The Opening of a Time Capsule
September 22, 1985
was founded on June 28, 1883. The original Church building, also
known as the First Spiritual Temple, was dedicated and consecrated,
during a three-day celebration, in September, 1885.
our Church is now in Brookline, one town over from Boston, the spirit
of our founder and of our Church remains deeply etched within every
block of sandstone and granite used to construct that grand old
building. She remains a most honorable part of our 114 year history.
the sale of the original building, in 1975, it was declared an historical
site and has become an icon in Boston's Back Bay area.
22, 1985, one-hundred years after the Church building was dedicated,
the current owners of the property held a celebration, commemorating
her 100th birthday.
continues below images)
to Remove Cornerstone: The masons have prepared to remove
the cornerstone from the building. Around this rejected stone,
inscribed with the Alpha and Omega, was built the original
First Spiritual Temple.
the Cornerstone: The masons remove the cornerstone to
reveal the time capsule which our Church records indicate lay
nestled within the stone.
Time Capsule: The sponsors of the celebration felt it
would be appropriate to have the Church Pastors carry the time
capsule from the cornerstone to the platform. Here, Rev.
Simeon and Rev. Stephen carry the copper time capsule. It was,
truly, an exciting event for both of them and for the Church
Speeches: Seated at the platform, in front of the
building, were: Mrs. Flynn, wife of the Mayor; Rev. Simeon;
Rev. Stephen; Historian for Back Bay Historical Society;
Boston's Mayor Raymond Flynn.
the Time Capsule: Boston's Mayor, Raymond Flynn, and his
wife opening the time capsule.
Contents: Mayor Flynn and his wife look through the
contents of the time capsule. Rev. Stephen and Rev. Simeon
look on, wondering if the vial of oil will be unearthed.
From 1884: Mayor Flynn looking through a local
Spiritualist newspaper which had been placed within the time
Everyone: The real "gem" of the time capsule.
After all the wondering and imagining what that vial of oil
looked like, it comes to the light of day once again. Placed
within the time capsule by our founder, Marcellus Ayer, the
next set of earthly hands to touch it were those of the
Pastors, 100 years later.
There!: Eureka! It's here! We have it! The feeling of
exhilaration felt by the Pastors, as the vial of baptismal oil
reached their hands, is hard to express. The ancient past,
having touched the more recent past, now embraces the present.
Truly, for that one moment, time stood still and three ages of
our history came together.
Display: The contents of the time capsule were displayed
within a glass case on Newbury Street, in front of the old
Temple building. During the afternoon and early evening hours,
hundreds of people walked by and looked into the display case.
Display: In addition to the vial of oil, which was wrapped
in cloth, the contents of the time capsule included: letters
from our founder; current issues of various local newspapers,
Spiritualist and non-Spiritualist alike; fliers and leaflets;
copies of the original Church bulletin, known as The Temple
Messenger; written transcripts of Spirit communications
concerning the mission and future of the First Spiritual
Temple; coins; and other memorabilia.
Members Observe: Deborah Burke Henderson and Sarah J.
Henderson, observe the contents of the time capsule within the
New Time Capsule: Here, we see the new time capsule which
was to be placed within the cornerstone. The Church was
invited to include an envelope within this new capsule, which
is planned to be opened, again, in September, 2085, on the
200th anniversary of the building. Included within the
Church's envelope are: current day memorabilia; newsletters;
fliers; a history of the Church from 1885 to 1985; letters
from the members and Pastors of the Church to the Church
membership of 2085.
Church Members, 2085: Rev. Simeon places the Church's
folder into the new time capsule. You can tell how times have
changed. The old time capsule was made of copper, while the
new one is made of plastic.
Ready to Receive: The cornerstone standing ready to
receive the new time capsule. If all goes as planned, this
stone will be removed, once again, in September, 2085. We will
be there, once again, in Spirit.
the New Time Capsule: Then Boston Mayor, Raymond Flynn,
places the new time capsule back into the cornerstone.
Rev. Stephen is being interviewed by one of the many
television news reporters covering this historic event;
historic for Boston and especially historic for our Church.
Rev. Stephen is the Church historian, and he is working on an
official history of the First Spiritual Temple and the Boston
Boston Mayor, Raymond Flynn, various Boston historians, and the
Pastors and members of the Church were invited to attend this celebration.
It was decided that the building's cornerstone -- located at the
corner of Exeter and Newbury Streets and inscribed with the Alpha
and Omega, signifying the beginning and the end -- would
be removed and a time capsule, which, according to our Church records,
had been placed within the cornerstone, would be opened. A new time
capsule would, then, be placed therein; this one to be opened in
breath, we anticipated the day's arrival. Our Church records indicate
that the cornerstone, laid at a ceremony on April 9, 1884:
to the Ancient Egyptian Rites, was annointed with oil, sent from
an Egyptian society for this purpose, said oil being a portion
of that found in the Hall of Ramses III in the recent excavations
in the Temple of Karnak, in which a lamp was found burning which
is believed to have been burning incessantly for all these ages,
being fed from a never failing reservoir of oil just beyond the
previously told our founder that this was the fifth Temple which
he had built, over time, for religious and spiritual purposes; the
most recent being in Egypt.
precious oil be there?
day arrived and the ceremony was held in front of the old Temple
building, with hundreds of people attending.
We hope you
will take an opportunity and browse through these pictures, that
you might share with us that very special day in our history, when
our past met up with the present, through a little vial of oil,
sealed within a copper box, all hidden for 100 years behind a cornerstone.
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2002 First Spiritual Temple. All rights reserved.
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First Spiritual Temple
The Ayer Institute
16 Monmouth Street, Brookline, MA, 02446-5605 USA
Telephone 617 566-7639
E-mail to the FST