Third U.S. Spiritist Symposium, a blessed and enlightened success
Very well organized and spiritually delightful, the Third United States Spiritist Symposium, that took place at Faneuil Hall in Boston, MA, on April 11, 2009 was one of the biggest Spiritist's event entirely promoted and executed in the English language. The Symposium, that has as its main goal to promote and disseminate the English speaking spiritist movement, showed on its 3rd edition (1st in 2007 in Baltimore, MD, and the 2nd in New York, NY in 2008) that the movement in US has grown and Spiritist centers and its members all over the country got stronger and more united and integrated since its first edition.
This year, bringing to discussion the theme Reincarnation: Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, the meeting, from the opening ceremony through the closing performance, was a successful gathering of enlightening, harmony and teaching, spreading love and healing among guests, workers and audience. More than 300 Brazilians, Americans and Latin Americans from several US states attended to the event. Another element that helped on the success of the event and a reason for being even more grateful was the increased number of Spiritist centers nationwide that came together to sponsor the Symposium. Twenty seven centers showed their generosity and believe that together we can unite and spread God's teaching through the Spiritist message throughout the American nation.
The masters of ceremony, Marconi Almeida and Fernanda Ferreira conducted all activities, guiding everything beautifully with perfect timing. They started welcoming everybody to the 3rd US Symposium, then announced Stephen Honton, from Allan Kardec Spiritist Society of MA, who opened the activities with a short prayer. Following, Mr. Michael Bradshaw, manager of the Faneuil Hall Marketplace, briefly introduced us to the history of the location chosen, not coincidently, to house this Symposium. The special guest, Dr. Cesar Perri de Carvalho, one of the directors of the Brazilian Spiritist Federation and the General Secretary of International Spiritist Council, officially opened the works talking about the mission of Spiritism in the world and highlighting the importance of the Symposium to unify, promote, and disseminate the Spiritism in the English language.
At 11:30am, the MC's announced Mrs. Carol Bowman. The only non-Spiritist speaker attending to the event, Mrs. Bowman, an internationally known author - hers books Children's Past Life and Return from Heaven have been published and read around the world in 16 foreign language editions - Counselor, past life regression therapist, and an expert in reincarnation studies addressed a keynote on Self-evident truths of reincarnation exhibiting fascinating and touching real examples of people who experienced cases of reincarnation on their families, including the author's own experience with her son. The audience was amazed by the stories. But the insightful lesson we learned from Mrs. Bowman's lecture is that Learning about reincarnation can help us to understand ourselves better, to progress in our lives, in our relationships, and in our careers; heal our mind and spirit, and it also may lead us to the process of spiritual evolution; and that "what we do in this life really does matter", as the author stated.
Mrs. Carol Bowman speech gave us much to think and talk about on our first break for lunch. We returned more enthusiastic than ever to the first session of the meeting: Our unalienable rights to reincarnate, starting with Dr. Nahur Fonseca's briefing on the Revisiting the History of Reincarnation. Succinct and precise, Dr. Fonseca showed how the power and political interests of the orthodox religions have played a role on the disruption of reincarnation belief, transforming it in a myth and a reason of shame.
At this point, it was clear that the speakers did not measure efforts, research and creativity for this occasion. Using the Declaration of Independence as a metaphor, Daniel Assis, member of Blossom Spirit Society, CA, gave an inspired speech on The Divine Justice on Reincarnation. "I am so happy to be here. I see in this gathering an opportunity for us spiritists to exchange ideas, collaborate, and integrate one with each other", affirmed an enthusiastic Assis.
Inspired on academic meetings, the poster sessions, already a tradition on the symposia, are a key element of communication between the exhibitors and the public. It is a one-on-one chance for clarifying doubts, answers questions and present more information about the Doctrine and its principles. This year, it was organized in two sessions. The first session, entitled, the Spiritist foundation was presented by Stephen Honton and Judith Peterschmidtt (AKSS of MA, MA), Ovande Furtado (PESG, PA), Junara Araujo, Angela Flores and Fernando Flores (HSC, CT), Brian Vosberg (LLSC, NJ), Adriano Barbo (MVSC, NY), Joao Lopes (AKSS of Lowell, MA), Fabiana Moura and Carolina Strosnider (SSB, MD), Ricardo Mastroleo (AKSEC, TX).
While the second part, the Spiritist therapy, was presented by Maria Batchelor (GETUH, MA), Gilberto Neves and Flavio Zanetti (AKSS of MA, MA), Leonardo Vieira (SSB, MD), Elmo Deslandes (SGNY, NY), Marcelo Netto (CLSG, FL), Andre Cabral (PLSC, NJ), Livia Sasson (CSSC, FL), Addison Cornwel and Dulce Story (LISDSG, NY), Mackenzie Melo (AKSS of Peabody, MA).
After the first poster session, around 2:30pm, it started the second part of the presentations: The magnificent planning of our many lives. Dr. Sonia Doi, a member of the Allan Kardec Spiritist Society of Baltimore, MD, presented the first speech for this session, Innovative Planning in the Spirit Realm, which explained how the preparation for the spirit to reincarnate is. Emphasizing the fact that, we all have a plan before we reincarnate, therefore, we should not blame God for what is not satisfied in our lives. She completed: "the difficulties here are all planned, so we can reach our goals in this life, and the Spirit can progress as it is a natural low". According to Dr. Doi, the way Spiritists will attract more Americans to the movement is speaking directly to them about how can the study, analyze and practice of the principles of the Spiritist Doctrine, along with faith in God can help one understanding and healing his physical and psychological diseases.
From Joao Korngold's lecture, Reincarnating: Uniting Soul and Body, we heard the extraordinary unite process of spirit, perispirit and material body, from the moment of conception to the formation of the fetus, and birth. "It is amazing to conceive how God has everything just right and realize that every one of us is meant to be exactly as we are."
