That Church on Pawnee

Our church in 1927, when it was called the Sunflower New Thought Spiritualist Association Church.

If you’ve ever been down Pawnee Ave, off E 185th, you’ve passed our small white church, sitting there at E 193rd. And probably wondered about who we were. Who are we, really?

Well, I’d like to tell you a bit about us . . .

A bit of history to start off with. We’ve been in this Collinwood neighborhood for more than 80 years, with our ties to our neighborhood going back to the Collinwood School Fire of 1908. Records show that on February 12 1927, the Baldwin family, whose daughter Laura died in the Collinwood School Fire, donated the property where our church stands, for a Spiritualist church to be founded as a lasting memorial to Laura and all the victims of the Collinwood School Fire. 

We opened as the Sunflower New Thought Spiritualist Association Church in the brick building that still stands today. In 1973, we changed our name to Memorial Spiritual Church, to honor our ties to the Collinwood School Fire, and a few years later, we became Memorial Spiritual Christian Church, when our late Pastor, Reverend Karen Hill, became head of Memorial.

So, that’s why we’re here. The big question, of course then, is What is Spiritualism? What is it we believe and follow at Memorial Spiritual Christian Church? What is it we do?

There’s alot of “buzz” out there these days about things ghostly and “paranormal”; I’ve lost track of the number of shows that are all over the airwaves, showing both “ghost chasers” and mediums. All very exciting of course -- and pretty much exaggerated as well. Spirits that always turn up as full-bodied apparitions, eerie noises and lights (why do they always “investigate” at night?!), and spooky situations are all very good television, but not necessarily how this really works.

So what exactly is Spiritualism? Very basically, “As Spiritualists we believe that, although the body dies, the spirit of the person lives on and is active in helping us with love and guidance from a higher, invisible level of life.” Death, therefore, does not end our connection to each other, and we believe it is possible to not only communicate between those here and those who have crossed over, but to use that communication to help people.

That’s the basics. It’s pretty simple, really. The idea of this sort of communication is not new by any means, many religions and cultures have accepted the idea of this possible communication between “here and there” for centuries; Spiritualism as we understand it here in America came together in the 1920’s, and the tradition continues at churches like ours and centers like Lily Dale NY.
    So what do we DO? If you would come to either our Sunday Worship service or an All Message service, you may be surprised at how this really works. Our church is a peaceful place, and when you come, we’ll welcome you warmly; though our approach to Spiritualism is Christian, we are non-denominational, and welcome everyone. As our All Message service begins, we say a prayer thanking God for our spiritual gifts, then our members who are workers that can connect with Spirit will take turns going in front of the church, and asking Spirit for messages for those there. If a worker has a message for you (and not every worker gets a message for everyone there) they will ask you “if Spirit can come to you”. If you’re willing, then the worker will relay what they have from Spirit.
    What’s fascinating is who the message can come from – it’s not always a relative or loved one, and can be simply from someone who has an insight they feel they need to share with you. Messages can deal with almost anything, and can be humorous as well as serious. (Personalities don’t seem to change after you cross over; a great sense of humor, for instance, always goes with someone, as does opinions!) You can also ask questions if you’d like, about a specific topic, and we will try to find an answer. We also have healers at our services, to help you; it’s all about using your “Spiritual Gifts”, as Spiritualism teaches – to use your gifts, whatever they are, to help each other.
    What does NOT happen here at Memorial Spiritual Christian Church is histrionics, speaking in weird voices, thundering preaching and yelling, tapping noises, floating candles etc etc. This may all be good television, but it’s not reality, at least not here at Memorial. Our work is done quietly and calmly, out in the open with no such “fireworks” – we want to help make that connection to Spirit, not put on a circus! Rather, we keep it low key, letting Spirit do the talking, simply acting as the conduit for Spirit and helping make that connection. We do indeed have our “resident” spirits, but they have quieter ways to let us know they’re around, and certainly aren’t shy about doing so. (They’re also not afraid of the dark! Why television insists on this is a good question, since you can connect with Spirit any time and anywhere. Without funny green lights.)
    So there it is. We’d very much like to have you join us and “see what Spiritualism is really about”. Come to our next All Message Service on December 15th at 7:00 pm (we hold these every 1st and 3rd Wednesdays) or to our regular Sunday Service at 5:00 pm.
In fact, our traditional Candlelight Christmas Service will be Sunday December 19th at 5:00 pm, this year with Santa dropping by earlier that afternoon. Says he wants to check in one last time with the kids before the big day, so he’ll be stopping by around 4:00 pm.
Do join us in our historic church, filled with Christmas songs, warmed by candlelight, for a truly traditional Christmas celebration. And afterwards, join us for our Potluck Christmas Dinner. (Feel free to bring a dish, but we’d just as soon have your company!)
You’re all welcome to share this very special day with us at Memorial Spiritual Christian Church – come yourself, bring a friend, enjoy our service and stay for dinner. Join us for as much of the day as you can; we’ll be delighted to see you.
    Do check out our website at: for details, and for more information on Memorial Spiritual Christian Church. Next year, we’re planning a Psychic Fair in February (watch for details!) and hope to plan a talk on Spiritualism for the community. Meanwhile our book, If You Plant Roses, You Don't Get Carnations: An Introduction to Spiritualism by our own Cynthia Christman, is a great way to be introduced to Spiritualism, and is available both on Amazon and from us.
    So come on by! We’re an open-minded, friendly, and down to earth group, people just like you. Come on by, check us out, and “See What Spiritualism is Really About!”
    Look forward to meeting you soon!

Elva Brodnick
President / Memorial Spiritual Christian Church Advisory Board

Memorial Spiritual Christian Church
19204 Pawnee Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio 44119

Pastor: Reverend John Hill / Co-Pastor: Reverend Tammy Hill

Call: (440) 477-3014  (Reverend Tammy Hill)

Read More on Faith News
Volume 2, Issue 12, Posted 1:42 PM, 12.11.2010