Black/AA Spiritualist Churches and Temples

Discussion in 'The Root' started by xoxodede, Dec 2, 2018.

  1. xoxodede

    xoxodede Superstar

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    While in the Marc Lamont Hill thread going back and forth with @Sccit -- and he asked me if I liked "Jews."

    I ended up disclosing that my church back home is called "Spiritual Israel."

    As a child/teen, I used to get teased cause we were the only Black Temple in the city/county - and everybody else was Baptist/AME. I didn't even know how to explain what the church believed in - and made sure to never invite any of my friends cause I knew my Temple was different. We incorporated Black Judaism and Black Spiritualism.

    We had key members who were/are "readers," mediums and taught us how to make oils, dress candles and many other things.

    When I started looking up the history of my Temple -- I found some interesting stuff.

    My Church, initially called "God in David" was founded by Bishop Derk Fields in Alabama in the 1920's. After he passed members of the Church broke off and moved to Michigan during first wave of The Great Migration. During that time, the Church became "Spiritual Israel."


    Spiritualist churches are places of worship for the practitioners of Spiritualism. The Spiritualist service is usually conducted by a medium. Generally, there is an opening prayer, an address, the singing of hymns, and finally a demonstration of mediumship. Healing circles may also be part of the formal proceedings.

    This thread will go over the faces and founders of the Black/AA Spiritualist Movement and their practices.
     
  2. xoxodede

    xoxodede Superstar

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    [​IMG]


    Father George W. Hurley and Universal Hagar's Spiritual Church

    Father George W. Hurley (February 17, 1884-June 23, 1943), the founder of the Universal Hagar's Spiritual Church Association, was raised as a Baptist by his mother, Tina Hurley. At the age of seven he began to preach and challenge the traditional Baptist doctrine. He was ordained at the age of 11. After high school he went to Tuskegee Institute and Phelps Bible Hall Training School to receive ministerial training from Dr. E. J. Penny.

    In 1918-19 Reverend Hurley met Father Elias D. Smith, founder of the Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ. Hurley was moved by Father Smith and his teachings and consequently joined. After several years, he reached the level of Elder and the presiding Prince of Michigan, but became dissatisfied with the teachings of the Triumph Church. After this he briefly joined the International Spiritual Church, but again he was not completely content.

    On September 23, 1923 he founded the Universal Hagar's Spiritual Association. Father Hurley was concerned with both racial and economic disparities. He created the Hagar's School of Mediumship and Psychology (1924) and the Knights of the All Seeing Eye (1934 with Prince Thomas Surbadger) as extensions to the church.

    The Universal Hagar's Spiritual Church Association has a number of objectives, including but not limited to teaching "the deeper truths of God, to promote the study of the science, phenomena and philosophy of spiritual religion, and to develop the true spiritual life among its members so that all members...attain the highest state of spiritual experience in this life as true worshippers of God."

    Prince Alfred Bailey of New York became the fourth President of Universal Hagar's Spiritual Association after Mother Hatchett's death in 1977. In 1980, Prince Bailey passed and Princess Georgia Latimer of Michigan, the fourth child of Father & Mother Hurley, became the President. Princess Ida Lee Childs of Ohio took the reins in 1994 after Princess Latimer's death. Princess Childs appointed Princess Shirley Aquart of New Jersey as Acting President in April 2005. Princess Aquart was later made President after the passing of Princess Childs in 2007.

    In 2012, the UHSCA boasted over 30 temples and missions in 14 states--Michigan, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Wisconsin, Maryland, Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama -- and was headquartered at 555 South Oakwood Blvd., Detroit, Michigan 48217.


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    Universal Hagar's Spiritual Church (UHSC)
    The Universal Hagar's Spiritual Church (UHSC), a Spiritualist church operating primarily among African Americans, was founded in 1923 in Detroit, Michigan, by George Willie Hurley (1884-1943). Hurley moved to Detroit from Georgia in 1891 and affiliated with Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ and rose to become the leader of the church in Michigan. A short time later he became involved with the esoteric, left his position in 1920 to join a Spiritualist church, and three years later founded his own church. In 1924 he established the School of Mediumship and Psychology, and as new congregations developed, each also had a school attached to it. Hurley conceived of the school as a branch of the Great School of the Prophets, which he believed to be the school Jesus attended during the 18 years between his appearance in the temple in Jerusalem and the beginning of his public ministry at the age of 30.

