Church Open, Building Closed

Last Tuesday, a reporter from the Arizona Daily Star sent an urgent e-mail request for an update on open/closed status of churches. Apparently they were queuing up to do a special report in Sunday’s paper. Since I wrote a piece for the Sunday “Keeping the Faith” section, which they published on April 19th, we got on their list of churches in Tucson. That’s very cool. When I got to the question about when the church/center was opening, I replied that our ‘church’ had never closed, just the building has closed. I firmly believe that.

Yes, we gather virtually on zoom. Presently, we gather for Sundays, for Wednesday night classes and for our daily morning practice. We’ve gotten better at the mechanics of doing Sunday services. We’re even up on YouTube with our own channel; other people have checked out our community and what we believe. Our stage band has been cranking out some amazing music. Most centers and churches default to canned music (YouTube videos and the like), because live music on zoom is just too hard. Our guys figured out how to do it. Leona Freeman even joined them, virtually, to sing the song she wrote, ‘Welcome to This Place’, which we have used for our opening song for the whole month of May. An old friend, Rev Lynne Heygster, guest spoke two Sundays ago from her living room in Justin Texas and in a couple weeks (June 14th) we are having a special musical guest, Bob Sima, from his home in Florida. The Music Team has wanted to bring Bob to town for years; it has not been possible, until now.

Our online meditation seminar has two participants in eastern Canada and one from Eloy AZ; we’ve had two guest facilitators, one from Las Vegas and one just left Tucson, and presently en route to Kentucky. The Prosperity Plus III mastermind group gathers twice a month. Keith Gorley’s men’s group meets virtually twice a month, and Keith starts a book study of Karen Armstrong’s 12 Steps to a Compassionate Life in less than two weeks. If you’ve never read this book, and can get a copy of it electronically, it will change your point of view about what it means to live compassionately. The Daily Practice group has been meeting steadily since the last week in March, every day except Sundays; attendance is growing. Additionally, there’s a survey further down in this newsletter soliciting interest in online classes over the summer. If you are curious, and potentially interested in participating in an upcoming class, please check out the very short survey and state your preferences.

No, it’s not the same as in person. It can’t be. We won’t be going back to the old model any time soon. The people who live far away are thrilled to hear that; that means they get to participate. There are those who, quite rightly, say that we are doing a better job of serving our community because we are more accessible to more people.

Your Board of Trustees met virtually this past week. We talked about what it would take for us to meet in person at the office next month. Given the constraints on meeting (10 people or less), we could theoretically meet in person, maintain safe distance (6′ between chairs), meet with facemasks on, & have the air handlers on high. The office would need to be wiped down, but it could be done. We could even have two guests at our board meeting, they would have to sit in an adjacent room, but they could still see and hear the discussion.

Last week the Board talked about how we identify congregants with some skill and interest in computers and videographic equipment, who also have time and interest in helping us get us set up for live-streaming when the time (finally) comes. Fortunately, there are a number of resources within CSLs around the country with expertise that are delighted to share what they have learned with us. Interested?

Yes, our center is open. If you haven’t been participating, we invite you to join us.

–Rev Janis

C-O-V-I-D

For me, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented an urgent message to every human. I believe this virus’ message is that “We are ALL in this together” — in life, in how we get sick, how we heal, and in how we live together and look after ourselves, and one another. No one has been totally excluded from impact by this virus, either from one of the many ways the virus expresses, or not being able to get medical care for other ailments, or an increased sense of isolation, fear and separation, or an elevated sense of general or specific worry and anxiousness, or simply disturbed sleep interrupted by difficult dreams, or any number of other manifestations.

This virus became very, very real to me when the doctors thought my beloved daughter, who is recovering from Valley Fever and therefore immuno-compromised, might have gotten it. She exhibited many worrisome symptoms. Thankfully, her test came back negative.

