What is NSAC?
For the Spiritualist group or church, the benefits of membership in the NSAC are exceptional and many:
- Objects of Spiritualism
- Distinct Legal Existence
- Distinct Religious History
- Distinct Ecclesiastical Government
- Multiple Levels for Many Needs
- Affirmed Beliefs and Worship
- Dedicated Membership
- An Organization of Ministers
- Education: Schools/Seminaries
- Ministry Qualifications
- Charter Issuance and the Promotion of Spiritualism
- The Future: Instructing Our Young
- Spiritualist Literature
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches (NSAC) is a Science, Philosophy, and a Religion.
- As a science, it is incumbent on the NSAC to consider hypotheses and review all data before reaching any conclusions. This includes looking within itself to clarify why an individual or a congregation should want to affiliate with it as a governing entity. What follows is an overview of NSAC's purpose and many functions.
The objects of the organized movement of Spiritualism , as adopted by the National Spiritualist Association of Churches of the United States of America in convention. may be stated in part as follows:
To teach the truths and principles expressed in the Declaration of Principles and in the Definitions of:
- Spiritualist Healer
To teach and proclaim the Science,, Philosophy, and Religion of Modem Spiritualism.
To encourage lectures on all subjects pertaining to the spiritual and secular welfare of humanity;
To protest against every attempt to compel humanity to worship God in any particular or prescribed manner,
To advocate and promote spiritual healing, and to protect and encourage Spiritualist teachers and mediums in all laudable efforts in giving evidence to humanity of a continued communication between the living and the so-called dead:
To encourage every person to hold his/her beliefs always open to examination as growing thought and investigation reveal new understanding of truths thereby leaving every individual free to follow the dictates of reason and conscience in spiritual as well as secular affairs.
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches has a distinct legal existence.
NSAC is recognized as the oldest and most respected Spiritualist organization.
NSAC was incorporated on November 3, 1893 in Washington, D.C., as a nonprofit religious organization.
NSAC is recognized as a legitimate religious organization, which makes a of Spiritualism a recorded legitimate religion in this country,
Whenever the legal position of an independent Spiritualist society has and what come into question, a comparison is made between that society a' NSAC represents.
Any other Spiritualist society must meet the standards of the NSAC in order to be accepted by the legal system as part of the Spiritualist religion.
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches is proud of its distinct religious history.
The NSAC has maintained a continuous record of its history in the archives of the Research Library at its General Off-ice in Lily Dale, New York.
Materials in the Research Library include Convention Minutes, early Spiritualist publications, current NSAC publications as well as other publications and books related to the Science, Philosophy, and Religion of Spiritualism.
The NSAC archives are open to any serious investigator of the Religion of Spiritualism.
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches embraces a definite and distinct ecclesiastical government.
NSAC has it set of bylaws bylaws which serve as protection for the practice of the Science, Philosophy. and Religion of NSAC Spiritualism.
The NSAC membership at annual conventions establishes policies and bylaws for the guidance of the Board of Directors and for the functioning 47 of its auxiliaries, members, and ministry
The NSAC membership, in convention, is the highest level of authority in the organization.
State Associations are organizations which coordinate between the local church auxiliary and the NSAC.
The NSAC is organized in multiple levels to accommodate the many needs and interests of its membership.
- Seven Departments:
Assures each auxiliary of continued progress and creditability in the education of their platform workers and Ministry.
Assists auxiliaries and members interested in the perpetuation of Spiritualism through their gifts to local, state or the National Organization.
Perpetuates the education of children and adults in Spiritualism through provision of materials and assistance to local auxiliaries.
Assists auxiliaries with serving on the platform. Teaching seminars and in various other capacities as needed, Missionaries also assist newly forming groups interested in obtaining a NSAC charter. Always ready to travel to local auxiliaries these workers are just a phone call, a letter, or an email away.
Investigates the scientific evidence of Spiritualism as demonstrated in the local auxiliaries.
Assists local auxiliaries in "getting the word out" by providing guidance in advertising. through a handbook and other printed material.
Assures the local auxiliaries that the materials produced by the NSAC will maintain a consistency of quality as well as content regarding Spiritualism.
