International Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship
An organization founded in 1956 by a group of Christian
clergy and laypersons to explore an interest in paranormal
phenomena—especially the evidence for life after death—and
to explore the life of prayer, meditation, mysticism, and spiritual
healing. Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship (SFF) had its origin
in a network of Christian leaders who had been influenced by
International Society for the Investigation of . . . Encyclopedia of Occultism & Parapsychology • 5th Ed.
the work of Spiritualist medium Arthur A. Ford, with whom
many had private sittings. They had come to share Ford’s opinion
that much of the spiritual dryness so evident in many mainstream
Christian churches could be attributed to a lack of direct
experience of the spiritual world. In 1953 British church leaders
had founded the Churches Fellowship for Spiritual and Psychical
Studies, and SFF modeled itself on the British organization.
SFF issued a statement of ‘‘principles, purposes, and programs’’
that called for emphases on mystical prayer, spiritual
healing, and the search for evidence of personal survival of
death. While trying to revive the spiritual life of the churches,
the group has been open to parapsychological perspectives and
has supported a research committee. In 1972 it sponsored the
development of an affiliated academic organization, the Academy
of Religion and Psychical Research, which grew out of a recommendation
of the organization’s field director, J. Gordon
Through the years the organization has undergone several
changes. In the early 1970s the original interest in mediumship
and survival gave way to a primary interest in meditation and
spiritual healing. During this time SFF experienced a period
of rapid growth. The organization experienced a major overturn
in leadership in 1974–75 and a period of organizational
chaos. When it stabilized in the early 1980s, it was considerably
weakened. It has also taken a new direction, identifying largely
with the emerging New Age movement. The organization has
largely cut its ties with conventional Christian churches.
In 1987 the headquarters of SFF were moved to 33210 Baring
St., Philadelphia, PA 19104. It has recently added ‘‘International’’
to its name. It publishes a monthly newsletter and the
Spiritual Frontiers journal.
Higgins, Paul Lambourne, ed. Frontiers of the Spirit. Minneapolis
T. S. Denison, 1976.
Rauscher, William V. The Spiritual Frontier. Garden City,
N.Y. Doubleday, 1975.
Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship. Christianity and the Paranormal.
Independence, Mo. The Author, 1986.
Wagner, Melinda Boiler. Metaphysics in Midwestern America.
Columbus Ohio State University Press, 1983.

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