Hello everyone. David Sunfellow here. Most of you know me as the guy behind NewHeavenNewEarth (NHNE).
Over the past few years, I've created a variety of websites, social networks, YouTube videos, and other resources that explore near-death experiences (and other spiritually transformative experiences). I've also brought NDE speakers to Sedona, Arizona (where I live), taught NDE classes, and, most recently, published a book about NDEs.
Until now, most of my focus has been on identifying the core truths championed by near-death experiences and distilling those truths into information that can be used to improve our lives and help heal the planet.
While I've crossed paths with many of you, both online and off, and also created networks where we could get to know one another and explore issues together, what's been lacking are local communities where people could build day-to-day, long-term, supportive relationships. I can't tell you how many times people have asked me "is there an NHNE group in my part of the world that I can go to?"
This has also been a huge problem for people who have had NDEs (and other spiritually transformative experiences). Where is their community? Where are their people? Where can they go to ask questions, share their stories, and add their voice to the choir?
Thankfully, the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) holds conferences once a year and supports study groups in the United States and other parts of the world. For many, these conferences and study groups have been lifelines.
There are also other groups who offer yearly conferences and a growing number of places online where people can connect with others who share similar interests.
Conferences, study groups, and online networks are exceptionally helpful. We need them, now more than ever. But I think the time has come to go further. I think the time has come to start NDE-friendly churches. Maybe lots of them.
Why a church? Why not more study groups? Or local chapters or centers? Or ANYTHING that doesn't carry the baggage of a church?
Because a church, in the truest sense of the word, is a special container for Heaven to touch down on Earth.
In a healthy church, the spiritual realities of life are alive. Its members pray and meditate together. They dream dreams. They see visions and hear voices. They pay attention to signs and synchronistic events. They expect angels to visit them, talk to them, heal them, help them. They sing together, laugh together, learn together. They marry one another, have babies, raise children, send loved ones off to the next world when their time has come to leave this one. They know, love and support one another, deeply. They are also actively involved in the larger community where they live. They look after their neighbors like they look after each other, including those who may not understand or appreciate them.
Most of us don't have anything like this where we live. We may have thousands of friends online and around the world, but we don't have a family of spiritually oriented people to physically share our lives with.
While some of today's churches are supportive of NDEs, many ignore, dismiss, and attack these experiences, along with the people who have them. This, in spite of the fact that direct encounters with the Divine change lives forever; they break chains, heal the sick, and sometimes raise people from the dead -- literally.
In a similar vein, most of today's churches are built on the spiritual stories of distant times and places. Most do not regard modern encounters as living pillars of their movement, nor are modern day encounters held in the same esteem as ancient ones.
This needs to change -- and not just because it's important to make room for new revelations. It also needs to change because near-death experiences can breathe new life into the original visions and teachings that most religions are based on. Indeed, if today's religions used near-death experiences to understand their own traditions better, a lot of today's religious bickering would come to an end.
New Age and metaphysical movements, which are often at odds with one another and mainstream religions, could also learn from the grounding, surprisingly consistent core truths championed by near-death experiences from around the world.
Bottom line: there is a pressing need for spiritual communities that are built on modern encounters with The Divine to carve new grooves in the world. Not just online, but in the cities and towns where we live.
So that's what I'm setting out to do. Build a new church based on modern revelations that encourage direct, personal encounters with The Divine. I want to do this for experiencers who haven't been able to find a spiritual home in this world. For people who are adrift in this world because they don't have a connection with or belief in the spiritual forces of life. And for existing religious, spiritual, and metaphysical movements that need help going deeper and seeing that we are all brothers and sisters in the great journey of life.
My plan is to start small in my home town. Sedona. Start a church here. Experiment. See what works and what doesn't. Then share what we learn with others who might like to start sister churches in their part of the world. If they want to use our name and guidelines, great. If not, I'll do what I can to help others start their own NDE-friendly churches, independent of what we are doing in Sedona.
The church I'm starting is called The Church of The Light.
While I'm not sure how everything is going to unfold, this church will follow a different path than most conventional churches. For one thing, we're going to be a grassroots movement that believes God is as alive today as He/She/It was thousands of years ago. Ditto when it comes to angels, the power of prayer, and miracles. We're going to be as decentralized as possible and do everything we can to empower everyone to follow his or her unique path and inner callings. We're going to use contemporary NDE accounts as a foundational part of our movement. And we're going to laugh, have fun together, and not take ourselves too darn seriously!
If this vision excites you, you can help by spreading the word, visiting our new website, joining our mailing list, and contributing financially. If you are REALLY excited and want to come to Sedona to talk about this, great. Contact me. I'll work with as many people as I can to make this vision a reality. Working together, we may actually be able to create something that feels like Home (Heaven) on planet Earth!