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History of OSL

OSL was founded in 1932, St. Luke’s Church, in San Diego, California, by the Reverend John Gayner Banks and his wife, Ethel Tulloch Banks. It was founded as a Christian fellowship of clergy and lay people interested in sharing experiences of Jesus' healing ministry. Their vision was to draw all those involved in various healing ministries under the umbrella of a world, Christian healing fellowship, which would be based on the four Gospels of Jesus Christ. In 1953, it was incorporated in the state of California as The International Order of St. Luke the Physician.

The 20th century saw an awakening around the world to the tremendous resources of God's healing power that is available to all of us, not only through scientific medicine, but through believing prayer. As a result of this awakening, the Rev. Banks and his wife Ethel were inspired to organize The Order of St. Luke. Their vision was one of inclusion, that would invite people of all faiths from around the world to join them.

As the fellowship grew, a monthly, two-page newsletter was sent to all members. With further growth, the newsletter became a magazine. After prayer for guidance, the founding group decided to call the magazine “Sharing.” The first issue of Sharing was mailed in 1937, and the magazine has been in print ever since. Today the Order of Saint Luke the Physician has over 7500 members in North America, including lay people, clergy, and medical professionals. They believe that Christian Healing and competent medical practices are not averse to one another but, rather, are complimentary. From the time OSL was founded, our members have devoted themselves to conducting healing missions at home and abroad. Lecturing, teaching, and praying for those who are ill in body and soul—everywhere inspiring new members to join our healing fellowship. As a result, today chapters of many different denominations exist throughout the world.

In the 1970s, the OSL leadership sensed the need for better organizational structure and divided North America into 13 geographical regions. Each region is headed by a director, (see People) and has its own annual conference. Every June, a North American Conference is held that brings together all 13 regions. Jesus commissioned his followers to "Go into all the world and preach the Good News of the Kingdom of God, and heal the sick." Perhaps more than any other time in history, our world today is still torn with bodies and souls that are sick and broken, so the task before us is far from finished. God's call to all of us is abundantly clear, and he awaits our joyful and enthusiastic response. Each one of us has a special healing gift to offer, and OSL is committed to helping each one of us realize that gift.

Motto and Cross



Blue is the color of healing. The emblem of the order is a cross within a circle, which together make an acrostic. The motto is in Latin:


Roughly translated this means: "O Jesus, be to me my Savior (Healer), my Leader, my Light, my King, and my Law." Life's greatest adventure awaits you when Jesus Christ becomes your Leader, Light, King, Law, and Savior-Healer.

According to tradition, this cross was found in the catacombs of Domitillain Rome during the second century. It is the prayer of a Roman nobleman. The story is that this Roman officer lost his wife who had been the guide and inspiration of his life. He felt the light of his life had been extinguished.

Restless and distraught, he wandered this way and that. Then he heard the Glad Tidings of the Christian Gospel and found in the catacombs this prayer inscribed on the wall. He accepted Christ and made the prayer the Rule of his life. The light of Christ shone into his life with healing and integration. He lived a long and useful life thereafter.