POMPTON LAKES, N.J. — People wait two years to get a private reading with Rev. Janet Nohavec , an internationally known psychic medium and pastor of The Journey Within, a Spiritualist church in Pompton Lakes.
Church members flock from New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut to attend her services – two on Sunday mornings, one on Wednesday nights.
The congregation started 20 years ago with 10 people.
Today, 200 show up for services.
“We’re seeing a lot of people leaving traditional religion and seeking an alternative,” Nohavec said.
Journey Within, a Spiritualists’ National Union Church at the end of a cul-de-sac on a suburban residential street, is open to everybody, she added. It has very little dogma and creed.
A single woman, Nohavec, 59, has devoted her life to Spiritualism and is known for developing an evidential mediumship method that she teaches others.
When she gives a reading, she produces facts and details – evidence – about a spirit’s former lifetime that offer incontrovertible proof she has contacted a particular soul.
Most faiths tell people to just believe there is an afterlife, Nohavec said. Spiritualism attempts to prove it.
What moves those who come for readings, she said, is the realization they can heal unfinished business with the dead.
“Contact with spirits of loved ones means a tremendous amount to people,” Nohavec said. “It’s a phone call from heaven. It could be an apology. It could be a thank you.”
Behind Nohavec’s desk in her church office on Carr Street hangs a massive painting of St. Teresa, a clue to her own spiritual journey. Like her church members, she, too, left traditional religion.
Nohavec grew up Catholic in nearby Franklin Lakes in a family with Czech/Polish roots that has some psychic ability. Since girlhood, she has heard spirits’ voices.
“When I was about 25, I literally heard a voice in the corner of the room one night,” she recalled. “It said, ‘You’re going to be a Catholic nun.”
So she entered the convent of the Sisters of Charity in Convent Station and stayed five years.
“I was encouraged to talk to God, the saints, the angels,” she said. “When I said I was talking to Grandma, they said that was a bad thing. It made no sense. Why could we talk to everyone but not Grandma?”
Nohavec left the convent before taking her final vows.
Soon after, she met a medium who introduced her to Spiritualism.
Her church teaches people to be their own philosophers in life, Nohavec explained.
“Unfortunately, most people focus on the material world,” she said.
But if their spirituality is not ignited in some way, she added, they will have trouble navigating the material world.
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