Hurley, George Willie (1884–1943)
George Willie Hurley, the founder of Universal Hagar’s
Spiritual Church, a prominent Spiritual denomination functioning
in the African American community, was born in rural
Georgia near the town of Reynolds on February 17, 1884. He
was raised as a Baptist and as a young man became a preacher,
though he soon switched his affiliation to Methodist. In 1919
he moved to Detroit and soon affiliated with the Triumph the
Church and Kingdom of God in Christ, a holiness church functioning
primarily within the African American community.
Hurley became the Prince of the State of Michigan.
His life was changed by a visit to a Spiritualist church. He
was converted and he soon resigned his position and became
a minister for an independent Spiritual congregation. Shortly
thereafter, in 1923, he had a vision of a brown-skinned damsel
who was transformed into an eagle. He interpreted the vision
as a prophecy concerning a church he was to found. Thus on
September 23, 1923, he founded Universal Hagar’s Spiritual
Church. He opened the church’s School of Mediumship and
Psychology the next year.
Along with his traditional Spiritualist ideals, Hurley taught
a form of black Judaism. He believed that blacks were God’s
original Hebrew people and that the mark of Cain (God’s
curse) was the pale skin of white people. Hurley also suggested
that he was the bearer of God’s spirit on earth for the emerging
Aquarian Age, just as Jesus was the spirit bearer for the Piscean
Age, and Moses and Adam had been for prior astrological ages.
He believed that the Aquarian Age had begun with the signing
of the armistice following World War I, that it would last 7,000
years, and that it would see the end of Protestantism, segregation,
and injustice.
Hurley died on June 23, 1943. He was succeeded by his wife,
who led the church until her death in 1960.
Sources
Baer, Hans A. The Black Spiritual Movement A Religious Response
to Racism. Knoxville University of Tennessee Press,
1984.

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