“The San Francisco Chapter officially started in 1954 with 18 charter members of the Fellowship. Each was issued a framed certificate signed by Rev. James Knorr and myself…Attendance at the San Francisco meeting was up and down… It was a great group, but the leadership was being dispersed. We could be likened to a four cylinder engine that was chugging away on a cylinder and a half.”What a Fellowship, p. 36
“We faced some difficult problems: 1) President Knorr had gone East and President Widenham had gone South…2) Helen Easterly [Secretary] was preparing to leave the area…3) Tom Dethlefsen, because of his health, could not continue as treasurer…4) Helen resigned as Editor…
“Solutions…1)…I permitted my name to be submitted for President. 2)…so I took the responsibility of serving as Secretary. 3)…so the Treasurer’s job fell on my shoulders. 4)…so I was unanimously elected as Editor. It was getting to be a one man show…but the only alternative was to drop the whole project. I couldn’t see the Lord bringing certain people together as He had only to have it fall apart. We applied the Biblical principle HANGETH YE IN THERE! So, we hung.”What a Fellowship, p. 37
“in spite of our San Francisco group barely perking along, the interest on a national scale was growing each month. As a result of this interest, we were asked to start a Chapter in the San Jose area. So, on January 18, 1955 Chapter 2 of the Fellowship of Christian Magicians was formed in San Jose, California.”What a Fellowship, p. 3
“It was just about this time  when we started issuing Membership Cards. At first, we had two types of membership: 1) Regular Members and 2) Associate Members. Regular members …lived close…could be active in the meetings…Associate members lived outside theSan Francisco area, even outside the state. They were Christian magicians who accepted our Statement of Faith and wanted to receive our publication.”What a Fellowship, p. 37
Membership records were initially kept in notebooks, then ledgers. In the 1970’s they moved to index cards where they stayed until computers were used. Many records have been lost or misplaced over the years as the Mail Center changed locations. Member cards were not initially numbered, so that came after the organization moved national.
By 1956, thoughts were moving toward being a national organization.
“…We would like to have our group, and the publication take on more of a nationwide scope in this field of Christian magic. There is no reason why our publication should not be the information sheet for Christian Magicians all over America…”What a Fellowship, p. 39
“Jimmy Lake–bless his hear-had been an enthusiastic supporter of the FCM from the day he first heard about the Fellowship. He already knew several Christian magicians around the Toronto area…this man started working on getting these folks together. The first meeting of FCM Chapter #3, Toronto, Canada was held on January 6, 1958.”What a Fellowship, p. 43
“Toronto-The first official meeting of the Toronto Chapter of FCM was held on January 6 at the home of Jimmy Lake. Visitor and guest was T.W. Wilson of Dothan, AL An evening of real blessing and magic was enjoyed by all.
“The February meeting was held at the home of Reg Carson. Rev. George Mallory was in town. He was given an invitation to the meeting and not having any equipment with him, he borrowed ours to give us some good ideas and suggestions that we intend to use at a later date. Jimmy Lake and Reg Carson did a few routines to show the guests the kind of things they did. Rev. Bob Rumball was also on hand with some good ideas, and it turned out to be another good meeting…”Jimmy Lake report to Stan Adair, What a Fellowship p. 45-46
From that point forward, chapters continued to be added to the FCM. In 1958, the first convention was held. Conventions would lead to the formation of even more chapters. In 1962, a chapter would start in New Zealand and in 1972, a chapter would begin in Kenya.
Whenever possible, Chapter Charters are presented to the chapter in person by the current President. This often takes place at the Annual Business Meeting which occurs at the convention. Sometimes, however, it is possible for the President to travel to the chapter and present it to the entire chapter. That was the case in 2005 when Presdent Ed Jarvis (on R.) presented to the charter to the Orange County FCM Chapter.
As chapters formed and the organization grew in scope, two concerns arose. 1) How do we keep good communication between the FCM and its chapters, and 2) What really is required to become a chapter.
The first question was answered with the formation of Regional Representatives. A job description was created in 1977.
The second concern about what makes a chapter was addressed with the formation guidelines for forming a chapter in 1988–below. Eventually this led to a handbook on starting an FCM chapter. FCM Members can find this handbook in the library at fcm.org The handbook will be undergoing revision in 2023-2024.
Eventually, there would be over 65 charters given to chapters. This included at least 8 outside the U.S.A. Numbers were no longer assigned to chapters after 41 had been formed. Unfortunately, over the years many of these chapters have stopped meeting as members got older, people moved, and society began to become more reliant on technology
Today, there are approximately 20 chapters in the U.S.A, and at least 3 outside the U.S.A. In addition, the FCM has a large presence on facebook and holds regular Zoom meetings in Magic, Balloons, and Puppets/Ventriloquism. To find an active chapter or when Zoom Meetings occur, please visit fcm.org
FCM-Europe began as a chapter of the FCM, but operated on a much larger scale than chapters in the U.S.A. with members all over Europe. In time, they would publish their own magazine, Voila and in July 2001, FCME would become the European Division of the FCM. In 2004, FCME would become FCM-UK. Then, approximately 2015, due to changes in fiscal regulations in the UK, FCM-UK separated from the FCM and became the Christian Magicians UK. The organizations continue to have close ties and many European magicians remain members of both organizations.
The FCM-Europe Chapter began unofficially early on, but became an official chapter in 1987, although official notification would not come until 1990 (see below). The charter was not actually received until 1992 according to the letter on the right.
India became the first Asian chapter October 26, 1987, with the charter presented to them by President Jerry Burgess on November 20, 1988. Eventually, there would be Asian chapters not only in India, but also in Malaysia, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Korea
In 1992, India sent these pictures of their installation of officers that took place on May 7, 1992.
Top: The Great Appadurai, Regional Representative, Asia delivering his installation address.
Bottom: Rin A. Jayamanickam, President elect addressing the chapter after being sworn in as president of the India chapter.
Today, the Fellowship of Christian Magicians continues to have members around the world and with technology such as Zoom, it is much easier to get to know our overseas family members.