CHANGE YOUR THINKING.......Change Your Life!
A long, long time ago, back in the dark ages.....well, it was actually 1974, during the heyday of Keep Austin Weird!......A family moved from Denver, Colorado to Austin, Texas. You see, we are not all 'Texans-Born and Bred' but after a few years we think we are! This was a great family with a firm spiritual background from the Mile Hi Church of Religious Science in Denver, and they loved Austin! So, when Dwight and Charlotte McCleod looked around Austin for a Religious Science Church to go to, they discovered there wasn't one in this weird and wonderful town. They tried attending a Unity church, but decided they really missed the Religious Science from Mile Hi Church. Coming from a large Science of Mind church (over 2,000 members at that time), they were confident they could find people with similar spiritual interests right here in Austin. The McCleods, who owned a bookstore, organized a Science of Mind study group. Dwight contacted local subscribers to the Science of Mind (SOM) Magazine, and invited them to a meeting in a motel off of I-35. This group grew rapidly and moved their meeting place to the Unitarian Universalist Church at 4700 Grover Ave. in Austin. Within a short time they grew enough to meet the requirement for full church status with the United Church of Religious Science. The new church called itself the Austin Church of Religious Science (ACRS), and moved into its first permanent space at 1510 South Congress Ave. ACRS had its first meeting in this new space on September 7, 1980.
In August 1986 Dwight McCleod hired the wonderful Rev. Dr. Rainbow Johnson as the Minister! He knew about her because he loved her articles in the Science of Mind Magazine. She was a regular contributor to the SOM Daily Guides. At this time the church was renamed New Vision Center. Rev. Rainbow loved the whole McCleod family, and is still good friends with Charlotte and her daughter, Darcy.
During all the years until 2014, the church moved to several different locations and had several different ministers, including Rev Dr. Richard Imprescia. The church finally changed the name to what it is today, Austin Center for Spiritual Living (ACSL)
But, in 2014, some big changes were about to happen. A series of events, including the retirement of Rev. Imprescia and the doubling of the rent, brought the Center to a screeching halt.
Late one dark and stormy night in December.......well, maybe not stormy, but it was definitely dark and it was late. Six people sat squeezed around a desk in the tiny church office. They had just spent two long days cleaning, packing and moving everything out of the building, except the desk and six folding chairs. They were exhausted and disheartened. They had sold everything online, raising only a few hundred dollars. But the truth facing them was Austin Center for Spiritual Living was deeply in debt, including a few months salary to the minister and over $100,000 to the Leasing firm.
That night, five people sat very still, listening to the President of the Board sum things up:
We've got no place to meet.
We've got no Minister.
We've got no Practitioners.
We've got no belongings.
And, we're well over $100,000 in debt.
We can go home tonight and relax. It's all over. It was a good run. I'm proud of each of us.
Or..............we can dig in, dig deep, and keep the Austin Center for Spiritual Living going!! Somehow.
After a Spiritual Mind Treatment (a very powerful prayer), each of the six vowed to keep the Austin Center for Spiritual Living alive. With tears of worry and exhaustion and yes, with JOY, they all joined hands in solidarity! We WILL make it work! Somehow!
And that is when several 'God Things' happened very quickly. Within three weeks, they began meeting in the apartment clubhouse where one of the six lived; two former ACSL Practitioners returned wanting to help; and two separate strangers from California walked in and announced they were Practitioners. They had each just moved to Austin and wanted to help! Those four Practitioners (Practitioners are Prayer Partners) gave the sermons for several months until yet another 'God Thing' happened! Rev. Dr. Rainbow Johnson came back to be the Senior Minister! And later Rev. Merry Shaver came back as the Assistant Minister. And Rev. Kit Holmes joined us. Oh, yes within a few months the President of the Board, with the help of a former member (read...lawyer) were able to negotiate a miraculous settlement with the Leasing firm. ACSL was able to pay all their debts in just six months! That definitely was a 'God Thing!'
Bringing you up to the present. The Pandemic forced us, like everyone else, to meet on Zoom. But Austin Center for Spiritual Living has stayed healthy and strong! As we continue on Zoom, our educational and social offerings have flourished. We offer a wide variety of Talks, Classes, Discussion Groups, and so much more! Plus, we meet in person for social events at least twice a month.
We look forward to seeing you on Zoom.
And please check out the Social Events Page to discover our next in-person gathering! JOIN US!