First Spiritual Temple

A Brief History of Our Healing Vigil

Spiritual Healing has always been an integral part of our Church's legacy. Our founder, Marcellus S. Ayer, believed so strongly in healing that he specifically indicated, within the Church's Charter, that we be given the right to certify Spiritual Healing Channels, conduct Schools of Healing, and even institute Healing Hospices for the ill and aged.

The Healing Vigil, itself, was inaugurated at a special Worship Service, on Sunday, November 20, 1977. The guidance and inspiration for the Vigil was given to us by Spirit, through Rev. Fulton's mediumship. The Vigil consisted of three basic elements:

  • The work of Spiritual Healing, by the Pastors and interested Church members.
  • The Vigil's Healing Book, in which people enter names and requests for healing. The Healing Book has, up until recently, sat within our Chapel and available for anyone to enter healing requests.
  • A continuously burning candle lamp-stand, which stood behind the Healing Book. The perpetual flame represents the healing light which continuously bathes those people for whom healing has been requested.

On November, 19, 1977, the evening before the Vigil was dedicated, the Healing Guide -- now known as John - requested that the following be entered at the beginning of the first volume of the Healing Book:

"And those in the world of Spirit, with joy in their hearts, come to glorify God in Man and Woman, that the creative energies may be given freely, and that all who would be healed and comforted might find counsel.

"We have come to you bearing the gifts you have struggled so long to find within yourselves. We seek your commitment as well.

"This Vigil, once placed upon the distant shores, incorporates itself with Spirit and Man, rekindling.

"Let this be a Vigil of mercy and love and understanding. As it is born into the First Spiritual Temple, let it be born also into all those who are in need.

"So let it be written, so let it be done. Godspeed to all of those who journey through these pages, whose names shall glisten by this Light. For you do not linger upon its pages; you are a part of its Light."

It should be noted that, at the time of the Healing Vigil Dedication, we were hosting British Healer, Margaret Wilson (now in Spirit), then Secretary of the International Spiritualist Federation and President of the National Federation of Spiritual Healers. Her presence added a wonderful dimension to the dedication.

Throughout the past twenty years, the Healing Vigil has undergone several changes, always seeking to address the needs of the people, while, at the same time, maintaining its basic principles of love and integrity. As in all areas of volunteer work, people's commitment waxed and waned with the flow of life's many challenges. Yet, over the years, thousands of people have been helped by the work of the Vigil. Many testimonies have come to us, but, for the most part, the Healing Vigil maintained its ministry with a silent, but determined, faith that God, Christ, and Spirit were with us, guiding us along the way and always responding to the needs of the people to whom the Vigil extended its hand of love and healing.

Approximately two years ago, it began to become quite apparent to us that something needed to change within the Healing Vigil. Rev. Stephen Fulton, the Vigil's directing and guiding influence, felt that it was time to close one chapter of the Vigil's history, that another might be written. He announced to the congregation that the Healing Vigil Light would be extinguished and the Healing Book would be closed. Things needed to change, but now was not the time for those changes to take effect. As always, we knew that when the time was right, Spirit would let us know in no uncertain terms.

Although this came as a shock to the congregation and membership of the Church, it really was not out of character. The First Spiritual Temple's premise on the gifts of the Spirit has always been, from the moment our Church was founded, in 1883, very simple: do it right; do it well; do it with full commitment; or don't do it at all.

Thus, the Vigil's work was removed from the public and maintained privately by the Pastors, until such time that Spirit would guide us otherwise. It was, indeed, a difficult time for the Healing Vigil.

With continued faith in God and Spirit, we went about our business, knowing that, when the time was right, Spirit would help resurrect the Healing Vigil. Indeed, they did, and it came, first, with an announcement on the day we celebrated the birth of Jesus, the living Christ.

During the Christmas Service, 1996, the Healing Guide announced that he and others, in Spirit, were preparing to help resurrect the ashes of the Healing Vigil. Like the great phoenix, from out of the shattered pieces would emerge the Healing Vigil, reborn with renewed light, love, and commitment. During that service, the Healing Guide also announced that, from that time forward, he would be known as John, a simple healer.

The Shattered Pieces Of The Vigil Light Shade.
Candle Flame Burns in the Midst.

True to Spirit's promise, shortly after the Christmas service, a sign was given to us that the Vigil was, indeed, experiencing a shattering crucifixion. The blue candle lamp shade, which had stood on the Vigil lamp stand, got shattered into pieces. In a way that we, at the First Spiritual Temple, are quite accustomed to, Spirit was intimately involved in this shattering. Amidst the shattered pieces of blue glass, there was lit a small candle. This, to us, represented the hope of resurrection, following the crucifixion.

And thus began the process of resurrection. Spirit made it very clear that the Healing Vigil was, now, under their direction, and they would work with it and with us only if they were convinced that the necessary love and commitment to spiritual healing were there. Furthermore, they informed us that words, alone, were just not enough. Our words would have to be followed up by action. Remember: faith without works is dead!

At that time, the Church's web site had been online for approximately four months. Little by little, more and more information was given to us about how the Healing Vigil would be resurrected within the Church and what role both the congregation and people outside of the Church could play. It was all very exciting, and you could see that excitement building up and spreading throughout the Church community.

Then, an even more exciting announcement was made by Spirit: they wanted the Healing Vigil to extend beyond the walls of our Church community. Spirit wanted to see an extension of the Vigil set up through our web site. It was not to be a new Healing Vigil, but two complements of one Vigil: one in real space, at Brookline, Massachusetts; the other in cyberspace.

Spirit felt it was very important not to keep the Vigil locked up within the community of the First Spiritual Temple. They insisted that it be available to all who are in need, near and far, in body and in Spirit.

All the details concerning our Internet Healing Vigil were given to us by Spirit. It would be the job of Rev. Stefanidakis, assisted by Church graphic artist, Marcus Lisle, to determine if and how this could all be done and set into place through the world wide web.

And that is what brought us to this point; with you, our faithful web visitor, reading the history of the First Spiritual Temple's Healing Vigil.

We hope you will take advantage of the services provided by the Healing Vigil. Having read this brief history, you know what our Vigil stands for and upon what it has been built.

Remember, we are here to serve YOU! Visit the site often. Tell others about it. Participate in it. And by all means, if you or someone you know are in need of healing, then submit your healing request. We stand firmly committed to serving your healing needs.

Thank you and God bless you.

There is a Place for You at the First Spiritual Temple
- We Are Here to Serve Your Needs -



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First Spiritual Temple
The Ayer Institute
6 Jacobs Meadow Road, East Sandwich MA, 02537-1080

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