CrowCalls, Inc. is an established 501(c) 3, Not-For-Profit, Public Charity. It is a place of Worship and a Center for Understanding and Inspiration. Their mission is “to help inspire and support people in searching for their own spiritual understanding through the promotion of health and wellness in the sanctuary of Nature”. The Place of Worship is a spiritual inspiration of the Revs. William and Martha Benedict, ordained Spiritualist Ministers, The Fellowships of the Spirit, in Lily Dale, NY. The Sanctuary includes:
The Chickadees Circle Labyrinth, The Windwalker Medicine Wheel, Forest Bathing Trails, The da Vinci Man in the Star meditation area, Secluded and individualized outdoor meditation areas and Drum Circles.
Celebrate With Your Soul is a for-profit business offering Spiritual Counseling, Readings and Prophecy, Energy Healings, and MARI (Mandala Assessment Research Instruments) Readings, Breath-Body-Mind practices, Ceremonies, Blessings, Family Events, Forest Bathing Classes and other sensory classes.
They are located at 48 Benedict Blvd., Elmira, NY 14903. They may be reached at (607) 425-8432 or by email at Blvdben48@yahoo.com. Their websites are www.CelebrateWithYourSoul.com (underconstruction) and www.CrowCalls-ChickadeesCircle.com. They are also on Facebook.
“Find peace, quiet and time for contemplation to come close to the God Source within your heart and in unison with Nature. God’s gifts to one and all”.
How long have you been in business?
We have been in business since 2013. We built the ChickadeesCircle Labyrinth in 2011 and really got going in 2012. We were ordained as Spiritual ministers in 2013 at The Fellowships of The Spirit ‘s School of Divinity, in Cassadaga, NY. Reverend Elaine Thomas created The Fellowships of The Spirit Church and Divinity School 30 years ago. The Fellowships of The Spirit first originated in Lily Dale, (a Spiritualist community created in 1848) and then moved to their current location, just outside Lily Dale’s gates.
What has been the evolution of you as a business owner?
Reverend William Benedict:
I was the director of the Elmira Psychiatric Center for 10 years. I was in various administrative positions before that. I was there for 31 years.
I graduated from Thomas A. Edison High School. As a Heights guy and an athlete I looked up one day and said “Where am I going? The answer was, “I don’t know”. I knew I didn’t want to be a diplomat so I went to Union College Schenectady, NY and took courses for 3 years. Still not knowing what I wanted to do I came home and then left for Vermont with my cousins. I stayed in Vermont for about a year but realized it was just too difficult to make any kind of a living. In the meantime, I had met Martha.
I made a decision to study business. Elmira College was planning to develop a business program and I began coursework that resulted in a degree. I also married Martha and we built our home. When the house was completed I was hired by the Elmira Psychiatric Center as Personnel Officer. Opportunities came along in the business office and I advanced. I completed my Master’s Degree in order to become Director. I have been active in the community with the Chamber of Commerce, The Park Church and The Ernie Davis Community Center. I retired from the Psychiatric Center in 2008.
I became an ordained spiritual minister as a result of the loss of our son in a car accident.
Reverend Martha Benedict:
I grew up on Lowville, NY (near Watertown) and in the 70’s there were only 3 professions you could go into as a woman – nurse, secretary or teacher. As I’ve have always loved working with kids, I decided to become a teacher. When I graduated from High School, Elmira College was one of 2 private colleges who offered a Masters in Education. I chose Elmira as it was located within a community and appealed to what I was looking for in an education.
I met William while attending Elmira College. I finished my degree in Elementary Education and Reading, we married and for seven years, Bill and I owned the Wooly Bear, a wool yarn shop and cross-country ski shop, across from Pierce’s Restaurant in Elmira Heights.
During that same time, I taught at 5th grade at Cohen Elementary School as a long-term substitute. Knowing that I would rather assist children in making decisions then telling them what to do, I entered the role as an at risk counselor for Bath Hope for Youth. My role was to assist families in keeping their children at home instead of entering foster placement. After three years, I chose to find employment closer to home and became employed by Elmira Glove House, as an At-Risk-Counselor in the Elmira City School District.