    UHSC was one of the main bodies spreading Spiritualism through the African American community in the twentieth century. Like other spiritual churches, (spiritual was the name adopted by Spiritualism in the black community), UHSC altered traditional Spiritualism by blending Catholic ritual, Holiness preaching, and elements of the folk magic culture or voudou. Hurley also drew upon Ethiopianism, a belief that identified black people (Ethiopians) with the ancient Israelites; astrology; and insights from The Aquarian Gospel of Jesus Christ, a channeled book that purports to tell of Jesus' lost years. Unlike many spiritual leaders, Hurley took a strong stand on social issues and was an early supporter of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

    The church planted congregations across the Northeast and Midwest during Hurley's lifetime. As the church expanded, Hurley acquired an increasingly grandiose self-understanding. He told his followers that his carnal flesh had been transformed into the flesh of Christ and that he had become the "God" of this Aquarian Age, just as Jesus had been the God of the previous Piscean Age. Since Hurley's death, the UHSC has been led by Prince Thomas Surbacher, Mother Mary Hatchett, Prince Alfred Bailey, and Rev. G. Latimer, Hurley's daughter. Hurley welcomed women to the ministry, and they have always been well represented on the Wiseman's Board, the church's ruling structure. State directors are called princes, a term taken over from Triumph the Church and Kingdom of God in Christ. In recent years the church has spread into the Southwest and California.


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  3. xoxodede

    xoxodede Superstar

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    Father Divine

    Father Divine
    (c. 1876 – September 10, 1965), also known as Reverend M. J. Divine, was an African American spiritual leader[2] from about 1907 until his death. His full self-given name was Reverend Major Jealous Divine, and he was also known as "the Messenger" early in his life. He founded the International Peace Mission movement, formulated its doctrine, and oversaw its growth from a small and predominantly black congregation into a multiracial and international church.

    Father Divine claimed to be God.[3] He made numerous contributions toward his followers' economic independence and racial equality. He was a contemporary of other religious leaders such as Daddy Grace, Charles Harrison Mason, Noble Drew Ali and James F. Jones (also known as Prophet Jones).

    Father Divine is one of the more perplexing figures in twentieth-century African American history. The founder of a cultish religious movement whose members regarded him as God, Father Divine was also an untiring champion of equal rights for all Americans regardless of color or creed, as well as a very practical businessman whose many retail and farming establishments flourished in the midst of the Great Depression.

    Regarded by many members of the traditional black church as an imposter or even a lunatic, Divine was praised by other observers as a powerful agent of social change, alone among the many cult leaders in Depression-era New York in providing tangible economic benefits for thousands of his disciples.

    The early biography of the man who later called himself Father Divine is little more than a patchwork of guesses: Divine was apparently unwilling to discuss his life except in its “spiritual” aspects. Believing himself to be God incarnate, he felt the details of his worldly existence were unimportant; the result is that historians are not certain even of his original name or place of birth. Most agree, however, that Father Divine was probably born ten to twenty years after the end of the Civil War, somewhere in the Deep South, and that his given name was George Baker.


    The Brotherly Spiritualist Beef Between Father Divine and Prophet George W. Hurley

    The prophet also had run-ins with a New York City based prophet named Father Divine, who like Hurley, numbered his followers in the hundreds of thousands in multiple states. Whereas Hurley staked claim to being the Second Christ Son of God, Divine strove higher and deemed himself God.

    The rift deepened when Divine set up a church (he called it extending "his heavens") on the outskirts of Detroit (Highland Park) in 1936. Hurley predicted oblivion for the "little man" and that the prophet would die within 9 years due to a covenant with an evil spirit. While the claim was a bold leap of faith it was off by both methodology and mathematics, as "God" would live some 17 years past the decree's expiration date. Hurley himself wouldn't live to see the prophecy proven wrong as he died two years shy of his prediction in the summer of 1943. Source: WEIRD DETROIT: G. W. Hurley: The Second Christ of Detroit

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    The Afro American, May 20, 1939


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  4. xoxodede

    xoxodede Superstar

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    Father George W. Hurley (Universal Hagar's Spiritual Church) and Marcus Garvey
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  5. xoxodede

    xoxodede Superstar

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    Father Divine had two wives.

