FROM IDEA TO REALITY: THE EVOLUTION OF PETONE SPIRITUALIST CHURCH
BUILDING A CHURCH The following story come curtesy of the April 1979 Newsletter.
Remembering the humble beginnings of the Petone Spiritualist church is important. ‘Remembering the past will help you learn in the present and grow in the future.’
It was a fortunate day for the Petone Church Committee when the premises next to 86 Richmond St came on the market, at a price of $18.000. the committee felt it would be our advantage as we already occupy no 86. Inspection of the premises were carried out and after much consideration concerning the problems presented by the extreme dilapidation of the interior, it was decided to attempt to purchase the building. Our position regarding finance at that time was $7,000 with the owner extending a loan for the balance over three years at 10% interest. Mr. Reynolds after consulting with the committee drew up two lounges, a kitchen and two toilets. These plans were required by the Petone Borough Council and were passed with no objections from residents. The committee employed a local carpenter to begin work. As one half of the house was to become the Church, all the walls on that side of the interior were pulled down. The roof had, therefore to be reinforced with new roofing, plus piles, electrical work and plumbing. This cost $7.950. Floor sanding and finishing was $200 with legal fees of $363. Altogether the total cost being over $26.500 without interest cost! Heavy blue curtains were supplied by the Ladies Guild, Drapes were supplied by Mr. and Mrs. Fry, and carpet for the church was supplied by members of the Church. The painting and interior were decorated under the supervision of Mr. K Kent who also supplied the paint. Seating was kindly supplied by Mr. L Spence and a stereo system was given by Mr. P Swaby. According to Council regulations, the Church had to provide a car park. The husband of one of the members said that if our members dug out the rear section to a certain depth. He would then fill the area suitably – he being in the quarry business! When offered payment, he replied that simply working on the project was just like getting a free pass to heaven!
Looking back to the time when we first considered the purchase and then surveying what has been achieved, one is overwhelmed by the transformation and all this is due to the fantastic teamwork of our members who gave assistance according to their abilities in every way. I have spoken to members of the Church who were here during this time and have fond memories of Committee members selling everything from clothes, pickles and jam, jam and more jam to raise money for the much-needed work to be carried out and making the Church what it is today. Beatrice Swaby.
I have included this story for two reasons, 1) it important to remember the history of the church so we can pass this information on for generations to come and 2) to remind people that when we work together for greater good, great things can be achieved.
The Seven Principles form the basis of Spiritualism, and help Spiritualists to navigate and combine their spiritual and human journeys. They were given to us through the mediumship of Emma Hardinge Britten, and are adopted by those who choose Spiritualism
The Fatherhood of God
By a study of nature, that is, by trying to understand the laws of cause and effect, which govern all that is happening around us, we recognise that there is a creative force in the universe. This force, or energy, not only created the whole universe but life itself in its many forms and is continuing to create today, creating, not from nothing, but of itself, and the effects of this eternal creation can be seen around us today, even in the farthest reaches of outer space, as has been shown in its astounding grandeur by the remarkable photographs taken through the medium of the Hubble telescope. This leads us to acknowledge that God, the Creative Force, manifests directly or indirectly in all things. We know this power as God and, as we are a part of the life created by God, we acknowledge God as our Father.
The Brotherhood of Man
Because we all come from the same universal Life source we are, in effect, one large family. This means that all mankind is part of a brotherhood. A brotherhood is a community for mutual support and comfort; we are all members of the same divine family. We have to understand the needs of other individuals in order to assist them as part of our service to each other. As we learn to give, so must we also learn to receive, thereby achieving the necessary balance for our lives.
The Communion of Spirits and the Ministry of Angels
Many Spiritualists consider this as the key Principle. All religions believe in life after death but only Spiritualism shows it is true by demonstrating that communication with departed spirits can, and does, take place. Spiritualist churches and centres provide many of the venues where communication, through mediumship, is possible and many loved relatives and friends take advantage of this opportunity to continue to show an interest in our welfare and us. There are spirit people who are dedicated to the welfare and service of mankind, like Silver Birch, channelled through the mediumship of Maurice Barbanell, who brought inspiration and teachings, whilst others work in the healing ministry.
The Continuous Existence of the Human Soul
Matter and energy cannot be created or destroyed. This is an old scientific axiom which research continues to confirm. If we accept this, and there is no reason why we should not, we need to know what happens when the present form of energy reaches the end of its viability. The answer is, simply, that it changes its manifestation. Spirit is energy and is therefore indestructible. On the death of the physical body the spirit continues as an integral part of a world which interpenetrates our world in different dimensions: this other world is referred to as the spirit world. In spirit life we have a spirit body that is a replica of our earthly body but it is a much finer form. We are the same individuals in every way, with the same personalities and characteristics, and we change only by progression, or otherwise, as a result of our own efforts.
This Principle is the one which places responsibility for wrongful thoughts and deeds where it belongs, with the individual. It is the acceptance of responsibility for every aspect of our lives, and the use to which we put our lives depends entirely upon ourselves. It is not possible for any other person or outside influence to interfere with our spiritual development, unless we are willing to allow this. As we are given freedom of choice (freewill), so also are we given the ability to recognise what is right and wrong for our own spirituality. We are personally responsible for all our words, deeds and thoughts.
Compensation and Retribution Hereafter for all the Good and Evil Deeds done on Earth
As with all other Principles, natural laws apply; this one echoes the Law of Cause and Effect ('what goes around, comes around' ). One cannot be cruel and vindictive towards others and expect love and popularity in return. It should be understood that the compensatory or retributive effects of this law operate now, on earth: they do not wait until we begin to live our lives in the spirit world. With this understanding we can try to put right wrongs that we know we have done before we pass from this life.
Eternal Progress Open to every Human Soul
In most humans there exists the desire for progress and to every human soul belongs the power to advance in wisdom and love. All who desire to tread the path that leads to spiritual wisdom and understanding are able to do so. The rate of progress is directly proportional to the desire for mental and spiritual understanding. It is the realisation that our soul is a part of eternity and the road to progress is open any time we choose to walk it that can help us come to terms with the challenges of this world.