Since 1931 a special group of committed volunteers has met together regularly in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Gladys Davis, Mr. Cayce’s secretary and transcriber of all the readings, provided information about this new group at the Second Annual A. R. E. Congress in Virginia Beach on June 18, 1933.
She described the purposes of the group. One was “to help individuals, physically and mentally, by attempting through meditation to awaken the Divine within each.” Another purpose was “to try, through meditation - and also through our thoughts, words, and acts day by day – to break down those barriers which have been builded between the material and spiritual, and project into those vacant places the love, peace, and understanding that may cause perfect harmony.”
Reading281-65 includes the following question and answer. “Is there any further advice or counsel for the group?” The answer was “As has been indicated, let the group, as a group and as individuals, strive to be better channels of blessings to others.”
Besides the original Glad Helpers group, there are some current regional prayer and healing groups. The Memphis group is the latest one to form. There is the opportunity in today’s challenging times for us as individuals and groups to commit special time and energy to be better channels of blessings. We can do this through prayer and meditation as well as “through our thoughts, words, and acts, day by day.”
I felt an urge, penned, and mailed a thank-you note to Virginia Beach Glad Helpers Elaine Joyce Singer today, 2-28-11, for starting my journey. This resulted in creating a Glad Helpers group in Memphis. We have been praying a month and I can tell we are living a growth experience that few people have known because there are only about a dozen Glad Helpers groups in existence according to the ARE. When I arrived home two hours later, I found a thank-you note in the mail thanking me for starting the group and asking me to relate my experience of how it happened.
Elaine Joyce Singer wrote an article in the April/May/June 2010 issue of Venture Inward. She said combining Glad Helpers work with SFG (Search for God) study group greatly enhanced her spiritual growth. She realized, after 20 years of Glad Helpers work, that SFG provides the rules for living and Glad Helpers’ Meditation Part I teaches how to live the rules. She speculated that SFG groups all over the world were limiting their growth by not adding Glad Helpers work to their practice. She noted that Edgar Cayce had a dream shortly after forming the original SFG group that his work was incomplete. He was told to take seven members and start a prayer healing group that later became known as the Glad Helpers. Those members who maintained the practice of both original groups grew greatly.
I had not been in SFG for more than 6 months, but I felt that if Cayce thought it was important, that I should do it. I copied the article and distributed it to my study group members. We each ordered copies of Meditation Part I along with extra copies for new members. We thought about how to incorporate it into our group.
A few months later, I learned a group of Memphians was going to the 2010 Congress in Virginia Beach. I wanted to see the ARE Headquarters and the Glad Helpers. A girlfriend and I went. As it turns out, that was the only event we attended. The experience was moving. I felt in the air how powerful the Virginia Beach Glad Helpers were. I was convinced the Memphians there experiencing it would shortly start a Glad Helpers group which I could join.
Upon returning to Memphis, I related my experience to my SFG group. My group added an extra Glad Helpers type prayer at the end of our meditation. Everyone in my SFG group felt positively affected by it.
On a whim I joined the new speaker’s team in Memphis to get over my fear of public speaking. I was scheduled to give a speech on dreams. Virginia Murphy, who was in my SFG group and Captain of our speaker’s team, told me I should change my speech topic to spiritual healing so I could speak about my Glad Helpers experience. She expressed her opinion to Lora privately. Lora Little, who was in charge of the spiritual healing speeches, told me that she had as many people as she needed on the topic, but felt she needed to honor my urge to speak about my experience. She said she would fit it in.
What was to be a 20-minute speech to 10 people morphed into a 40-minute speech in the main lecture hall. I spent the summer researching the Glad Helpers and prayer healing. I became more and more convinced as I studied, drafted and redrafted my speech that we should start a Glad Helpers group in Memphis. I waited for someone to start the group.
I gave my speech in October/November. I was surprised at how positively the audience responded even though it was difficult for some to hear me. For several months thereafter, I would get requests from ARE and non-ARE people for whom my speech, which I had written in essay form, could answer their questions. I would re-read the speech, cut-and-paste the relevant portions and send it. Each time I read the speech, I thought, “We really should start a Glad Helpers group in Memphis. Why hasn’t someone started this?” Eventually, I realized I had to start it, even though I am a follower more than a leader.
I e-mailed Lora Little before Christmas asking if we could ask our members who might be interested in forming a Glad Helpers group. One of the points I used in favor of the idea was that my study group already had the books. Unbeknownst to me, Lora had also bought books hoping that, if you buy it, it will come.
I told my SFG study group how I really wanted to start a Glad Helpers group. I explained that I didn’t think we would read Meditation Part I any other way. One of our long-time ARE members, Emily Fox-Hill looked at me and said, “That’s incredible.” I realized she had watched me agitate about the Glad Helpers from SFG study group, through speaker’s team, into a possibility.
It was my original hope that we would have 3 members including myself. My plan was that if one of us was sick, the other two could carry on the work. Seventeen people expressed interest and eleven have attended each meeting. We have plenty of books!
From our first meeting, I could tell something special was happening. I am considering asking the other members to journal or write their observations during our first year. I think there will be a lot to be learned in recording the personal growth and experiences of each member.
As I said in my thank-you note today to Elaine Joyce Singer, the Virginia Beach Glad Helpers who started my journey, “Thank you for being a channel of blessings to others in Memphis.” I think it’s the beginning of something beautiful!
By Jamey Kaplan
Introduction by Martha Loveland