    One Black -- Sister Penny - His first wife:
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    and a White one:

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    Race and Black Spiritualist Church
    Most Black Spiritualist Churches - were not integrated -- and did not have White members. For instance Prophet Hurley - did not believe in IR relationships -- and was a Garvey supporter -- that's probably why he wasn't a fan of Father Divine.


    Father Divine had a relationship with Jim Jones.

    Rev. Jim Jones, the leader of Peoples Temple, visited Father Divine, a fellow cult leader at his "Peace Mission" in Philadelphia a number of times between 1960 and 1971. Jones studied Divine, even making his followers call him 'father'. Jones copied Father Divine’s techniques, and stole Divine’s followers, and at least once promoted himself as heir apparent to Divine’s ministry, membership and assets. He managed to get a few of his people, but in the end, he showed little gain for all his efforts.



    A scene from "Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones" (1980)

    Jim Jones and Father Divine
    The relationship between Jim Jones and Father Divine was a complicated one. The leader of Peoples Temple visited the Peace Mission in Philadelphia a number of times between 1960 and 1971, sometimes as a student of Father Divine’s techniques, sometimes as a competitor for Divine’s followers, and at least once as a self-appointed heir apparent to Divine’s ministry, membership and assets. The two men met on several occasions before Father Divine’s death in 1965, and found themselves in agreement on issues related to integration and civil rights, even as they differed on others, such as the nature of Armageddon.

    Father Divine’s movement had numerous influences upon the practices and language within the Temple. Jones’ practice of taping his sermons, not just for immediate consumption but for future reference and use, can be traced to what he learned during his first visits to Philadelphia. His assumption of the title of Father – and of Marceline as Mother – mirrored those of the Peace Mission leaders. Jones’ admonitions to his own followers that sexual relationships distracted them from the loftier goals of the movement – especially during the final years in Jonestown – had their roots in Father Divine’s commands that members of the Peace Mission abstain from sex altogether.

    The booklet “Pastor Jones Meets Rev. M. J. Divine” reflects this complicated relationship. It both praises and criticizes Father Divine, although its descriptions of Divine’s followers are, without exception, positive. It speaks of the lessons Jones learned from the Peace Mission, even as it also details the moment when he realized he was “in a hot bed of error.” Published in 1959, and with an introduction by Associate Pastor Rev. Russell Winberg, this is one of Jones’ few extended writings.

    Jones’ last trip to the Peace Mission in June 1971 ended badly, when he made a direct play to take over leadership of Divine’s movement – even going so far, according to Raven, as to claim that he was “Father Divine in a new body” (p. 140) – and Mother Divine firmly rebuked him. The Temple contingent with Jones was forced out of Peace Mission lodging in the middle of the following night – there are conflicting rumors as to the direct cause of the final rupture – and they never were allowed back. Even as late as 1976, however, the Temple’s cross country bus trips always passed through Philadelphia, and Jones’ invitations for people to join his cause – such as this sermon from 1976 – included language directed at members of the Peace Mission.

    Jim Jones and Father Divine – Alternative Considerations of Jonestown & Peoples Temple
     
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  6. xoxodede

    xoxodede Superstar

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    [​IMG]

    Mother Leafy Anderson
    (1887–1927) was born in Wisconsin in the 19th century. She was a Spiritualist, and her mediumship included contact with the spirit of the Native American war chief Black Hawk, who had lived in Illinois and Wisconsin, Anderson's home state.

    Anderson was the founder of the Spiritual Church Movement in New Orleans, Louisiana in the 1920s, a loose confederation of churches largely based in the African American community. The church she founded in New Orleans featured traditional "Spirit Guides" in worship services, with a mixture of Protestant and Catholic Christian iconography is well as special services and hymns that honored the spirit of the Sauk leader Black Hawk.

    After Anderson's death, her successor, Mother Catherine Seals, then led the church, The Temple of the Innocent Blood, until her death, at which point it fractured,[1] giving rise to a multiplicity of Spiritualist denominations in New Orleans and elsewhere.

