This church practices the traditional form of spiritualism which includes mediumship and energy healing.
The Spiritualist Church of Salmon Arm, by (the late) Rev. Norm Russell
On August 16th, 1996 my wife Rosemarie arrived to settle in Salmon Arm. Rose had made several trips from Surrey to Kamloops to visit our daughter, and on a couple of these trips, they had taken a picnicking day trip to Salmon Arm. Her description of the area to me was somewhat like a description of Shangri-La. When I later joined her on one of these trips I had to agree.
I had just completed a five-year training course for the ministry in the I.S.A. in New Westminster, and I think the thought of a Spiritualist Church here was pretty high on my to-do list.
Rose and I visited Peter and Lorraine Sawchuk in Vernon, they had migrated here from Delta a couple of years previous. Lorraine had also taken the ministers’ training course in New Westminster. Needless to say, it was not long until the subject of a church came up, and we were all agreed. Peter started the paperwork with the Society people. On Feb. 12th, if my memory serves me well, we were chartered as the Cosmic Awareness Society.
Peter, Lorraine, Rose and I were the Board along with their son Craig and his wife, Christie. It was decided to have services in Salmon Arm on the first and third Sunday and the second and fourth Sunday in Vernon.
It was also decided that any monies from the collection that accumulated after paying rent for wherever we held services would go to charities in the town they were collected in.
There was no worry about that part for quite a while to come. On August 3rd, 1997 we held our first service in Salmon Arm with six people besides ourselves in attendance. The two groups were quite similar in attendance and gradually grew to the low twenties over the first few months.
We had a Candlelight Service in both places the first Christmas which attracted a few more people.
Sadly on March 17th, 1998 Peter suffered a massive aneurysm and passed into Spirit Realms. Lorraine said she would try to keep the Vernon group going, with the help of her church members.
After a year or more it proved too much for her and we were not able to help much as I had become involved in Hospice and other ventures. Lorraine had, met and married Lloyd Hunt and for the sake of his health, they had moved to Alberta.
With the closure of the Vernon church, we started having services every Sunday in Salmon Arm.
With the congregation growing and I getting on into my Eighties, the curse that always haunted Spiritualist churches loomed. Someone to take over. A couple of ladies tried but found it to be too much. Then Heather Howard and Gloria Makey agreed to give the address alternating with me. I still had the messages on my plate. Also, I was warned by both of them “Don’t mention the word minister.”
Lorraine and Lloyd had returned to our area, Lorraine had barely got started again when she was given the sad news that she had cancer. She was booked to do a memorial service, and I had a wedding at coinciding times. Lorraine had an emergency during the night and was taken to the hospital, I called Colleen Rempel and asked if she felt she could take the service for the little girl who had died accidentally. I went with her to the funeral home and did a walkthrough, and the die was cast. There was no hesitation when I asked her if she would like to follow that path further.
In the meantime, sadly Heather’s family had run into the terrible illness of her sister, and she decided to move to the coast. Gloria was due to go on holidays, Lorraine was no longer able to take services. Colleen was taking services, one problem, she was also our pianist. I had gone to Gloria before she went on holidays and said, “I have to ask you a question,” she told me to ask it when they got back, which I did, and she gave the right answer, “Yes I will.” So after a period of study both Colleen and Gloria were ordained. Ann Meakes who served for a long period of time has been studying and serving is now up for ordination in the spring and has taken her place in the many areas of service.
So here I am ninety, still hanging around the edges but very happy knowing that others have stepped forward and the church will go on.
This is only a thumbnail sketch of these eighteen years. There have been times of great jubilation. Times of despair. Times of extreme sadness. One of those times is now, as the gal who helped hold it all together, Rosemarie has been struck by dementia and cannot savor all those great moments with me.
Rev. Norm Russell naming ceremony.
Rev. Norm Russell surprise birthday
The Spiritualist Church of Salmon Arm
Services Sunday 11:00 am Drop in Center31 Hudson Ave
Rev. Gloria Makey, Rev. Colleen Rempel, Rev. Ann Meakes and Rev. Colleen Hoople
Who are we?