- NSAC Board Representatives:
Each NSAC Board member is assigned to the NSAC auxiliaries within a specific geographical area of the United States. Auxiliaries that want to "hear it from the top" may call mid request of visit from their designated Board member.
- Four Service Clubs:
All clubs meet annually at convention, work together to present the annual convention workshop, and offer scholarship programs for various correspondence and a residential Pastoral Skills Courses.
Enables our Ministry to create a network of colleagues and life-long friends to call upon for assistance.
National Spiritualist Teachers Club
Maintains a "willing workers" list of teachers Rifling to serve local auxiliaries upon request;
Produced the "Do's and Don'ts" of healing to protect the Commissioned Healers in local auxiliaries. The League provides healers for the devotional services each evening of the convention'.
Licentiate Minister and Certified Mediums Society
Supports our certified workers with information to assist them in achieving their goals.
- Outreach Program
Reaches out to nonmembers who request information about Spiritualism. With the permission of the inquirer, the person's name is entered on a data base, which is distributed to Missionaries and Board Representatives. This networking program puts those in search of people of "like mind" together.
- NSAC Healing Center
Maintains an absent healing list which is distributed monthly to auxiliaries. Local auxiliaries use this healing list in their church services and healing meditation classes to send healing each week. The center also assists in the documentation of healing through response cards from those interested in participating.
- NSAC Church Investment Fund
Provides low interest loans to qualified auxiliaries owning their building and needing renovations to that building. The fund also insures the continued success of our camps by providing low interest loans to qualified camps for the maintenance of camp buildings and property.
- The NSAC/Stow Memorial Foundation Spiritualist Benevolent Society
Honors our members who have given so much to Spiritualism and the NSAC by providing monthly stipends to elderly or disabled members in need of financial assistance.
- Professional Parliamentarian and Federal Attorney
Made available for guidance of the NSAC Board and its auxiliaries upon request.
The National Spiritualist Association of churches affirms to a recognized set of beliefs and form or worship.
The Science, Philosophy and Religion of NSAC Spiritualism is stated in the Declaration of Principles and the Definitions as adopted by the members in convention.
The NSAC Declaration of Principles and Definitions have changed very little, with changes made only for current usage and understanding.
A suggested format for church devotional services is advocated by the NSAC for uniformity in services offered.
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches has a membership dedicated to its association, choosing not to be associated with any other church or denomination.
As a prerequisite of membership, an applicant must state that he/she is not a member of any other Spiritualist Church, or Spiritualist organization which grants certificates, or a member of another denomination.
Exceptions to this membership in other Spiritualist organizations includes membership in a Spiritualist camp, NSAC educational auxiliary. or NSAC service club.
Membership may be transferred upon the request of the member, from one NSAC church to another NSAC church.
The NSAC offers direct Individual Student Membership for those enrolled in one of the NSAC seminaries and who do not reside close to a local auxiliary. These individuals are a leading force in the establishment of an auxiliary in their location, A-h-icli we support through this membership opportunity.
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches is proud of its complete organization of ministers serving their congregations.
- Ministers are ordained; Licentiate Ministers are certified; Mediums are certified; Spiritualist Healers are commissioned; NSAC Missionaries are appointed; and, National Spiritualist Teacher Degrees are conferred.
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches has two schools/seminaries for the preparation and continued education of its Ministers.
The College of Spiritual Science and the Morris Pratt Institute (MPI) offer certificate of completion programs to prepare students for examination for Licentiate Minister, Certified Medium, and Commissioned Spiritualist Healer.
Ordination and National Spiritualist Teacher Degrees are based on the completion of the entire MPI Correspondence Course or the requirements of the College of Spiritual Science, recommendation by the local/state association, and passing the required examination process.
Morris Pratt Institute
College of Spiritual Science
Offers the Pastoral Skills seminar, a two week residential intensive program which is a prerequisite for the Licentiate Minister certification and Ordination. This course allows the "hands on" experience one may not yet encounter in one's local auxiliary.
Offers a degree program (AA, BA) in addition to a certification program for certificates and/or ordination through correspondence courses. Morris Pratt Institute Correspondence Course work is transferable to the College of Spiritual Science.
Credibility for the NSAC, the local auxiliaries and Spiritualism as a whole is dependent on the education of our ministry. We have that credibility.
