Dispensation in Spiritualism:
A Call to Action and Change
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
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
New Dispensation was a world-wide call from Spirit to Humanity
-- especially to Spiritualists of the day -- for change.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
occasion was the Thirty-seventh Anniversary of the events
which took place on March 31, 1848.
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.
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.