While I was walking in a very lush, beautiful neighborhood last week by myself, I couldn’t help but notice the sounds of all the different birds, look at the Palo Verde trees in bloom, cactus flowering, hummingbirds, rabbits, quail and even a red bird I didn’t recognize! The connection of all of this hit me right between the eyes; ALL of it, every single bit of it, is interconnected.

Couldn’t this same principle include every sentient being? Food for thought for me, for sure. I am reminded of the 12 steps in Karen Armstrong’s book, Twelve Steps to a Compassionate Life and am looking forward to taking the class with Keith again when it starts in early June.

1. Learn about compassion for all
2. Look at your own world
3. Compassion for yourself
4. Empathy
5. Mindfulness
6. Action
7. Know how little we know
8. How should we speak to one another?
9. Concern for everybody
10. Knowledge
11. Recognition
12. Love your enemies

If I only manage to apply some of these principles into most of my interactions, I become part of a positive solution and balm to myself, and others. I reduce the fear and panic my small self wants to focus on. Yes, I know we are looking at a very different ‘new normal’. This refocusing of my thought and attention helps me so much to look for the positive that has come about in my own life, and the lives of those I love and people I know.

While I was walking outside in nature, and observing its orderly beauty, the word COVID became redefined to me:
C- Compassionate
O – Opening
V – Vector
I – Into
D – Divine Order
assuring me that ALL is in divine order.


–Namaste, Janie

What Do I Do Today?

Greetings from social isolation and socially distanced San Manuel!

I have found this “down time” to be far less troubling and disconcerting than a lot of people. One of the blessings of being an introvert and apparently able to entertain myself with a variety of activities not found on my “to do” list. That list is still way too long and uninviting. I’m also retired and not facing any of the myriad problems many people are. Truly, a blessing too large to measure.

What I have been doing is continuing to write every morning and expanding my daily reading of CSL teachings. The time to sit and be still — as still as is possible for me — is a gift of amazing grace and joy.

“All the ideas of infinite Mind are being offered to me now. These nourish and sustain me; I accept and assimilate them. They are inspiration to my mind. They are wisdom in handling my emotions. They are beauty and peace to my soul. Joyously, I accept the good which God is distributing in my life.”
— Ernest Holmes and Raymond Charles Barker, 365 Days of Richer Living 103.2


One of the ideas I’ve been thinking about is the question of enough. Not all the hoarding memes that have blasted through social media, but the basic enough of contentment and ease. When does all my activity and needing to juggle a calendar reflect not the good times of retirement, but more my inability to simply be and to listen.


“The Intelligence within me is constantly guiding me. Clearly I see the right thing for me to do; I know the right thing for me to say in every circumstance. This Intelligence within me deals with every situation harmoniously. I find life thrilling, stimulating.”
— Ernest Holmes, 365 Science of Mind 138.3


Except that, of course, being well-practiced in and habituated to doing and distraction, I don’t find practicing this beautiful listening in stillness all that easy. When I do allow it, it is an experience of beauty and joy and such an inner peace that one could crave it. Yet that is as aspect of wanting more. That really isn’t the way either. Working hard for it, striving toward it essentially hides it elsewhere.


“Without effort or strain, and in a relaxed receptivity, let us know that the Law of Mind acts upon our word. Not asking how or why, but with simple acceptance and complete belief, let us permit this good to be established in our experience.”
— Ernest Holmes, 365 Science of Mind 76.2

“The one Mind is working in and through us now, not as big or little, or hard or easy, but merely as spontaneous self-expression. Back of our smallest act is the strength of the universe. Behind all our thoughts is the Infinite Thinker. Diffused through every human activity is the Divine Presence.
— Ernest Holmes, 365 Science of Mind 218.1

And that is my goal during this time — “Be Still and Know” – Psalm 46.10.

Wishing you and yours a safe and peaceful journey through this time.