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches selects its Ministry after persons have completed the prescribed courses of study and the examination process.
NSAC Bylaws prescribe the required education for its ministry of Ordained Ministers, Licentiate Ministers. National Spiritualist Teachers, Certified Mediums, and Commissioned Spiritualist Healers.
Testing for Ordination and the National Spiritualist Teacher Degree is administered by the NSAC Board at pre-convention and Spring Board Meetings to maintain the quality and caliber of the workers.
Testing for Licentiate Minister, Certified Medium and Commissioned Spiritualist Healer is administered by the local church board, or, in some instances, by the state association. Certificates are issued upon satisfactory completion of all requirements.
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches provides for the regular congregations, religious services and established places of worship by granting church charters.
Requirements to charier a Church may be easily found in the NSAC Bylaws. available upon request from the National Office located in Lily Dale NY.
Non-profit status for local Churches with the Internal Revenue Service is by virtue of the NSAC group exemption. An Annual Report, with complete instructions, is mailed to every auxiliary to be filed with the National Organization for IRS reporting.
Church groups are required by NSAC to incorporate as a Non-profit Religious Organization in their state if the incorporation of churches is permitted.
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches provides for the religious instruction of the young.
Andrew Jackson Davis founded the first children's Progressive Lyceum oil January 25. 1863, while NSAC established the Bureau of Lyceums in 1897.
State Lyceum Superintendents work with the NSAC Lyceum Superintendent to provide materials for children in the church and camp Lyceums
"A Mini-Course for Lyceum Teachers" is available through the Bureau of Lyceums.
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches publishes a literature of its own. Through the Stow Memorial Foundation funding is available for NSAC publications.
A source of knowledge and education. This monthly periodical shares the views, insights and experiences of the membership and other Spiritualists.
This publication of ten issues annually is a simple way to bring an understanding of the religion to the young of all ages.
This web site allows the NSAC to bring the knowledge of Modem American Spiritualism to the world.
A monthly email Newsletter that brings our members, churches, camps and State Associations up to date on the latest happenings in Spiritualism and the NSAC.
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches offers a wide variety of publications relating to Spiritualism at its book store in Lily Dale, New York
The NSAC bookstore offers a free catalog upon request and carries a complete line of books on Spiritualism for its members. A small sampling of the church supplies available are:
- NSAC Spiritualist Manual
- NSAC Lyceum Manual
- NSAC Year Book
- NSAC Service Book
- NSAC Church Handbook
- NSAC Public Relations Manual
- Becoming a Spiritualist by Hugh Gordon Burroughs
- Lessons on Spiritualism by Peggy Barnes
- Lyceum Materials
- Informational Literature
- Wedding Certificates
- Membership Cards
- Membership Certificates
- Naming Certificates
The Need to Organize
People from all classes and walks of life, from all manner of social and economic statures, and from all levels of education were (and still are) drawn to the phenomena of spirit communication and the movement of Spiritualism. Many books, articles, opinions, studies, dissentions and agreements have been written by poets, lawyers, judges, scientists, clergy, the nobility, Statesmen and even a President of the United States.
The Clergy of many faiths were interested in the demonstrations of Spirit communications but when they found that the Science, Philosophy and Religion of Spiritualism varied greatly from that which was at the time "acceptable" and "mainstream", they became bitter and turned their energies to the condemnation of the movement of Spiritualism and to the support of their dogma and creed. These individuals persecuted Spiritualists, Healers and Mediums with outdated laws and religious intolerance and prejudice.
Seekers, disbelievers and believers came from all over the world in the search for an understanding of spirit communication, consolation from death, joy of understanding, and the peace of knowing.
Spiritualism varied so greatly from the closed structure of dogma and creed that was prevalent at the time that many who joined the movement did so merely for the phenomena and did not fully understand its teachings and precepts. Much of this misunderstanding caused a falling back into orthodoxy which resulted in the incorporation of these dogmas and creeds into Spiritualism. This blending of oppositions resulted in a great amount of confusion as to what Spiritualism was, what it meant, and what it taught. A contributing factor to this confusion was the appeal that Spiritualism had to every faith and denomination. These individuals brought and attempted to blend some of their past dogmatic beliefs into Spiritualism.
