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
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
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
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.
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
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.
medium was one of our Church pioneer workers,
Mrs. E.R. Dyar.
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
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.
to The New Dispensation