–Peace, Mariann

Thank You, Dick

Dear Dick,
We are so grateful for your many years of service to our Center. How can we even begin to express our gratitude for your steady, devoted service since 2014? Any task you accepted was always done with expertise and love. Your thoroughness and vigilance shined brightly in all things you did for CSLT. You have been a generous example of selfless service and trustworthiness these past six years. Your wisdom, counsel, steadfastness and servant’s heart will be hard to replace. You have been, and are, deeply appreciated and you are loved by all who have even been touched by even the edges of your big heart. You are already deeply missed. Our best love and wishes for health and happiness for both you and Rosalee.
–With great love, Rev Janis, Mariann, Marya & Janie

Introducing Susan Seid, Our Newest Board Member

Looking back over my life, one of the “constants” has been my connection to God. As a young child in Sunday school, our teacher asked, “Where is God?” I answered, “ I think that God is inside of me”. It was clear that was not the answer she was looking for. However, I have always felt that God was both around and within me. Despite being one of six children, I often ended up being the only one to go to Sunday school and then to church. I even attended a Bible camp one summer in Maine but it was run by the Baptists and that was another story.

I was born in Syracuse, raised in the Boston suburbs and attended the Congregational Church. Like many, I drifted away during college and early adulthood. In my early twenties, a friend invited me to go to the UCC Congregational Church in Norwell MA and it re-ignited my connection to God. A few years later, I was going through a very difficult divorce. My minister and church family were especially supportive. One day I sat by myself in a courtroom waiting for the judge to order a restraining order. And then, I had a physical sensation of a warm hug. Puzzled by it, I mentioned it later that evening to one of my church friends. It turned out that they had all been together praying for me at that moment. Since then, I have never doubted the power of prayer.

As single mom with two young children and no support, I began to work full time. I had graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York with a degree in buying and merchandising. After a few years in retail, I began working in the mail order industry. Later in 1990, I was recruited by Arizona Mail Order, which is how I found my way to Tucson. I loved it here immediately.

During the following decade, I was recruited away by companies in other parts of the country but always wanted to return. It was during this time I found myself being drawn to New Thought. While working in Atlanta, I heard an ad for the Church of Religious Science on the radio. I wandered in one Sunday morning and listened transfixed to Reverend Paul Gonyea speak and knew I was home. I began feverishly taking classes and learned the wisdom of Holmes, Troward and Emerson. Science of Mind began a major transformation of my life. So when an opportunity arose to buy a portion of the business for which I had been working, I took a life-changing leap. Troward said, “When we have the end held firmly in consciousness, the means to bring it about has already been set in motion”. And during this time, I was honored to serve on the Board of Trustees for a newly formed center, CSL Midtown.

Despite some unforeseen major challenges, my company survived and thrived. Some years later, I sold all but the art portion of the company and was able to return to Tucson. I live here with my little dog, Brady. And although they are not near, I enjoy my seven grandchildren and yes, five great grandchildren. Such wonderful abundance!

–Susan

To Mask, or Not to Mask

I went to town to do some scanning and returning of final exams from the Foundations Class that finished this week. (Yes, the class ‘Foundations of the Science of Mind’ still has a final exam, and everybody who took it passed with flying colors.) We’ve been meeting online, on Zoom, for about a month; it’s worked fairly well. Those of you who have taken Foundations remember that sweet feeling of camaraderie and community that arises when you spend weeks and weeks sharing with other people, and you discover we’re all pretty much the same. We have similar sorts of worries, struggles, doubts and fears, so we can relate to each other, and feel strong family-like connections with this unique and special subset of humanity. The students were sad the class was ending because they’ve gotten so close with each other over these many weeks.