There were many who, not seeing any separation between the world of the physical (natural) and the world of the spirit (supernatural), had always believed in a life after death and the eternal nature of the soul. Upon finding out what Spiritualism was, many of these people considered themselves Spiritualists by practice if not by name.
With the confusion of beliefs, attacks by opponents, and persecution of it's followers, it became apparent that Spiritualism needed to organize.
There were many small, local organizations for the movement of Spiritualism but the largest early organization for Spiritualism was the National Association of Spiritualists (NAS.)
The first convention of the NAS was in Chicago, Illinois, in 1864. By 1873, the NAS consisted of eighty functioning auxiliaries inclusive of both churches and State Associations.
The NAS dissolved without clear reason after existing for 9 years. Some believe that there was too much dissention as to what Spiritualism was while others believe that the time "just wasn't right" for an organization. The "right time" would come almost 20 years later.
National Spiritualist Association of the U.S.A.
On September 27, 1893 the first Delegate Convention of Spiritualists of the United States of America convened and the following recommendations made:
- The organization of Spiritualists in the United States into one working organization.
- The opening of a permanent business office by the General Secretary of such Association as a ready means for collection and compilation of statistics of Spiritualism,
- The furnishing to Spiritualists everywhere of a uniform simple practical plan of organization,
- The building of all necessary temples and lecture halls,
- The providing of a competent corp. of organized lecturers,
- For the better education of lecturers or speakers by instituting one General Conference of the same each year, that more uniform and effective methods of teaching may be secured.
- The application of practical business methods to the promotion of the educational and especial interests of Spiritualism,
- The raising of its revenue
At the close of the first convention the election of officers for the new organization were:
- President - Harrison D. Barrett, Lily Dale, New York
- Vice President - Cora L. V. Richmond, Chicago, Illinois
- Secretary - Robert A. Dimmick, Washington, D.C.
- Treasurer - Theodore J. Mayer, Washington, D.C.
- 1st Trustee - Milan C. Edson, Washington, D.C.
- 2nd Trustee - James B. Townsend, Ohio
- 3rd Trustee - Mrs. Elizabeth Sloper, California
- 4th Trustee - Mrs. Marion Skidmore, Lily Dale, New York
- 5th Trustee - George P. Colby, Lake Helen, Florida
The National Spiritualist Association of the United States of America (NSAUSA) was recorded as incorporated on November 3, 1893 under Class 2 Religious Societies in Washington, D.C.
Its object was recorded as "not for worldly profit but for purpose of religion, to promote religion and morality; to provide for erection of temples and lecture halls or other suitable place or places of worship where the Religion of Spiritualism may be taught, and to provide for the education and licensing of proper persons as authorized lecturers and preachers of the religion of Spiritualism."
On October 21, 1895, the Incorporation papers were amended to specify the term of the incorporation for 1,000 years and to change from a "Class 2" religious organization to a "Class 1".
Its object was modified to and recorded as "the particular business as benevolent, charitable, educational, scientific, religious, and missionary with its purpose - to promote religion and morality, to provide for the erection of temples and lecture halls or other suitable places of worship, where the religion of Spiritualism may be taught, and to provide for the education and licensing of proper persons as authorized lecturers or preachers of the said religion."
These amendment were recorded in Washington, D.C., on January 7, 1896.
National Spiritualist Association
On November 20, 1920, an amendment was filed to change the name from the "National Spiritualist Association of the United States of America" to "The National Spiritualist Association" and it was recorded in Washington, D.C., on December 1, 1922.
National Spiritualist Association of Churches
On February 12, 1953, an Amendment was filed to change the name from "The National Spiritualist Association" to "The National Spiritualist Association of Churches" and was recorded in Washington, D.C., on April 27, 1953.
Change of Incorporation
Further growth and understanding led to the NSAC's election on December 31, 1960 to amend the Incorporation of the Association and file under Chapter 10 of Title 29 entitled ."Corporation of Code of District of Columbia" (Public Law 87-569, Amendment of August 6, 1972).
The National Spiritualist Association of Churches is varied and wide in its offerings to Spiritualist groups. The opportunities it provides and ideas for persons to participate are as extensive as their needs and interests.