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Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The National Spiritual Alliance

This past Sunday I attended a "first" for me. Chris drove me to Lake Pleasant, Massachusetts for a 2pm service at The National Spiritual Alliance, a Spiritualist church not far from Greenfield, MA. I was quite excited because this was a leap for me as I haven't attended a church service of any kind in a long time.

Chris opted to read a book on the very beautiful Lake Pleasant whilst I "did my thing." I don't blame him. All of what I'm involved in is still so new. If someone had told me even 5 years ago that I'd find myself on the doorstep of a Spiritualist church I would have scratched my head because I would have had no idea WHAT a Spiritualist church even was!

Outside of the church I spotted a gentleman who gave off kindly vibes. I introduced myself to him and he was pleased that my name was Jenny, also the name of one of his sisters. His name was Bernie, and his welcome was...well, welcome to me...as he suggested I sit next to him "like a daughter." The church building itself appeared to be quite old and unpretentious. We climbed the stairs, where pews and a pulpit were waiting for us. Rev. Eileen McGrath, a visiting reverend I believe, was to lead our group...a small group because apparently there was a psychic fair the day prior that drew many from the congregation and because of this they didn't show up for the Sunday service.

I LOVED the service...informal, yet steeped in interesting history. On the National Spiritual Alliance (TNSA) website, there's the following link regarding the Lake Pleasant "camp" which began in 1874, The First Spiritualist Campground ~ 1872-1972). Also on the website is how TNSA became TNSA:
"The National Spiritual Alliance of the United States of America originated with issuance of incorporation papers September 12, 1913, by the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts."
"The New England Spiritualist Campmeeting Association (NESCA) was affiliated with the National Spiritualist Association of Churches, based in Lily Dale, New York. The National Spiritual Alliance (TNSA) formed after members of NESCA were unable to resolve philosophical differences (primarily regarding reincarnation) and decided to follow separate Spiritualist paths. NESCA members who did not believe in reincarnation -- contending that reincarnation would be retrogressive, not progressive, and is also unproved -- continued affiliation with the National Spiritualist Association of Churches, while members who believed that reincarnation was a learning vehicle which assisted the soul's progression toward perfection split from NESCA and formed the independent TNSA. Lake Pleasant was thus home to rival Spiritualist organizations each with its own temple and followers until the NESCA temple burned in 1955 and was not rebuilt. NESCA continued operations until 1976, before donating its remaining property to the Town of Montague and disbanding."
"TNSA continues to be an active organization. Several thousand people visit Thompson Temple annually to participate in Sunday services, Psychic Development Circles, Psychic Fairs, classes, workshops, and other offerings."
Regarding TNSA breaking away from NESCA, Chris and I commented on the way home how this reminds us of the Reformation and beyond. Where there are people, there's bound to be differences of opinions and philosophies, eh?!

The service was comprised of 3 main parts. #1) Healing. Before the healing part began, we were asked to write down in a little book anyone for whom we'd like to ask for healing and anyone who had died. Then two healers came up front and each stood behind a chair. Anyone in the pews who wanted healing were asked to come forward. I thought, "Might as well be me," and up I went. The healing was very much like what I had experienced and learned during SIT 1 (Please see the past post, Spiritual Insight Training 1.) at The Fellowships of the Spirit, this past May in Lily Dale, NY. I found out after the service that the man who attended me was a Shaman and had an accent...possibly German. His hands felt like they were on fire. I don't know much else about him because I didn't stay but a moment for the coffee social after the service, worrying about Chris waiting for me outside.

After the healing, part 2 of the service took place...the sermon. Rev. Eileen gave a good sermon on "cause and effect," which is basically based on the tenet that one reaps what they sow.

A bit of singing was sprinkled throughout the service, though there was no one present who could play the organ. I should add here that Chris was called in to play by me, but upon seeing that it was an organ rather than a piano, he moseyed back outside again. I thought it was good of him that he even came in willing to help, considering this was "not his journey." Well, at least he saw that the inside of the building was safe and nice and all was well.

Part 3 of the service was readings. Yes, psychic medium readings. How cool is that?!!!! Since it was a small group, Rev. Eileen did a reading for each of us. My reading was one of the last. She said that she saw a "roadster" type car and asked if antique cars had any meaning for me. The only thing at the time I could think of was how my brother, Bob, adored Corvettes and had a few in his younger years. But when I was going home, I thought of my various uncles and how two of them had at one time co-owned a garage/gas station. Perhaps Uncle John Ilk was coming through again in a reading. (Please see the past post: The Spring '10 Whole Health Expo; Gary McKinstry -....) Rev. Eileen continued and mentioned that I'm good as a public speaker and not at all afraid of doing so. She said she saw me on TV. I have been on TV several times when I worked as a historical interpreter at Black Creek Pioneer Village in Toronto, Canada. Perhaps I'll be on TV again! She said I'd be writing more books than the one which was about to come out. Rev. Eileen mentioned that my Chris is very intuitive himself and that he's often quite correct with his first hunches. I wryly said, "Yes." And with tongue-in-cheek said, "Unfortunately, at times." She asked if I had any questions. I asked what I needed to know about upcoming school? Rev. Eileen said, "Don't go into deep debt for school. Don't go under. Monies will be forthcoming...perhaps from grants." She stressed that what I'll be getting from school will be coming regardless of school.

Bernie walked me out after the service. We walked along the bridge which is made up of boards inscribed with the names of past and present church members. When we realized that Chris was waiting in the car, Bernie came over to introduce himself to Chris. Somehow the topic of conversation landed on what each of our astrological signs were. When Bernie realized that Chris was a Cancer Sun, the same sign as Bernie's crossed over wife of many years, he said that Chris "...keeps the home going well; looks after his own." That is soooooo very true. Bernie mentioned he had a blog and e-mailed the blog address to me: Messages From Spirit. VERY interesting reading! VERY interesting man!

I have a feeling I'll visit this church and those kind people again in the future. I do want to check out other Spiritualist churches, as well...in particular when I'm in NYC. Have YOU visited or do you now attend a Spiritualist church? If so, we'd love to hear of your experiences, please. Thank you.

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