While I was in town, I figured I’d stop at the Trader Joe’s closest to the office to pick up some supplies I’d run out of, and some fresh daffodils. Trader Joe’s instituted the wait-outside-the-store-line earlier than most of the other retail spaces in town, and so I wasn’t surprised to see a line. I was a little surprised to see such a long line. The TJ’s crewmember who had been tasked with managing the line was in conversation with an older fellow who was belligerently not wanting to stand exactly on the blue line which demarcated the 6-ft distance between prospective customers. Eventually the older man complied, because (I’m guessing here) he decided he wanted access to the store more than he wanted to argue with ‘the kid’. So we stood there a while, not too terribly long. Being my mother’s daughter (We used to tease her, saying that she could have a delightful conversation with a fencepost), I attempted to strike up a conversation with the fellow behind me in line. His face, what I could see of it behind his mask, was dour. I said something innocuous and bright, like how nice it was to be standing in the shade on this warm, sunny day. His reply, ‘Why are we doing this?’, left me nearly speechless and I responded with, ‘There are so many answers to that question running through my mind.’

Last week, I was again standing in a line, waiting to go into JoAnn’s. I needed thread to finish some projects. Many of the people who were in line were buying supplies to make masks for friends, family members or to give away to medical or care facilities. The camaraderie of this line was quite different from the one at TJ’s. Even though we were primarily standing in the sun, the mostly older crowd was quite chatty, sharing bits and pieces of their lives. The workers who came out of the store to talk with line-standers-like-me were answering questions about the availability of elastic, bias tape, Velcro and interfacing. Eventually, after about 80 minutes, I got my turn in the store, picked up my half dozen spools of thread and was out again double-quick, freeing up the space for the mask-makers in line/behind me to gain access. While this was a much longer and slower moving line, it was much more enjoyable.

During one of the daily spiritual practices last week, I read a paragraph from Ernest Holmes’ 365 Science of Mind (p.116) that was impactful to several individuals on the video-call. It read, ‘Our lives and experiences may well be likened to a river. If we stand on the bank of a river and watch it flow by, we become aware that the river never changes, but that its content is always new. By analogy, we might say the purposeful dynamic quality of life within us never changes, but the content of our experience of living never remains the same.’

‘The purposeful dynamic quality of life’, our point of view in how we see ourselves, the Divine, and others, is completely under our control. Our Essence, as the Foundations students learned, is Divine. We are made of, and for, Life, Love, Light, Peace, Poise, Power, Joy…. Whether we choose to remember that, and act from that place of wholeness, and holiness, is entirely up to us. The content of our experiences, how we engage with individuals, big ideas, situations or circumstances will vary moment-to-moment. Each one of us is always at choice how we see ourselves, our situations and others, and how we respond to, and engage with, life.

–Rev Janis

Living in “Interesting Times”

There’s an old Chinese curse about living in interesting times. It’s pretty clear that we are. Fear bubbles just below the surface for a lot of people. Those who have lost loved ones, who no longer have a stable source of income, or who are afraid and cut off from the comfort of being with other human beings are suffering. May each of us remember to use this opportunity as a wake up call to our shared humanity, our shared vulnerability, and to nourish our compassion and strengthen our communities.

Personally, it has presented me with the opportunity to go inward more deeply every day (thanks to the tricks I learned in Into the Magic Shop), which fold in so beautifully with our Science of Mind principles and techniques, allowing me to access a deeper awareness of Oneness. Life and Wholeness. I also have been watching Deepak Chopra’s morning talks on Instagram, which help me remember how to stay sane in an out of balance world. These have helped me stay grounded and centered.

So, what can we do?

Turn off the television newsfeed, and just ‘be’. News doesn’t change that fast. Listen to the birds sing. Enjoy the sun and the fresh air. Go for walks and appreciate the beauty of nature. Find things to be grateful for and really enjoy them. Do affirmative prayer and meditate. Read our Center’s (and other Centers’) materials. Attend our Zoom services, or services of other Centers and churches that feed and uplift us spiritually. Expand our spiritual practices. Know that, as they say in AA, “ This too shall pass”.

