Calgary First Spiritualist Church

Identity area

Type of entity

Corporate body

Authorized form of name

Calgary First Spiritualist Church

Parallel form(s) of name

  • CFSC
  • First Spiritualist Church of Calgary and Lyceum

Standardized form(s) of name according to other rules

Other form(s) of name

Identifiers for corporate bodies

Description area

Dates of existence

1920-

History

The Calgary First Spiritualist Church (CFSC), formally incorporated on 18 November 1920, began life during WWI with the invitation in a local paper in 1915 from Mrs. Ada Garrad (ca. 1881-1962), a medium, to meet with those interested in psychic work. Various informal groups formed, as well as the First Spiritualist Progressive Lyceum, which was established on 10 July 1915. The Lyceum was the Spiritualist equivalent of Sunday School, but based on the teachings of Andrew Jackson Davis; it was well attended in its early years. In 1920, the Lyceum joined the Western Star group in forming the Calgary First Spiritualist Church under the direction of Mrs. Garrad as medium and lecturer and her husband Gerald Harry Garrad (1879-1963) as board president. The new church purchased a building on the corner of 7th Avenue and 3rd Street Southeast, which had been an old Moravian church. The church received its charter from the Government of Alberta; the founding members included Robert and Alice E. Rushton, Edward and Nellie Leighton Potts, William Charles and Annie Biles, and William and Anne Eshelby. In the church’s early years, a professional medium from the United States, Mrs. Z. Duval, was in Calgary and trained many of the mediums who continued to work at the local level for many years. Other notable leaders in the early church were Rev. Matilda Louise Parkyn, Rev. Harry Collett, Rev. Eleanor Collett, Rev. Jack Ross, Helen Davis, Annie Slater, Tom and Tomena Merrifield, and Myra Harshman. In 1929, the Spiritualists’ National Union of Canada (now the Spiritualist Church of Canada) recognized CFSC’s affiliation, with Rev. Martha S. McGuire as a signatory.
In the 1950s, the Lyceum, which had been dormant for some years, was re-established, but officially closed in 1961. The teaching aspect of the CFSC, however, has remained, as it offers a number of courses for adults and children involving Spiritualism, mediumship, and other topics. In 1972, the Church was required to vacate its building due to urban renewal plans by the City of Calgary, and moved to its present location at 1601-1603 6th Avenue North; this second church building was dedicated in 1974. Throughout, the CFSC has offered regular healing, message, and meditation services, as well as workshops and séance circles, and has a large library of books and other publications relating to Spiritualism. Many of the children who attended the Lyceum later became mediums and ministers, including two daughters of the Harshman family who currently (2015) serve the Church, Rev. Ella Groves and Rev. Jane Fleming.

Places

Calgary, Alberta

Legal status

Functions, occupations and activities

Mandates/sources of authority

Province of Alberta charter

Internal structures/genealogy

General context

Relationships area

Access points area

Subject access points

Place access points

Occupations

Control area

Authority record identifier

cfsc

Institution identifier

UMASC

Rules and/or conventions used

Rules for Archival Description (RAD)

Status

Final

Level of detail

Full

Dates of creation, revision and deletion

Created by Samantha Booth, December 2015
Revised by Samantha Booth, January 2016

Language(s)

  • English

Script(s)

Sources

Maintenance notes

  • Clipboard

  • Export

  • EAC

Related subjects

Related places