Healing Temple to celebrate 59th birthday

LILY DALE – The Healing Temple on Lily Dale’s East Street is observing its 59th birthday Saturday with a fundraiser celebration. The landmark is far from the oldest at the Lily Dale Assembly where many buildings are of 19th Century vintage. But few structures in this spiritualist community are more revered.

“Activities throughout the day on Saturday hopefully will support needed building improvements,” said Barbara Sanson, chairperson of the Healing Temple program. Noting events will take place at the temple and at the nearby fire hall, Sanson applauded the “cooperation and involvement of our Lily Dale Volunteer Fire Co. This celebration would not be possible,” she said, “without our firemen’s help and without the many healers – all volunteers – who have given countless hours of service to Lily Dale visitors and residents.”

Construction of the Healing Temple was inspired by a greatly respected healer, the late John “Jack” Kelly, who once appeared regularly at the Lily Dale Auditorium. Inspired by Kelly, Louis T. Vosburgh, former Lily Dale president and owner of a bookstore on the grounds, financed construction of the Healing Temple for Kelly’s use. Later Vosburgh turned the building over to the Assembly. The healing temple was dedicated on July 3, 1955, and among those taking part in ceremonies was the famous actress Mae West, who often visited Lily Dale for readings and healings by Kelly.

Saturday events at the Healing Temple will include: 10-11:30 a.m. morning service, featuring pianist, Lucinda Wilson; 2-5 p.m., Healing Temple quiet time and meditation, with flute and guitar selections by Karen and Jonathan Moody; 6:30-8 p.m., healing service, tribute to healers who have served the temple, past and present, also an address by Lily Dale President Donn Smeragliuolo. In addition, professional vocalist and healer Christy Taylor will appear.

The fire hall will be open from 1-5 p.m., and from 6:30-9:30 p.m., with special activities scheduled 8-9:30 p.m. At the fire hall, entertainment will be staged by the Lily Dale Ukulele Strummers, and Eve’ n’ Stephen, contemporary duo. In addition, visitors will find raffles , gift baskets of tools, kitchenware and beach items, silent bids on such treasures as a 1936 crystal ball in the original box, “Maurine” and other poems by author Ella Wheeler, dating back to 1888, a Lily Dale post card collection, “Evidence of Immortality,” by Don Halsey, 1932, and a print by a Chautauqua County artist. In addition there will be 50/50 raffle drawings and book sale.

Topping off events, “Mother Time,” a surprise master of ceremonies, will list raffle and auction winners. Sanson also urges visitors to check out the new “Book of Healing Prayers,” compiled by a number of temple healers. The publication can be found at the Lily Dale Book Store, with all proceeds going to the Healing Temple.

Free admission to both fire hall and temple events. Lily Dale gate fee applies. Sanson points out the temple can accommodate those using portable assistance or guide animals.