    These denominations, along with a number of similar but independent Spiritualist churches across America, are known today as the "Spiritual Church Movement."[2]

    -----------


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    Mother Catherine Seals, seen in the black cape, with members of The Temple of Innocent Blood in the outskirts of New Orleans, near Caffin Avenue. The second man from the left was identified as Ernie Cagnolatti by Al Rose on February 22, 1990.


    Mother Catherine Seals
    This Bethlehem in the Lower 9th Ward was the church and manger where Mother Catherine ministered to thousands of people, black and white, during the height of Jim Crow in the 1920s. She called her compound the Temple of the Innocent Blood. Learn more here: Mother Catherine Seals And The Temple Of The Innocent Blood

    Mother Catherine Seals was born Nanny Cowans in Kentucky in 1887, and she moved to New Orleans in her mid-teens, working as a laundress. After being denied treatment by a white faith healer because she was Black, Mother Catherine vowed to start her own fellowship—one that would not discriminate based on race. She soon moved her church to the undeveloped ground near Bayou Bienvenu in the Lower Ninth Ward, encouraging her converts to buy lots around her. There, she conducted an active healing practice, while her church became a safe haven for unwed mothers, abused women, and orphans— the “innocent blood” for which she named her Temple.

    First-hand accounts provide descriptions of the sprawling complex. Tall wooden fencing surrounded two main structures—the Church and the Manger, a pavilion for public gatherings. The compound had hundreds of oil lamps strewn across the grounds, large statues of Catholic saints, sculptures, and eclectic ornamentation. Like other spiritual churches of the era, the Temple of the Innocent Blood blended Catholic iconography, with elements of spiritualism and mediumship, Protestant revivalism, and African-derived religious practices. Her following was comprised of people from diverse communities that spanned racial, gender, and class lines. The Temple was a space that subverted oppressive social hierarchies and racial segregation.

    The Temple compound was investigated archaeologically in a UNO summer field school under the direction of Juana Ibañez and D. Ryan Gray. Recent residents of the block reported recovering statuary and small engraved marble slabs on the site. These stones, identified as ‘ex votos’ by historian Ina Fandrich, are used in Catholic shrines to express thanks for the intercession of saints. During excavations, archaeologists found stratigraphic layers associated with the compressed shell floor of the Temple compound, though architectural features definitively from the church or manger have so far been elusive. There is also a rich artifactual record of the early years of post-war development of the Lower Ninth Ward at the site, some of which may overlap with the latter days of the Temple.

    Mother Catherine’s time at the Temple was brief. Two weeks before her death, she is said to have received a message from God informing her that she would soon pass away, and she ventured back to her birthplace in Kentucky, where she died on August 9, 1930.
     
  7. Get These Nets

    Get These Nets Superstar

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    Thanks.
    Interesting history
    Was familiar with Father Divine, but thought that his church and denomination were unique without any affiliations.

    . The church I grew up in was an AA Pentecostal/Holiness church. We moved around a lot and attended multiple churches growing up but that was really our home church.
    I owned books about the Black church from a class I took(which are long gone or borrowed) and I'm gonna buy it again just because of this thread.
     
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  8. CharlieManson

    CharlieManson Superstar

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    There's also Spiritualist churches in Brazil...but they call it Spiritism...

    I ain't know about them in the USA...I thought it was just a Brazilian thing...
     
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  9. medase

    medase Pro

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    interesting read. Thanks!
     
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  10. xoxodede

    xoxodede Superstar

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    Nope. It was all over.

    A spiritualist church is a church affiliated with the informal spiritualist movement which began in the United States in the 1840s. Spiritualist churches are now found around the world, but are most common in English-speaking countries, while in Latin America, where a form of spiritualism called spiritism is more popular, meetings are held in spiritist centres, most of which are non-profit organizations rather than ecclesiastical bodies.