Longing to further my degree and in keeping with the counseling, I enrolled at Alfred University and earned my Masters degree in School Counseling. I was hired by the Elmira City School District as a school counselor. As my profession progressed, I found the at-risk children were in need of more guidance.
My Principal, Mr. Joe Madero, recommended that I earn a Masters degree in Administration. I applied to Cortland, earned my administrative degree and was hired as an Assistant Principal for ECSD. I retired in 2011 after 9 years as an administrator.
In 1997, our daughter, Maggie, was a freshman in college in Buffalo when our son, Seth, passed in a car accident. In search for answers in any form of healing from such a heavy loss, Maggie found Lily Dale. In 1998 we began traveling to Lily Dale, a Spiritual community to receive readings and answers.
When I retired in 2011, I decided that I wanted and needed more answers. I wanted to heal myself. The Fellowship of The Spirit offered 2 weekends where you could see if becoming a Spiritual Minister was something that you wanted to do. Bill came with me as an emotional support to start, but the growth was phenomenal.
In the first week of Divinity School, Sig Lonegren (Sacred Spaces) taught us how to create and build al labyrinth. We came home and began to develop the property by dowsed our property for earth energy and found the center of the labyrinth.
Are there misconceptions about you or your business?
Bill noted….Unless you are involved in one of the more traditional religions, people think you are a quack. That didn’t bother me a bit. I met 3-4 different people who had near death experiences. After meeting them, I had no fear of dying. I have had a number of de ja vu experiences and have heard spirit talk to me. Before my son died, I had a repetitive dream about a crash. I thought it was about me. It turned out to be about him. But I have always known Spirit is with you.
The misconception is when people do not see things the way you do.
Everybody has their own path to walk. We are interested in building a place of worship to assist people in getting where they need to be on their terms. It is more of a place of worship than a church. We have meditation circles but we really want it to be a center where people will bring their own groups up to get out in nature.
We met Dr. Richard Brown and his wife, Dr. Patricia Gerbarg, at The Fellowships of The Spirit. They taught us how reduce our levels of stress through their breathing practices entitled Breath-Body-Mind. We followed the Drs. to Kripalu, in Lenox, MA. and became certified Level III Instructors. During a brain storming session, the Drs. inquired if anyone would be interested in starting a Community pilot program for research purposes. We volunteered.
We returned home, discussed the possibilities with Mr. Brian Hart, Chemung County Commissioner of Mental Hygiene. Mr. Hart was very supported, so as a team, we started the Chemung County Positive Breath Pilot.
Our first Breath-Body-Mind conference was held at RIT in Rochester, NY. The second year we moved the conference to Geneva, NY and half of the participants came from Chemung County so we brought the BBM conference to Chemung County. We now are in our 6th year of offering conference with participants traveling in from all over the country.
When people come here, do they get what they are expecting or do they find something else?
They get more than they anticipate, as there is a special magic in the earth energy here on West Hill.
Last year, Robert Egby, noted author and professional dowser, dowsed the property. Robert found one of the largest geo-spiral, a circle of positive earth energy, on the property. A geo-spiral is created as ground water flows to the surface and forces its way through the layers of the earth creating a spiral of positive healing energy. Geo-spirals are in several different sizes. The smallest has 7 rings. The largest is 49 rings. The spirals increase in size by sets of 7 (7, 14, 21, as high as 49). We have a 49 ringed geo-spiral on the property.
We say, “Don’t take our word for it, take a walk through the labyrinth. First set your intention for an answer to a question you have, walk the labyrinth and see what you come out with”.
Reverend William: 6 years of helping kids and adults has been a real experience for me. I am grateful for that.
Bringing Breath-Body-Mind to the Southern Tier has been an achievement. It gives people a great resource to do their own healing, just by changing the rhythm of their breath.
Have there been any stumbling blocks?
Being able to clearly express who we are and what we are offering.
We were given a challenge to receive a building permit to build a structure in the place of worship. However, when you work through all your challenges and succeed, that is when you get rewarded. It is part of your life contract.
If you could have a do-over, what would that be?
Reverend Martha: Naming the not-for-profit different than the original business. I had to re-create my website in order for people to realize the property is a place of worship.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Still here, welcoming people to come and find their own healing
Continuing to work with Dr. Brown and Dr. Gerbarg and teaching Breath-Body-Mind practices.