Arizona DES (directorblog.azdhs.gov) recognizes that individuals with chronic illnesses are more susceptible to this virus and that it is even more important, if we are experiencing that condition, that we, and those who live with us, take preventative measures: stay home, take extra care with handwashing and prevent spread of potential contamination, keep up with our medications, keep good records of daily health monitoring and keep any scheduled doctor’s appointments. In addition, AZ DES recommends social distancing, engaging in an enjoyable hobby (scanning Facebook feeds is not an enjoyable hobby), being moderately physically active, practicing mindfulness and meditation, connecting with friends and family over the phone and video-chats. Reach out if you are experiencing persistent sadness, fear or feeling of hopelessness. If you feel like you have no one to comfortably call, please reach out to the AZ DES Mental Health Line 800 -985-5990.

AZ DES has also shown a drop in the number of new cases of the virus this past week for the first time since our awareness of the virus in Pima County was noticed (March 1) from 209 new cases to 94. Also that numbers of infected persons are higher in the 20-44 year age range (181) than they are in the 65- and-older age range (165). Us ‘seniors’ are doing a better job of keeping ourselves safe!

It’s time to re-imagine a new world, to envision sharing our common humanity, to vision how we can live in the deepest, most beautiful way possible. Coming through this difficult time, what we intend and nurture, we can certainly do.

“This is a time of mystery and uncertainty. Take a breath. The veils of separation are parting and the reality of interconnection is apparent to everyone on earth. We have needed this pause, perhaps even needed our isolation to see how much we need one another”

— Quote from Lion’s Roar

–Namaste, Janie Hooper

Caring: Without Clutching, Comparing or Competing

Like most of us I can be really good in some circumstances and with some people. But there are times when I know that I allow common hour thinking to initiate reactions that are not even close to my best choice. I find myself fretting or stressing over/about something/someone. And I am heading off course while steadfastly ignoring the fact that I am screwing up. This tends to muck up my own energy and obscure what would actually be best for me.

So, I’ve set a goal for myself to use this present time to clear out both physical and emotional clutter, and I’ve come to the following C’s.

Caring without Clutching, Comparing, or Competing. All of which sounds pretty cool and very Zen.

And very hard to do in this world that teaches us to value primarily how we compare to others; how well we amass and keep stuff forever; and how our behavior, work, car, practice is always better or worse than others and so on.

When, in fact, the only measurement of importance is the wholeness I find inside. Whether one calls it Spirit, self-fulfillment, heart or purpose, if I am not always looking to live from and as Peace within – my without is seriously compromised.

We are all individualized centers of God-consciousness and spiritual power, as complete as we know ourselves to be, and we know ourselves only as we comprehend our relationship to the whole.
— Ernest Holmes, How to Change Your Life 123.3

From Gay Hendricks’ THE BIG LEAP: …. When I was growing up my next-door neighbor shared a powerful bit of wisdom with me …. On Judgment Day, Mr. Lewin said, God will not ask ‘Why were you not Moses? ‘ He will ask ’Why were you not Sam Lewin?” I replace the ‘god judging day’ with a more immediate personal presence and practice. The questions I ask myself regularly:

To start a new day – How can I be my best self today?
Evening contemplation: When was I my best self today? When was I not?

“Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” — Oscar Wilde

“Know Thyself.” — Dead Greek personage. Or Polonius. Or Hallmark.

“Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the self-reliance of every one of its members.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

And finally, a bit of advice I keep posted where I see it regularly. Because change is hard, and learning to live in a more present, aware state of being is quite the challenge.

Success is not final,
Failure is not fatal,
It is the courage to continue that counts.
— Winston S. Churchill

So taking this time when we have been plucked from our “old normal” into a strange and unsettling time, I’m working to find and release those old rules of comparison, competition, clutching and replace them with a sense of self that springs from Spiritual Peace and personal choice.

Staying awake to inner Truth as well as the best practices needed here and now, we will all emerge different and better when we come back together.

–Peace, Mariann

Star-Stuff R Us

The Milky Way over Monument Valley Image Credit & Copyright: Tom Masterson From Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD)

In a 1973 publication, The Cosmic Connection, Carl Sagan wrote, Our Sun is a second- or third-generation star. All of the rocky and metallic material we stand on, the iron in our blood, the calcium in our teeth, the carbon in our genes were produced billions of years ago in the interior of a red giant star. We are made of star-stuff.

