OUR CENTER and ITS HISTORY
The Center for Spiritual Living Morristown is a metaphysical teaching center based on the teachings of Dr. Ernest Holmes. At this Center we are not told what to think but to know that how we think is important. The quality of life’s experience first begins within our own consciousness. We alone hold the key to self-realization – the experience of greater health, happiness, peace of mind, and love.
The Center provides continuing opportunities for learning through regularly scheduled classes, a bookstore, organized spiritually enriching activities, and social events. Sunday Celebrations enhance the message of Truth for all individuals and their families. The Center offers each individual support in his or her spiritual path of transformation and provides an opportunity to experience a richer, more fulfilling way of life, creating an atmosphere of harmony, encouraging everyone to embrace and express their True Self.
The Center for Spiritual Living Morristown started as a Society in 1955 by Rev. Madeline Willms. Before she was a minister, Willms worked closely with Raymond Charles Barker, who had been sent to NYC to set up Religious Science in the east. In 1954, Rev. Barker asked her to teach the principles of Religious Science, so she began a study group in her home and in other meeting locations in Morristown. After an increase in membership, the Charter for the First Church of Religious Science was presented to Rev. Willms on December 29, 1957. Rev. Willms, a very dynamic woman, dedicated to the principles of Religious Science, spent years renting rooms or buildings at several locations in Morristown for classes and Sunday services. With the help of both her husband, Edward, and the congregation, her dream church was built near Jockey Hollow Park, Morristown, dedicated in 1962. On December 26, 1965, Rev. Willms celebrated the tenth Anniversary of her ministry. Rev. Willms made her transition on October 14, 1966.
Rev. Tom Johnson (who had been speaking whenever Rev. Willms was away) was unanimously approved by the Board to become the new Minister; he served until 1976. With the increased membership, the congregation moved to the Jersey Theater in Morristown. Other acting pastors have been Dr. Carl Ray Ambrose (1976-1985) and Rev. John Benson (1985-1989). Each one contributed to the spiritual and physical growth of the Church in his own dynamic and loving manner. In the summer of 1977, the Board of Trustees negotiated to buy and convert the former Masonic Temple on Route 202, Morristown, as its new center. With the move from Jersey Theater to the former Masonic Temple, all church functions were available in one building. From 1989 to 1992, the congregation enjoyed lectures and classes under the direction of Rev. Kenneth Lanning and his wife, Jo Ann.
On December 1, 1992, Reverend Frankie Timmers was installed as the new minister (later called Spiritual Director). Reverend Frankie was born and raised in the Netherlands and came to the US in 1979. Beginning her studies in Science of Mind in 1982, she completed her pastoral education and served as Assistant Minister in the Fort Lauderdale Church of Religious Science for two years and as Minister in the Albany Church of Religious Science for three years before coming to Morristown.
Building highlights under Rev. Frankie’s leadership include a major renovation of the church sanctuary (windows added, new ceiling and carpet, etc. in 2001), the creation of the Sacred Space and the Bookstore expansion (2003), and the final payment on our building’s mortgage (2003). In 2007, under the leadership of Nancy Green, the renovated Friendship Hall, bookstore, and youth areas were completed. In 2007, the Steve & Margaret Corsello Kitchen was dedicated to two members who had lovingly organized the social hour for many years.
Numerous Practitioners and Ministers have been trained at the Center, some of whom have gone on to found spiritual centers of their own. In 2001, Michelle Wadleigh was installed as Staff Minister; in 2006 Jennifer Berkeley, Janice Billera and John Hannes were installed as Staff Ministers; in 2010, Rev. Stephen Bartlett became a Staff Minister.
THE CENTER’S NAME
The teaching at our Center has always been Science of Mind©, as taught by Dr. Ernest Holmes, who founded the United Church of Religious Science. In the 1950s, there was a dispute over governance and a second faction developed called Religious Science International, of which our Center has been a member. In 2001, the process was begun to integrate United Churches of Religious Science and Religious Science International We are pleased to be a part of the historic reconciliation and integration of these two branches under a newly branded name, Centers for Spiritual Living. Our name was officially changed to Center for Spiritual Living Morristown in 2009. The integration to Centers for Spiritual Living for all churches, in the US, Canada, and internationally, will be complete in 2012.
Following the principals that we teach, such as the Law of Circulation, the Center is a tithing institution; 10% of the Center’s unrestricted income is tithed each month to non-profit organizations and our parent organization. The Board of Trustees votes on where the Center’s monthly tithes go. Members are encouraged to make suggestions about worthy organizations to tithe to.
BECOMING A MEMBER
Membership is an annual commitment at our Center. Members (18 years and older) are those who have intentionally and joyfully committed themselves to practicing the Science of Mind© teaching as well as to supporting our Center for Spiritual Living Morristown. To become a new member, it is required that you take the Discovery class, a 2-part class that is offered in October/November and again in March/April.
Members commit (or recommit) to:
• Spiritual Education (SOM© classes and/or workshops)
• Attendance (Sunday Celebration, events, meetings, etc.)
• Volunteering (Seva - selfless service to Spirit)
• Financial Support