Autobiography Part IV - Overview - RetirementI somehow became a pioneer interpreter of the so-called psychic revolution for Christians, and gained a reputation as an expert in the field of the paranormal.
In 1969 I originated the unique Spiritual Frontiers Journal and produced twenty-three issues dealing with the subjects of prayer, meditation, healing and life after death. I somehow became a pioneer interpreter of the so-called psychic revolution for Christians, and gained a reputation as an expert in the field of the paranormal. My special interest in the study of consciousness and other dimensions, including such subjects as parallel universes, is well accepted. This area of study resulted in my being asked to write a jacket cover comment for the 1996 book The Way of the Explorer, by Edgar Mitchell, sixth man to walk on the moon.
In 1972 I was the first priest to lead a conference at the Cathedral of Saint John the Divine in New York City on the theme of ESP and Religion. In April 1994 I was the main speaker on the subject of Exorcism.
As a clergy participant and a former grantee of the Parapsychology Foundation, I was invited with thirty others to South France in 1966. I took part in discussions on the subject Establishing a Theory for the Survival of Human Personality After Death. As a direct result of these activities, I was listed in the ten yearsí activity book of the Foundation. I still value my friendships with some of those early personalities, such as the esteemed prolific author Martin Ebon, who was Administrative Secretary and Editor for the Foundation for thirteen years. He has since produced some forty books, not only in that field, but in such diverse subjects as the cults, The Life and Legend of St. Nicholas, The History of the K.G.B., and a great many anthologies. He and others opened doors for me that have added fact to faith.
For five years I organized and programmed a national conference held in Chicago that drew upwards of two thousand attendees. I arranged for and selected the best speakers in the country and abroad to share views or research then considered both futuristic and controversial. Speakers included scientists, psychologists, and psychiatrists, along with such notables as Dr. J. B. Rhine, Senator Harold Hughes, Astronaut Edgar Mitchell and the famous organist, Virgil Fox. All shared their religious views and experiences.
I have written numerous articles, and the rectory was the site of eight publishing ventures. In 1973 I co-authored the biography Arthur Ford: The Man Who Talked With the Dead, published by New American Library. In 1975 I authored The Spiritual Frontier, published by Doubleday. In 1976 I collaborated on The Psychic Mafia, published by St. Martinís Press. In 1980 I authored Church in Frenzy, published by St. Martinís Press. In 1981 I authored The Case Against Suicide, published by St. Martinís Press. In 1987 I authored John Calvert: Magic and Adventures Around the World, published by Claitor Publishing Company. In November 1996 David Baldwin published my biography of The Great Raymond: King of Entertainers, Entertainer of Kings. In 1996 my biography Servais LeRoy: Monarch of Magic was published. In 2000, The Houdini Code Mystery: A Spirit Secret Solved was published. Also in that same year To Be or Not To Be: A Pastoral View of Suicide in Todayís World was released. In addition I also authored a series of small books for the magic fraternity including The Wand In Story and Symbol, ESP or Trickery?, The Problem of Mentalism Within the Art of Magic, Nivelli: Magician of the Holocaust, and Walter B. Gibson: Man of Letters and Literature.
As an amateur magician, Iíve belonged to the International Brotherhood of Magicians since 1949.As an amateur magician, Iíve belonged to the International Brotherhood of Magicians since 1949. I served as the Chaplain and also served as the Chaplain of the Society of American Magicians. I have received five writing awards from the I.B.M. In 1985 I was acknowledged for my authored words on the history of magic and many years of interest in stage magic. My magic shows have been performed for the community and as far away as Boston, where I closed the second half of the 49th Annual Boston Magicale in 1989. In 1988 I received the Christopher Foundation Award for notable contributions to the art of magic in keeping with his writing and performing tradition. In 1994 I was elected to the S.A.M. Hall of Fame.
Some of my past activities in my diocese include being secretary of the Music Commission, member of the Commission on Evangelism, Depute Provincial Synod, a member of the Cathedral Chapter, Trustee of Diocesan Foundation, member of the Board of Missions, and member of the Committee for the publication of the Diocesan Journal.
Through the years of my active ministry I have preached and lectured in over forty churches in the Diocese of New Jersey and have spoken for all the major religious denominations and groups across the country, with appearances on radio and television. My lecture titles for outside and within the parish number more than 78 titles. I have been the subject of numerous printed interviews in newspapers and magazines such as Horizon. Iíve also organized several youth programs in my diocese and once taught religion at adult night schools in the local area.
Travels comprise over fifteen countries throughout the years with ten visits to England. I have trained three seminarians employed by the parish through the years and three assistants who began their work in Woodbury as deacons. I also once instituted Lenten Schools of Religion in my parish, with courses taught by seven priests with combined attendance of four churches. Additional activities involved me in sponsoring organ recitals, lectures, a Christmas opera, plays and various cantatas and music programs.
In 1963 I instituted a Medallion Award at the State College in Glassboro for creative writing in the field of Parapsychology. The appeal of this award was at a time of great interest in psychic research. The award program brought forth over twenty two papers when few colleges were offering courses in Parapsychology.
My parochial activities during my years in Woodbury constituted a full and well-rounded approach to all aspects of parish life. The years provided me with an extensive ministry of personal counseling. I tried to maintain a balanced approach to worship in a traditional setting using the Book of Common Prayer as my standard. My motivation was to emphasize the classic language of Rite I in a devotional setting with an Altar-centered perspective.
It was in 1968 that I arranged and programmed a ten state speaking tour for the late Rev. Canon John D. Pearce-Higgins, then Vice Provost of Southwark Cathedral, London. My former parish has continued to contribute to as many outside projects and needs within sensible boundaries. These outside needs are ever present. Demands upon any church are always forthcoming.
During my ministry at Christ Church I baptized 490, presented for confirmation and reception 844, conducted 504 funerals, and solemnized the marriage of 236 couples. I conducted or participated in approximately 8,436 services. This does not include countless visits to homes, hospitals, nursing facilities, plus counseling sessions, sermons, meetings and presentations of varied kinds (and, of course, endless administrative demands). This also does not include the statistics of my three year ministry in Florence, N.J.
What remains for me in retirement is the good memory of 36 years of yesterdays focused into this moment of time. I have thoughts of the past, but never without hope for the future of Christ Church in the years ahead. In the midst of those past years are mystical reflective images of many faces who remain, and many who have entered Paradise. I have learned that the Church is really the people, and people make things happen because of faith, commitment, and the urgency to get things done. I am thankful to God for the power of Christ in the lives of those who love the Lord, and for the great privilege of serving.