Part Two:  10th Anniversary of the Science of Mind Archives and Library Foundation

September 2017 Blog

By Rev. Dr. Marilyn Leo

In 2006 the United Church, now United Center for Spiritual Living (UCSL) was preparing to move to Golden Colorado. I was of the belief that the archives should stay in southern California. I also wanted to include all Religious Science records. (Religious Science International) (RSI). This would be a non-profit foundation to act as stewards for all of the Religious Science/Science of Mind history. I was a board member of the Hefferlin Foundation so I approached the president, George St. Johns. He advised me to make a formal request for help and funds. This I did.  Under the name of Hefferlin Foundation a formal request was made to UCSL and RSI to set up the Science of Mind Archives Foundation, a non-profit organization. At the March 30, 2007 Hefferlin board meeting a resolution was passed to donate $50,000 to help set up the archives. I made my presentation to the board of UCSL and also a presentation to the board of Religious Science International meeting in Monterey California. I asked that each organization contribute $30,000. There was also an agreement of an annual contribution of $30,000 from each group. However, there was no follow through with that. Over the years the Hefferlin Foundation has given the archives more than $200,000.

The Hilton Hotel in Burbank California held the first planning meeting on January 23, 2007 with representatives from UCSL, RSI, and Hefferlin: Rodney Scott, Kathy Hearn, Alice Bandy, Candice Becket, George St. Johns, Marilyn Leo, and Tom Sannar. It was decided to move forward. Each group would have representatives on the first Archives Foundation board. They included: Wesley Kramer, Celeste Terken, Liz Mirante, Marilyn Leo, Rodney Scott, and Tom Sannar. George St. Johns served as mediator until officers were chosen: Wesley Kramer, attorney and RSI ministerial student, President; Marilyn Leo, Hefferlin representative, Secretary; and Tom Sannar, Hefferlin and RSI representative was Treasurer.  Jean Parcher recorded the meeting.

Instead of UCSL taking the large library with them to Colorado, Rodney Scott wanted to include it with the archives, and so the Science of Mind Archives and Library Foundation was formed. Some months later Rodney Scott, UCSL Operations Manager, wanted our SOM Archives name to be changed to Spiritual Living Archives and Library to keep in alignment with the new name of UCSL. The new archives board agreed and for a short time that name was adopted. In due time the archives returned to its original name. The archives, an independent non-profit organization is separate from SOM Foundation and Centers for Spiritual Living and wanted to be recognized as such.

Everything was in place for the move to Golden but I wanted the archives to stay in southern California. The Seaside Church in Encinitas was the location of one of the Holmes Institute campuses and they made an offer to provide useable space. They had a building on their property that they would make available. It needed a lot of work interior and exterior – rain water drainage control and roof repair. Interior worked just fine. St. Johns had done the math and figured there was space for the archives, the library books we inherited, and a small office. We believed the location was ideal and that the students would take advantage of the location and information. Cost: $2,000/month. We moved in and all was going nicely. We found people to take care of the office but I could not be there very often as the trip was now 2 to 2-1/2 hours each way from Camarillo. People at the Lakeside church would invite me to stay in their homes for one or two nights while I was there. Unfortunately the students didn’t seem to understand the treasures at their fingertips. They seldom visited nor were many donations made. I do want to thank Dr. Christian Sorensen for his many kindnesses to us.

After two years with little financial backing except for the Hefferlin Foundation we were trying to decide what to do. We had changed board members and there didn’t seem to be people who wanted to volunteer in any great way, particularly in fund raising. United Church became United Centers for Spiritual Living and had purchased a beautiful building in Genesee Park, Colorado. They had more space than needed for home office and were looking for a compatible renter.  There were only a few drawbacks: It cost a lot of money to move to Colorado; would people understand that we were separate from UCSL and were self-supporting? And, we would have to leave our beautiful Ernest Holmes rose plant that had been donated to us from the Hemet church. Advantages were: We would pay the same $2,000 rent and the space had several small rooms with a couple of large rooms and a perfect office space.

We turned the board over to the Hefferlin Foundation board and they took charge for a year or so. St. Johns invited then Hefferlin board member Dorianne Cotter-Lockard to become president of the archives board and begin organizing a new board for the Archives.  That seemed to be her specialty and she attracted several people with interests and expertise in the areas needed for the Archives. Example,  Doug LeBow is a music producer and has expertise in reproduction of film and music. Roger Juline and Sannar remained on the board for a while to maintain continuity. Lind, with his specialty in planned giving stayed with us for a short time. Now all of the Hefferlin board has been replaced, except me, Archives Foundation President Emeritus. I continue to offer my two cents worth of information and knowledge when possible. I prod others for artifacts, money, and participation.

On to what happened next.

With our move we would need to hire a person to care for the archives and I could not be there very often. Yes I did consider moving to Colorado but could not at that time. George St. Johns went to work to figure out the best way to layout the archives in our new space in Golden. We decided to use the small rooms for individual specialties and one of the large rooms for the many boxes of materials and artifacts. George oversaw the move and all the set up.

James Abbott, a lover of history and the archives was hired and I spent time in Golden to show him the progress we had made in collecting, preserving and sharing what we had. After about two years he moved on and our new, now Executive Director found a home where she is much loved and appreciated. Kathy Mastroianni works hard. She has attracted many new volunteers, has creative ideas and masterfully runs the archives (and the board) like a smooth running clock.

We have grown, perhaps in ways not anticipated, but continue in the fulfilling of my dream. We have a wonderful website, and it always needs more. We are getting more and more magazines and other papers digitized for people’s research. Photographs are being separated by a photographer volunteer, and the pictures are awaiting identification. Volunteers work in the library putting books in order and pulling duplicates not needed. Kathy has identified “projects” for special funding and people have responded. She speaks to groups when requested via Zoom and in person. She now has a part time employee helping her, Valerie Torphy. Committees come together on a regular basis and the board meets on a quarterly basis with president Jim Van Cleave as our leader. The original Home Study Course by Ernest Holmes and Reginald Armor has been reprinted and made available for sale along with other items. But most listings on the website are free. I wrote Chronicles of Religious Science. Volume I, which covers the history of the Religious Science movement from 1926 through 1959, was printed in 2013 and Volume II, covering 1960 up to and including the regeneration of one main organization – 2012 –  is expected very soon.

We are frugal with our funds or if you rather, good stewards. The board meetings are usually Zoom meetings as are the committee meetings. But we try to meet in person once a year. We formed the Foundation as an independent non-profit 501(c)3, and in doing so must present our own fund raising opportunities so everyone can participate and truly be a part of the archives and preservign our sacred history.

This year, 2017, the Archives is celebrating “The First 10 years of Forever” anniversary of being an independent non-profit organization.  There are now opportunities for people to join our Curators Society and leave the Archives in their wills, life insurance, retirement policies and other estate planning tools to truly leave a lasting legacy and preserve our sacred history forever.  Practitioners continue to play a leading role in supporting the archives by joining our 1st Circle Program–exclusively for Practitioners (and Ministers who are always Practitioners first) and a minimum donation of $125/year or $11/month (many people donate more and even tithe to the Archives as their “spiritual source”.  Centers around the world and laity are encouraged to be a “Friend of Ernest” sharing weekly, monthly or annual financial gifts with the archives.  If the Science of Mind teaching has touched your heart and changed your life, please consider joining us with a financial gift and be a part of stewarding the exciting presevation of our history for you and generations to come.