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TRIBUTE TO JACK AND DAPHNE THOMAS—ASHA FOUNDERS

Written by Jane Fleming

 

Based on an interview with Laura O’Connor
Organist for Calgary New Thought Center and currently of Calgary First Spiritualist Church
April 2, 2007

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Jack and Daphne Thomas

Jack and Daphne Thomas were a wonderful couple!
He was a gentle healer, always smiling and unruffled;
she was a gifted organizer with drive and dedication. Together they created the organization of ASHA with
a clear mandate in mind and dreams for the future.

 

Jack Thomas was born in England but spent his career with the British Army in India. He would regale people with story after story about this period of his life. He married a fellow Englishwoman there and raised several children. When India gained independence from Britain, he stayed on for awhile to help train the Indian police force. However, he was widowed while there and retired to England with the children. It was then that he became involved with a group of Spiritualists and trained as a Spiritual Healer.

 

Daphne Thomas was born in Lethbridge, Alberta. She became a teacher, but then took a degree in divinity and became a United Church minister. She served in a very small church in northern Alberta (or Saskatchewan) before coming to Calgary. She took a position teaching at Mount Royal College which had been a United Church College in origin before coming under the jurisdiction of the Alberta government in the 1960’s (now Mount Royal University). Daphne was a distant cousin of Jack’s and they had been friends all their life. When he ventured to Canada in the 1980’s, they married and explored their interest in healing together. While Jack had adult children living in the UK, Daphne had no children.

 

Jack and Daphne looked for a good venue for their fledgling healing association or society that would offer and train Spiritual Healing as developed by the NFSH in the UK. Jim Ockley, minister for the Calgary New Thought Center in the Killarney district of Calgary, welcomed them with open arms. It was a very welcoming place! Jim and Sheila Ockley were thrilled with the Thomas’s and had an excellent collaboration with them to provide a home for ASHA. This church believed in Spiritual Healing and it fit in well with the New Thought philosophy. The center was only used on Tuesday and Thursday, so it could be open for other things. Jim offered a very reasonable rent of $25 per month for Monday evening. Word spread. People came to train or receive healing on a regular basis. Jack was the healer. Daphne was the organizer. She organized the books, made the tea, did the phoning, everything else that needed doing. She was precise and brilliant. She could be irritating, stubborn and determined. But only with people who did not share her point of view. Jack always remained sweet, and was a marvelous healer and teacher in this discipline.

 

Jack and Daphne wanted to get others not only to take the course, but to learn to teach the course and rise to their full potential. Daphne selected certain people to take a specific position such as treasurer or instructor, and then simply made them do it! She had that ability to make people do things that they wouldn’t have otherwise considered. Although she had done everything herself in the beginning, her idea was to turn it over to others and empower them.

 

Both the Thomas’ had physical ailments although there never were any complaints. Jack had a limp for years and years. As the condition got worse, he stopped giving healing treatments and just watched or supervised. But at the grand age of 86 years he had a hip replacement. This was two years before Daphne’s crisis. He recovered rapidly and began to stride around with ease. He started to give healings again. The lines on his face smoothed and he looked 20 years younger.

 

Daphne, on the other hand, always had a foot that bothered her and she was suddenly diagnosed with bone cancer. She died six months later. First she was hospitalized for operations and had pins put in the bone. Then she had a terrible asthma attack. No one knew that she had suffered from asthma. While in the ambulance on the way to the hospital she died of heart failure. Everyone who knew and loved her was glad that she went quickly rather than continuing to endure the misery of bone cancer. Soon after, Jack’s granddaughter came from England to sell their lovely duplex in Edgemont. It happened so quickly, few people even said goodbye or knew his whereabouts. He went to live with this granddaughter in England. He apparently had great grandchildren there and we can only surmise that he ended his earth journey with the comfort of family around. Daphne was still in her 70’s at her death in November, 1999, so it seemed very tragic. However, the good work of the organization continued.

 

Jack and Daphne embodied the spirit of service to others. They charged very little to take the Spiritual Healing course so everyone could take it. They gave free healings and accepted donations only based upon what you could afford. They never set a definite fee. They did not want to put up barriers, but rather to involve people. They had the faculty to draw people into the organization. They attended the New Thought services faithfully on Sunday and administered to the healing organization which drew an entirely different crowd on Monday. There were always approximately 30 people in attendance for healing. The many healers that they trained often started their own private practices but always continued to give healing on a regular volunteer basis for ASHA. They were faithful to the organization.

 

The Thomas’s had a dream of ASHA as a registered organization and affiliate with NFSH, UK. This was established by 1993. They also wanted to be an umbrella organization for all of Western Canada. They embarked upon looking for key Associate Members in every large or small city in the west from Winnipeg to Vancouver. They had a vision to accept healer-members if they were trained in the UK or Eastern Canada with other spiritual healing organizations, or trained in the west by ASHA.

 

After the Thomas’ formation of ASHA and its establishment, the organization made a move to the current venue. Jim Ockley had passed away and the New Thought Center made the decision to become Christian Unity. That organization decided to drop ASHA and the Course in Miracles, both of which relocated in the Calgary First Spiritualist Church, which Jack and Daphne had attended at one time. CFSC has been in continuous operation since its inception in 1920. While being a separate organization, we appreciate that the church upholds the ideals of ASHA and requests that its healers complete our certification process.

 

We can only hope that the current membership of ASHA can continue to honor the Thomas’s dream.

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