    African American Spiritualist church[edit]
    In 1922, during a time of rising Jim Crow laws and segregationism, the NSAC expelled its African American members. The Black Spiritualists then formed a national organization called the Colored Spiritualist Association of Churches (CSAC), which included churches in Chicago, Detroit, Philadelphia, New York City, and elsewhere.[4] The CSAC eventually fractured over leadership and doctrinal issues, and the historically African American Spiritualist churches, now loosely referred to as the spiritual church movement, currently includes a variety of denominations such as the African Cultural Nationalist Universal Hagar's Spiritual Church[5] and the Protestant-Christian-oriented Pentecostal Spiritual Assemblies of Christ - International[6] and Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ.[7] The Spiritual Churches of New Orleans are a diverse group of denominations that have schismed from the denomination founded by the Wisconsin-born Mother Leafy Anderson in the early twentieth century.[8] Their theology was grounded on a very original Black feminism, and particularly on the Gospel of John, 4 (the encounter of Jesus and the Samaritan woman).[9]

    Most spiritual church movement churches incorporate theological Spiritualism, including the utilization of traditional "Spirit Guides" in worship services, with a mixture of Protestant and Catholic iconography. The names of individual churches in these diverse denominations tend to indicate the denominational Christian orientation of their founders or their congregations. Some, such as Divine Israel Spiritual Church (in New Orleans), recall typical Black Baptist churches, others, like Divine Harmony Spiritual Church (in Miami), have names evocative of the early twentieth century New Thought movement, and some, such as Infant of Prague Spiritual Church (in New Orleans), feature Catholic names and include statuary of Catholic saints on their altars.[10] Unlike the NSAC Spiritualist churches, the denominations of the spiritual church movement generally do not maintain Spiritualist Camps or a Lyceum system of extra-liturgical education.
     
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  11. CharlieManson

    CharlieManson Superstar

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    I found this interview on Spiritual Churches...I'ma have to research this in USA

     
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  12. Cadillac

    Cadillac Superstar

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    Seems to be some fascinating stuff, will read this when I get the time
     
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  13. xoxodede

    xoxodede Superstar

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    I honestly think there are many similarities - between the two--well at least at the beginning of the movement.

    For instance, Bishop Charles Harrison Mason. The founder - you can see the items he used during his services. He also gave oils, prayer handkerchiefs, special items, etc to his members.

    Charles Harrison Mason Sr. (September 8, 1864 – November 17, 1961) was an American PentecostalHoliness pastor and minister. He was the founder and first Senior Bishop of the Church of God in Christ, based in Memphis, Tennessee. It developed into what is today the largest Pentecostal church denomination and one of the largest predominantly African-American Christian denominations in the United States.

    He definitely was what I would have classified as a spiritualist. Hoodoo and Rootwork is at the root of AA/Black Church.

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    Last edited: Dec 3, 2018
  14. xoxodede

    xoxodede Superstar

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    I personally think Holiness and Spiritualist/Spiritual Churches were the same -- I just think "Spiritual/Spiritualist" Churches were just more open about their services such as Prophecy, Mediumship and Healing Services. Below are some images from NO. Some are labeled "Holiness" Churches --- some "Spiritual" - but they were usually apart of the organization below.

    National Colored Spiritualist Association of Churches

    The NCSAC eventually divided into two camps. One group included the historical African American Spiritualist churches, such as the African Cultural Nationalist Universal Hagar’s Spiritual Church, Pentecostal Spiritual Assemblies of Christ and Metropolitan Spiritual Churches of Christ. The second group included the Spiritual Churches of New Orleans.



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    Bishop I. Butler, Beauty of Holiness Church of the Lord God in Creation


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    Reverend Mother Lydia Gilford, Infant Jesus of Prague Spiritual Church in 1969. (photo by Michael P. Smith)


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    Reverend Mother Lydia Gilford/Baptism, seen in mirror, Israelit S.C., Lydia Gilford presiding


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    Untitled, 1968-1983, gelatin silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, © The Historic New Orleans Collection, Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts, 1983.63.1275



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    Entering the "liquid grave"


    One of my fave pictures ever....

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    "St. Catherine", 1974, gelatin silver print, Smithsonian American Art Museum, © The Historic New Orleans Collection, Transfer from the National Endowment for the Arts, 1983.63.1263

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    Communion Service, Holy Family S.C., "praying over the body"
     
  15. Get These Nets

    Get These Nets Superstar

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    Thanks, didn't mean to derail the thread but a few of the things mentioned in the earlier posts sounded familiar to me.
     
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