The Spiritualist Church of Salmon Arm is dedicated to the study of our Spirituality and how it affects our lives. We find that it embraces philosophy, science, and religion. It covers a very wide field and therefore we cannot expect to understand it fully without a certain amount of study. The primary objective of these studies is to prove the survival of human personality after death. From the day of birth, we each have two bodies, the material one which can be seen and the spiritual one which is unseen during life but is a counterpart of our physical body. These two bodies are linked by a cord, much as a baby is joined to his or her mother before birth. When the baby is born the cord must be cut, much as in a similar fashion when we die the cord is severed. That material body returns to the earth and the spiritual body becomes the vehicle of our soul or spirit. We are Spirit here and now, we don’t have to wait for death to become Spirit. Death, as a rule, seems like sleep, there is no pain when we awake, conditions seem much as they did before we died. We take with us into the beyond, no material possessions such as clothes or money, they are no longer needed. But we do take our character and our individuality. In every way, we are the same people as before we died, same faults, same virtues. The home that awaits us in the spirit world depends on the life we lived on earth. If we have honestly done our best then we need have no fear of death. We have fitted ourselves for the result which is automatically a better, happier life where we are reunited with our loved ones and friends. If on the other hand there had been a more selfishness than goodness and service in our lives, we will automatically have to pay the price. This is part of the law of sowing and reaping, which is another way of saying that effect must follow cause. The six principle says this very clearly. Acts of service that we performed will naturally increase our spiritual status. Acts of omission or commission will just as surely retard it. There is, however, no hell to which we are condemned for eternity. Once self-realization sets dawn and the soul is ready to advance, there are enlightened spiritual beings who will show the way to progress. The practical application of this way of life is the supreme necessity for all of us to lead the best kind of life we can on earth, to practice qualities of compassion and kindness and to give service whenever we can. Heaven and hell are really states of mind, rather than geographical locations. Even here we can live in heaven or hell, the choice is ours. The world we inhabit after death is not far away up in the sky. It is around and about us interpenetrating the world in which we live. Those we have loved and lost are not in some far off spot seated on pink clouds at the right hand of God and playing golden harps. Very often they are close by our side, striving to help and guide us. The evidence reveals that love, like life, is stronger than death. It is love that proves to be the compelling force, striving to break down barriers, which man in his ignorance has created, between this world and what is called the next, in order to achieve Spirit communication. Often there is grief on both sides of the veil. There are many tears shed over loved ones who have died, and the grief they experience when they try and reach us but fail to make their presence known. There are many spheres of existence that are lost to us because they function in a different manner. Millions of vibrations of sound are lost to us because they are outside of our range of hearing, millions of vibrations are not seen, because they are beyond the scope of our eyes. Microphones and radio receivers enable us to hear what is normally beyond the range of our ears, the microscope and television will bring what is beyond our vision. The inhabitants of the spirit world are very real though we may not see or hear them. There are however sensitive individuals who have developed their natural psychic ability with the results that they can tune into the spirit world and its residents. These people are called mediums. They become agents through whom spirit communication is achieved. There is nothing supernatural about this happening though it is supernormal. Everything in the universe is in accordance with the natural laws. All things are in accordance with the Universal Force (God). The God force is not a little old man with a long white beard, and to picture God as a human is to place limitations on what is achieved. Though spiritualist does not look to Jesus as their savior, they do regard him as an exemplary, man has no Savior but himself, and as it is believed that Jesus was Divine, we also believe that the divine spark is within all of us. We also believe that Jesus had developed his mediumistic abilities and was in contact with the spirit world around him. His teachings of love and brotherhood should be a pathway for all of us to follow. We do not claim to know everything, no one does, we shall always be learning, what we do maintain is we have been given a glimmer of hope. It inspires us to reach for more. In the meantime, we strive to follow the seven principles that guide Spiritualists everywhere, and they are,
1. The presence of a Universal force.
2. The acceptance of the equality of all people
3. Communication with Spirit and the Ministrations of Angels
4. The continual existence of all souls
5. Personal responsibility
6. Redress for all deeds done on Earth
7. Eternal progress open to all souls.