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Oct 10, 2017 4:15 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

East Quogue Church Evicts Psychic From Annex After Two Decades

Jim Fargiano in his office in East Quogue.  DANA SHAW
Oct 10, 2017 4:15 PM

Without warning, a beam of white light penetrates his skull. He feels as if his mind is peeled open to the “other side” as his vision fills with vivid, dancing lights, and life-sized figures of Jesus, the Blessed Mother and Buddha peer over the foot of his bed.

Calmly, he channels their messages, emerging with words of wisdom and healing. And then he goes to sleep.

This is a daily routine in the life of Jim Fargiano, a psychic medium from East Quogue. He also has been holding meditation prayer sessions on most Thursday nights in the annex to the East Quogue United Methodist Church on Montauk Highway for the past 20 years.

But he and his band of 20 or 30 devoted followers were recently booted from the space by the Reverend Julia Yeon-Hee Yim, the Methodist superintendent for Suffolk County, due to either Mr. Fargiano’s alleged communing with evil spirits, or the group’s presence as a tax liability—depending on who is offering the explanation.

In an interview on Friday, Mr. Fargiano said he heard that Rev. Yim was concerned that his group was dealing in the occult and tampering with evil forces. But in a letter sent to Mr. Fargiano last month, Rev. Yim states that she needs the space back for church-related activities.

She also notes in the letter that the presence of his group could pose a potential tax liability to the East Quogue United Methodist Church. Mr. Fargiano does charge for his private medium sessions, but he says he asks those attending group mediation prayer sessions only to bring a can of food that is then donated to a pantry at a Hampton Bays church.

On Tuesday, Rev. Yim explained that Mr. Fargiano’s group does not conform to the mission of the house of worship, which is to make disciples of Jesus Christ to transform the world. She also acknowledged that she never has personally attended one of his free sessions, pointing to her responsibility of overseeing nearly 70 churches in her region. She added that it was “good to have more information” when informed that Mr. Fargiano does not charge his participants.

Patricia Chuppe, pastor of the East Quogue United Methodist Church, has also never attended a meeting, but echoed Rev. Lim's reasoning. “Having a self-proclaimed psychic is not compatible with the church,” Ms. Chuppe said on Monday.

Mr. Fargiano—who charges $175 per session for his private readings, which he notes vary in length depending upon the verbosity of the spirits involved—argues that little of what happens at the weekly sessions has anything to do with being a psychic. He explained that most of the discussion is focused on prayer and meditation, and that he keeps his private business separate.

“[Rev. Lim] reported the psychic activity, which is really a very small part of what we do here,” he said on Friday. “It’s frustrating to me that when Julia Yim heard the word ‘psychic,’ she panicked and told the pastor that I had to leave. She thought that psychics went against what the Bible said and cherry-picked some Bible passages.

“She’d have to throw Jesus out of the church, too,” he added. “He’s the greatest psychic of all time.”

In the course of a typical session, members write down names of ailing community members before launching into 20 minutes of prayerful meditation, according to Mr. Fargiano. Then they read down the list, sending out their collective prayer to help with each person’s healing.

To formally end a meeting, Mr. Fargiano said he “tunes in” to his “teachers,” or otherworldly guides, and channels the lesson of the week. Two spirits, an unnamed Egyptian and a Native American called One Feather, serve as his primary informants, he explained. After that, a long line usually forms of followers eager for an individual consultation with Mr. Fargiano.

For six years, Linda Dinkelman of Patchogue was one of those devotees of Mr. Fargiano. “He made you feel like you were special and individual, unlike the rest—but still one of the community,” she said on Monday.

Throughout her time attending the sessions, Ms. Dinkelman said that she became “open,” psychic shorthand for entering a state of greater intuition and ease in communing with spirits. She has now rearranged her life to focus on her newfound skill full-time, opening up Readings by Linda in Patchogue.

She said she owes much of her current enlightenment to Mr. Fargiano whom she considers one of the most important mentors on her spiritual journey. “I love that man—he’ll be part of my life forever,” Ms. Dinkelman said.

Both Ms. Dinkelman and Mr. Fargiano vehemently deny any implications that their work involves unsavory contact with malicious spirits. “It’s anything but dark,” she said. “I work only in the angelic realm … I’m a light worker.”

Mr. Fargiano said he depends on his celestial guides to protect him from their darker counterparts. “I’ve had a couple of times where lower-soul entities try to come through,” he said, “but I learned early on that if I just asked to be protected, it’s as simple as asking for Jesus to take them away, and a big gold arm comes down and sweeps them aside.”

At the same time, Mr. Fargiano said he understands Rev. Yim and other skeptics who see his life’s work as hokey at best and chicanery at worst. After all, he spent the first half of his life grounded securely in the mortal world. He’s lived in East Quogue since the age of 10, attending East Quogue Elementary School and Westhampton Beach High School before dabbling in some odd jobs and taking a swing at his own short-lived landscaping company.

He struck gold when he founded Royal Stationers, an office supply store on Montauk Highway in the hamlet.

“I was very happy having my business where I could interact with people on a friendly retail level and go about my day,” he said. “I was never looking for any notoriety.”

But the spirits had a different idea. Twenty-four years ago, Mr. Fargiano hit a rough patch. Everything in his life fell apart, and he felt adrift and helpless. A friend, whom he would identify only as John, gave him a book on meditation and relaxation, which Mr. Fargiano put into practice. Within days, Mr. Fargiano recalls getting “clobbered.”

“The more I was working with meditation practices, the more I was hearing voices and seeing things,” he said.

Little by little, spiritual people seeking community caught wind of Mr. Fargiano’s gift, and they soon began meeting regularly in a rented space along Montauk Highway. Shortly after, a former pastor of the East Quogue Methodist Church heard of the meetings and offered up the church annex, where the sessions have taken place alongside Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and Compassionate Friends bereavement groups, to Mr. Fargiano for a small fee that he declined to disclose.

Now, Mr. Fargiano is struggling to find a new space large enough for his sessions and cheap enough to afford for a group that doesn’t pay any dues other than a nonperishable contribution for the food pantry at St. Rosalie’s church in Hampton Bays.

“It’s always been very friendly and warm and loving,” he said of his meetings. “It’s never been anything but meant for everybody’s improvement and higher consciousness.”

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He didn't see this coming?
By Pacman (54), Southampton on Oct 11, 17 1:59 PM
Crackpots, Inc.
By johnj (665), Westhampton on Oct 11, 17 6:33 PM
i like his pricing gun in the background of the photos and all his little trinkets.
By ghost (27), hampton bays on Oct 11, 17 9:48 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By pw herman (655), southampton on Oct 12, 17 7:31 AM
Karma?
By G (294), Southampton on Oct 12, 17 8:45 AM
Jim's prayer group offers a place of love, acceptance, and peace. A place where someone can go to reflect, pray, and connect with God. Jim's prayer group offers solace to those who may feel rejected by the church or lost, spiritually. Often, Jim's prayer group is a door that opens for people to find themselves - leading them to church or at least a stronger connection and faith with God and the Holy Spirit - However, this prayer group is non-denominational. Frankly, it brings many people from all ...more
By eastendmom (11), Speonk on Oct 12, 17 9:03 AM
They say spirituality is like a stream flowing down the side of a mountain, bringing water and life to all that it touches. And they say that religion is like plumbing, bringing water to places it was never meant to go. God bless you, Jim.
By TW2011 (1), East Hampton on Oct 12, 17 4:47 PM