What is a Church?

As ministers of New Thought, we are asking ourselves what is next for us, for our Centers, for our own lives. It is all one thing. I will just speak from my own thoughts and questions. I have many.

The biggest question is: What is the role of church today? I know our Founder Ernest Holmes never wanted to have a “church.” He was convinced by his friends and fellow colleagues that a church was a good thing. People wanted to come together and hear his message. They liked his message. They didn’t want to go back to their old churches. It just didn’t fit with the growth in consciousness they were experiencing. Dr. Holmes’ concern about church was that he didn’t want to tell people what to do. He just wanted to inspire them. That is why he only spoke, and he spoke to thousands who gathered both in person and on his radio show. He had a message: There is a Power in the Universe that we get to use to create our lives to our betterment.

So, where does church stand now? After COVID19, when people began to slowly come out of their homes and let go of their fears of being in large crowds, they slowly came back to our Center. However, some never came back, some prefer to watch online and new people are coming. We have not caught up to the numbers we had before the pandemic. This brings up the next question. What are those that are coming, coming for? I believe it is to be inspired, to get powered up for their week, to remember who they are, to be with community. So, when I think about what is next, I know that these are the things on which we must focus.

People do not want to be talked at; they want to be engaged. People don’t want to be pointed out, made uncomfortable, or made to come out of their seat, they want to experience whatever it is at their own comfort level. Yet, there is a balance. People also want to be challenged. They wanted to be stirred into action. This gives me guidance as to what is next.

Church isn’t what it used to be. It is not our parents’ church. Church is not an edifice. It is not a place where we come to be made to feel less than. If church is anything, it is a journey into ourselves. It is a place to wake up to our true selves. It is a place to be inspired, to know our greatness. It is a place of giving and receiving. It is an exchange of energy. It is an experience.

So, as we go forward into 2023, we are thinking about all this. We are open to change. We are open to letting go of the old and making room for an idea that isn’t quite formed yet. As a minister, I know that “minister” is not a person; it is a verb. It is what I do. I minister to people. I have a message that says, “You are magnificent.” You have all the tools to create the life of your dreams. You can lift yourself out of any situation when you are ready to say yes to your greatness, to make a decision for yourself.

As we move into 2023, I see church more as an experiential journey of awakening. It invites us all to tap into our true selves through music, meditation, hands-on activities, courses that delve deeply into ourselves, community. And when I say community, I am not talking about barbeques and potlucks. Yes, that is all great, but I am talking of community in the sense of a place where like-minded people are in service, sharing their own journeys, lifting others who are defeated, and celebrating the victories. It’s about lifting consciousness through definite action.

When we say yes to anything, the law responds in kind. I say yes to shaking the idea of church up, letting it be organic, in the moment and current, where ritual is not rote, but a deepening into the unknown where everything that is necessary to our spiritual growth can be known. I am looking forward to what this new opening brings forth. I am on the path of discovering.

Much Love and Aloha,

Rev. Rita Andriello-Feren, Co-Founding Director CSL Kaua`i and the Institute of Magnificence and Author of “What Do I Need to KNOW? 101 Thoughts That Changed My Life” and “This Thing Called Treatment,” both available on Amazon.

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