Sequim Gazette staff
The Sequim Center for Spiritual Living’s umbrella organization, Religious Science International, reunited earlier this month with the United Church of Religious Science.
The two sects split in 1954 from Religious Science, which was founded in the 1920s by philosopher Ernest Holmes, who wrote “Science of Mind.”
The Rev. Lynn Osborne of the Sequim Center for Spiritual Living attended the joint annual conference in San Diego, Calif., and said the merger was approved with 98 percent in favor.
Osborne said the churches have sought the merger actively for eight years, with an organizational model being crafted for the past three years.
The two organizations, Religious Science International and United Church of Religious Science, now are International Centers for Spiritual Living and United Centers for Spiritual Living. The new joint organization is called Centers for Spiritual Living.
Osborne said the discussions were exciting to watch and she expects a positive change.
“I think our teaching will become more accessible through this,” she said.
Overall, the merger doesn’t affect the Sequim church because it already changed its name a few years ago. After the split, Osborne said the groups practiced the same faith but had different business practices.
“With the merger, they’ve come to terms with a lot of that and each organization had to give or take some,” Osborne said. “There wasn’t any stomping and getting angry.”
Osborne said she wasn’t too involved in the process other than writing encouraging letters for leaders to trust God and go back to the spirit rather than people. She feels the split was ultimately good because both organizations did grow.
“I don’t judge and don’t think it’s a bad thing,” Osborne said. “People who were involved got their feelings hurt but they’re all gone now.”
The teachings of Religious Science, known as Science of Mind, are derived from the New Thought Movement, started in the mid-1800s by transcendentalists such as Ralph Waldo Emerson. Science of Mind continued into the 20th century with teachers Emmet Fox, Napoleon Hill, Emma Curtis Hopkins and Holmes.
Osborne said the cornerstone of New Thought is a teaching of unity and there always was an underlying unity with regard to the teaching, but members were joyous about solving organizational differences to reunite.
Centers for Spiritual Living has more than 400 centers in 29 countries and publishes two monthly magazines with a combined readership of 100,000.
The Sequim Center for Spiritual Living meets at 10 a.m. Sundays at Pioneer Memorial Park, 387 E. Washington St.
For more information about Sequim Center for Spiritual Living, visit www.sequimsom.org or call 681-0177. Read about the organization at www.intcsl.org.