability.

The Revd. Prof. Helen Leathard

The Reverend Professor Helen L Leathard BSc, MA, PhD, FBPhS is a retired academic pharmacologist whose interest in Christian healing developed after she moved from teaching medical students in London to nurses in Lancaster. Around the millennium, Helen was licensed as a C-of-E Reader, organised international conferences on Faith in Healing & Health Care Provision, became a Consultant to Holy Rood House Centre for Pastoral Care, a member of the Guild of St Raphael Council, and of the editorial board of Sacred Space/Spirituality & Health International. She directed and published evaluatory research into ‘healing by gentle touch’, a healing modality based on Christian meditative practice. As a member of the Bishop’s Healing Ministry Advisory Team she helped promote and develop healing ministry in Blackburn Diocese. She was editor-producer of Chrism and Guild News 2009-2015, and in ‘retirement’ was called to ordained ministry and serves in a multi-parish benefice near Lancaster.

Mr. Ken Herbert

Mr. Olivier Beroud

Mr David Lane
Publications sub editor

David has been sub-editing and designing Chrism and Guild News for the past three years, as well as designing posters and fliers for the Guild. Before that he worked for many years as a solicitor in the City of London. Originally from Staffordshire, David is a former churchwarden, and currently server and treasurer, of a small north London parish, where he lives with his wife, Debbie. He has two adult daughters.

Mrs Sue Chapman
Membership Secretary and Bookkeeper

Sue is the Membership Secretary and Bookkeeper for the Guild.  She has had many years experience of working in administration and laterly facilities management for a number of firms in London before taking time out to start a family.  Sue works part-time for the Guild and is also the Parish Administrator of her local church and Administrator & Bookkeeper for a local christian retreat.  She lives in London with her husband and teenage son.

The CEO of the Guild of Health and St Raphael
The Revd. Dr. Gillian Straine

Gillian is passionately committed to health, healing and Christian living. She is a cancer survivor, Anglican priest, pastoral theologian and social media addict with a strong interest in communication and teaching. She has a doctorate in Physics from Imperial College London and an MA in Theology from the University of Oxford. She is particularly keen to bring the study of science into conversations about Christian healing. She is the author of Introducing Science and Religion: A path through polemic (SPCK, 2014), The Limits of Science? (CSP, 2017) and Cancer: A Pilgrim Companion (SPCK, 2017). She lives in London with her husband and two young children.

Our team at the Guild

At the Guild, we have a fantastic team of highly talented people working hard to deliver the aims and objectives of the charity.

The Revd. Stephen Radley, Chief Operating Officer

Wendy Lloyd, Resource Development Partner