The last topic of this session was Key Elements for a Successful Reincarnation: Family Ties. No one could represent this issue better than a family. And we did have a lovely couple, Jussara and Joao Korngold, member of the Spiritist Group of NY, NY. Through their talk, we comprehend that sometimes is not possible to choose in which family we are going to reincarnate, how to accept and deal with the family that we were tied with, and how to build a strong family basis, then we can be prepared for the common crisis all families may have.
A lot of thoughts, now we feel more fascinated than ever for the Spiritist principles… But we do need a short break, so we can refresh our minds, exchange some thoughts with our colleagues, and come back for more knowledge.
The attendee, Robert Kirk, a retired school teacher from Woodstock, CT, demonstrated a special satisfaction for the opportunity of participating in this symposium. A Carol Bowman's fan, he learned about the event on her webpage. It was the first time he heard about the Spiritist doctrine, but Kirk, who also studies and lectures on reincarnation principles, was pretty happy with what he has experienced so far.
Another non-Spiritist attendee was Erik Freeman, from New Hampshire. Freeman was introduced to Spiritism by a Brazilian Friend a while ago, in Baltimore, MD, where he used to live and attended the first symposium. Since then, always when he has a chance, he participates on events like this. "What I like most on Spiritists is that they are open to new ideas, their open mind and capacity to accept new technologies, changes in every way", said Freeman.
There also were a very interested group of Spiritualists that were attending a Spiritist event for their first time. Lorie J. Mathis and Patti Bertcci, two nurses from Acton, MA, specialized on Spiritualist healing, heard about the Symposium through a Brazilian friend and came curious to find out if their doctrine interconnects with the Spiritism. They were very thrilled with what they have been witnessed, and said they were looking forward to attend more Spiritist events and even go to a Spiritist center. Sirry Berndsen and Sondra Adelman, both from Plymouth, MA, decided to attended the Spiritist Symposium after seeing an advertise on the Metro Newspaper. "It's the first time I ever have been to a Spiritist meeting. I knew that was some similarity with Spiritualism; and so far it has corresponded to my expectations. We spiritualists believe in reincarnation, but we don't discussion it like the Spiritists do. I like it very much." Sirry Said.
We came back to the third session of the event, it is past 3pm now, and it is time for the testimonies: Discovering new pathways with Spiritism. It was an emotional moment, when we all felt deeply connected through minds and hearts with other fellows who discovered on spiritism a way of life. Charles Pietrewick (AKSS of MA, MA) and Soraida Arana (SGNY, NY) shared their stories of how they found hope and felt embraced in an atmosphere of love, faith, illumination, happiness and purpose.
For the last part of speeches it was well reserved the topic Freeing the soul, evolving the spiritual body. Julio Carvalho, from Divine Light Spiritist Center, NJ, opened the session using a compelling example on his professional routine to explain Our Free Will and Forgetfulness of the Past. A member of the Spiritist Society of Palm Beach, FL, Mauricio Cisneiros brought a light of optimism on how Overcoming Past Conditionings: Will Power and the Fluids.
Concluding the lecture sessions, Dr. Vanessa Anseloni, PhD, founder director of the Spiritist Society of Baltimore, once again, used her smoothing approach to bring us more precious instructions on how to use the Spiritism teaching and tools to boost our health and well being. With the topic Purifying the Perispirit: Disease and Health, she gave important advice on how we may avoid certain diseases if we can be able to detect it on the perispirit, before it affects the physical body. An enlightening share, since we all should know that one of the essential path to the pursuit of happiness it is a healthy and well-cared mind and body.
On the final part of the program, session five, we had a half-hour Q&A session, when some of the speakers answered selected questions from the audience. Then we enjoyed the play "Starting Over: Love Never Fails", performed by a Spiritist theater group formed by members of IESS, SGNY, SGLL and MVSC. A story of love and forgiveness, written and directed by Eduardo Guimaraes (IESS), and interpreted by Isabella Fernandes, Joao Bosco, Abilio Andries, Eduardo Guimaraes, Regina Tannure, Angela Stewart and Jussara Korngold. "We consider arts as being very powerful means of reaching people's mind and heart", affirms the group.
Acknowledging another inspiring arts contribution to the event, we cheer the band (Jose Pienasola's Group). Responsible for the Symposium soundtrack, their music not just pleased our ears, but also harmonically orchestrated the gap between the exchanges of guests on the stage, and signed with a tune when it was time to go to and come back from the breaks. Members of the Band: Sonia Azul(voice); Gustavo Assis Brazil(Guitar); Daniel Nocera (Keyboards) and Jose Pienasola (Double bass)
Coordinated by Hugo Melo (IESS), Alba Morales (SSB) and Bernadete Leal (SSSD), the youth activities happened simultaneously at the second floor of the Hall. Teens who came with their parents had the chance to learn and to practice their spirituality through funny plays. It is gratifying to see adult Spiritists doing this precious effort to couching young conscious. It is literally Hope in a better future, seeing boys like Andreas Calderon and Nicolas Neves so joyful describing a yarn web activity they've just done. Among them also were Gabriel, Sammuel, Sebastian, Thalia and Karla.
It was a weekend of acquaintance. An occasion to get together with our Spiritist friends, meet some new ones, discuss ideas, exchange experiences and congregate on an atmosphere of love, knowledge and blessing. Afterwards, while we were processing all teaching we had learned for the day, some of the workers got together in a local restaurant for pastime and dinner, celebrating the accomplishment.
The motto "Liberty and union now and forever", written under the painting panel inside of the Fanueil Hall, sounds perfect to postulate what we have experienced on this important moment of the Spiritist movement in North America.
Written by Maria Ines Negromonte