He wasn’t the first to say it. That honor probably goes to a Greensboro, North Carolina newspaper columnist, Ellen Frizell Wyckoff in 1913, though she wasn’t quite brazen enough to claim that special status for humanity, only for the earth, when she wrote, The spectroscope analyzes the light if you please, and shows what it is made of. What was the surprise of the tireless searchers when they found common earth metals burning in the mighty sun!

There was once a little girl who cried out with joy when she realized for one little moment that the earth is truly a heavenly body, and that no matter what is happening to us we are really living right up among the stars. The sun is made of “star stuff, and the earth is made of the same material, put together with a difference.” Astronomer Albert Durrant Watson in 1918 said in his address to the Royal Astronomical Society, It is true that a first thoughtful glimpse of the immeasurable universe is liable rather to discourage us with a sense of our own insignificance. But astronomy is wholesome even in this, and helps to clear the way to a realization that as our bodies are an integral part of the great physical universe, so through them are manifested laws and forces that take rank with the highest manifestation of Cosmic Being.

Thus we come to see that if our bodies are made of star-stuff— and there is nothing else, says the spectroscope, to make them of — the loftier qualities of our being are just as necessarily constituents of that universal substance out of which are made

“Whatever gods there be.”

We are made of universal and divine ingredients, and the study of the stars will not let us escape a wholesome and final knowledge of the fact. (Thanks to Quote Investigator for compiling all these quotes in one place.)

And so what? This image from Brian Andreas at Flying Edna reads, You are made of the same stardust as all creation. Why would you believe that something so marvelous as that can’t be trusted to know how to live?

So much fear and doubt surrounds us and our world right now, the sudden shift in what can be known with certainty and depended on, and the lack of predictability in … well… life. Still, when we remember who and what we are, infinite expressions of life walking around in our physical bodies, there is something deep within us that cannot be damaged, hurt, or ruined, not matter what chaos seems to surround us.

We are stardust. How do you grab hold of that certainty and own it for yourself? How do you remind yourself when you forget? (Hint: daily spiritual practice helps.) Find your center. Get busy shining the stardust that you already are. The world needs your presence. Now…

–Rev Janis

My (Current) New Normal

It’s 9:25am and I sit at my home office. I have much work to do even though the tax filing and tax payment deadlines have been extended to 7/15. I haven’t meditated or written in my journal yet. I feel the anxiety in my stomach. Somewhere in my psyche is a message that I am a naughty, little girl for not working enough. It’s funny how the words “naughty, little girl” strike a hurtful chord. Writing this down reduces my stress and I leave to meditate for my regular 20 minutes.

It’s 10:37 and I feel relaxed and calm. I accept that it is necessary for me to meditate and to journal and to exercise most days to maintain a sense of peace. While it’s more difficult to maintain my daily routines right now in the time of great disruption, I have been able to do so fairly well. The Prosperity Plus 3 group, of which I am a member, has been holding that for me this last week. The Spiritual Mind Treatment I included in my journaling today was that I remain calm and peaceful today and that I experience the God concepts of joy and beauty (including order) throughout my day. It could be because I am writing this article that it is working very well today! Yay!!!

I was also reminded this morning of my ability to experience sensations of change and not label them as fear. When I label a feeling as fear, I attach gloom and despair to it. I see myself in the fetal position under my desk or in the corner of my closet. When I simply allow the sensation to pass through me without a label or by labeling it as energy or anticipation, my outlook remains bright. This is the choice I make today. This is an example of the Law working in me, through me and for me that makes Science of Mind such an important component of my daily experience.

In the 12-step fellowship, the 1st step of the program of which I am a member is that “We admitted that we were powerless over our addiction, that our lives had become unmanageable”. I smile when I say that because, it’s not really true. I’m not really powerless, I can always make things worse.

–And I’m not doing that today! Take care! Love, Marya

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