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The New Dispensation in Spiritualism

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The New Dispensation in Spiritualism:
A Call to Action and Change

The events which took place on the evening of March 31, 1848, along with those which followed, literally shook the world into confronting the reality that our loved ones, in Spirit, not only survive death, they can draw close to us and communicate with us.

The American Modern Spiritualist Movement, although not formally organized into a national Church body until just before the turn of the century, was growing by leaps and bounds. More and more people were sitting for mediumistic development and communication; more and more people began accepting the truths enunciated by Spirit; more and more people were bearing witness to amazing Spirit phenomena.

Remember that, during the middle part of the eighteenth century, the world was still deeply enmeshed within Victorian Materialism. Therefore, Spirit needed to work within the nature of the times, in order to grab people's attention, so to speak, and get them to listen. Thus, during those pioneer days, the prevalent means by which Spirit interacted with us was physical mediumship and physical phenomena.

  • The New Dispensation was a world-wide call from Spirit to Humanity -- especially to Spiritualists of the day -- for change.
  • The New Dispensation was a call to Spiritualists to take the next step in the evolution of the Movement. Spiritualism had to step away from mediumistic phenomena and move toward an appreciation and an understanding of the implications -- personal and universal -- behind Spirit communion and communication.

  • Spirit wanted this pearl of great price, known as Spiritualism, to expand beyond the confines of a Modern Spiritualist Movement, and enter the global arena, that men and women of all faiths, all denominations, and all persuasions could experience this wonder and incorporate its truths into their own religious and spiritual journeys.

    In other words, Spirit really did not wish Spiritualism to become yet another religion; rather, a means whereby all religions could find a common foundation upon which to build their various pathways into God's Kingdom.

  • The New Dispensation dared people -- Christians, Spiritualists, and those of all faiths -- to look at Spiritualism as representing the missing link in Christ's resurrection. After all, it was Jesus, himself, who died upon the cross, in order to demonstrate that the Spirit survives death and resurrects into a new life.

  • The New Dispensation was a call from Spirit not to establish a new religion, but a new religious order, whereby all religions could find at least one common ground: in Spirit.

  • Finally, there was, at the time, an unfortunate tendency amongst Spiritualists to denounce the Church and its religious practices. The New Dispensation was a call to halt this behavior.

The New Dispensation made its call throughout the planet, in small pockets of light, scattered here and there.

The New Dispensation used the symbol of an infant stepping up and walking away from the security of the cradle. The infant was Spiritualism. The cradle was the old dispensation of phenomena. It was time for the infant to grow up, step from the cradle, and walk amongst the people -- all people.

The New Dispensation was a call to Spiritualists to embrace the infant, not the cradle; and to allow the infant to walk on its own feet, not confine it to the nursery.

Marcellus Ayer founded the First Spiritual Temple, in response to this call for a New Dispensation in Spiritualism. This is why our Church, even after the Spiritualist Movement organized itself into a religious body, remained independent of the Movement and has always viewed Spiritualism not as a religion, but as a means whereby all religion ultimately comes into being.

Furthermore, this is why our founder insisted that the focus of our Church NOT be Spirit communication; but, rather, SPIRITUAL COMMUNION. We continue to uphold this today.

We wish to share with you our small part in this New Dispensation by providing a transcript of a trance address, given to our Church congregation on March 29, 1885. Here are the circumstances surrounding this address from Spirit:

  • The occasion was the Thirty-seventh Anniversary of the events which took place on March 31, 1848.
  • The medium was one of our Church pioneer workers, Mrs. E.R. Dyar.

  • The address was given at Berkeley Hall, three blocks from where our original house of worship was being constructed at the time. The cornerstone for our original Church building was laid on April 9, 1884, and it was dedicated and consecrated during a three-day celebration, in September, 1885.

Our founder had this address published, so that anyone interested in understanding what the New Dispensation was all about could read it and be inspired. Included is a scanned image of the cover page of this booklet. You will note the name of our Church as The Working Union of Progressive Spiritualists. To understand why that name was changed, you may wish to read the biography of our founder, Marcellus S. Ayer.

The trance discourse is rather lengthy and, as was customary in those days, is preceded by Spirit's invocation. Please feel free to read and/or print this address, keeping in mind that we do hold copyright to the communication.

We sincerely hope that in reading this address given by Spirit, you will get a sense of what Spirit was really trying to see accomplished during the "heyday" of Modern Spiritualism.

Were Spirit's wishes truly fulfilled by the Modern Spiritualist Movement? Should Spiritualism have become yet another religious body? Should the focus of Spiritualism be messages from the dead? This, only you can answer for yourself.

Is the New Dispensation a thing of the past? Absolutely NOT! Our experience -- here in Brookline, Massachusetts, and on the World Wide Web -- indicates to us that the New Dispensation in Spiritualism is every bit as alive today as it was 100 years ago, as it was 150 years ago, as it was 250 years ago, as it was 2,000 years ago, as it was 3,500 years ago.

Now, in this twenty-first century, Spirit continues to echo this call to action, known as The New Dispensation in Spiritualism. So many people, from so many religious, spiritual, and social backgrounds, seem to be responding to this call.

Please click the image below and share how Spirit made and continues to make this call through one small Church, in Brookline, Massachusetts, known as the First Spiritual Temple.

On to The New Dispensation


© 2001 First Spiritual Temple. All rights reserved.
Reproduction or reuse of any pages without written permission is strictly prohibited.

First Spiritual Temple
The Ayer Institute
16 Monmouth Street, Brookline, MA, 02446-5605 USA
Telephone 617 566-7639
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