Thursday, December 28, 2017

Celebrating 50 Years: An Interview with Lisa Spinelli

We don’t define our spiritual home by the location or even the teaching, rather it is the people, the community, that make it special.

As we look forward to celebrating 50 years together, I spoke with one of our longest standing members, Lisa Spinelli. Lisa lives in San Clemente. She moved here in the 1970s from the East Coast. Raised in the Congregational Church as a child and with an interest in all religions, Lisa found our Center from an ad in the newspaper.

How did you find the Center?

When we first moved here in the mid-70s, I looked in the newspaper and saw a tiny little ad. It said something about Ralph Waldo Emerson and of course Ralph Waldo Emerson was one of my all-time heroes. Being from the East with Thoreau’s Walden Pond, Emerson and all those guys I thought, “Well this has got to be a place to go check out.” It was an ad for the Science of Mind and the service was down at the old Masonic Temple in San Clemente. That was with Dr. Jackie and Leslie Harrold. Later, they moved to another space on Serra and I went there, and then they moved to San Juan to that space where they were for a very long time.

What do you remember about when you first visited our Center?

The first thing I ever got as a newcomer in my little kit was a cool cassette tape. It was Ernest Holmes’ radio broadcast from the 1940s in LA on Sunday morning and he started his broadcast, “There is a power for good in the Universe and you can use it.” He said, “And I can use it now and we can use it now.” That was the greatest thing; that little speech of his. He was a strong teacher. This Thing Called You is my favorite book.

Was the Center’s congregation very big?

In the early years there were about 50 to 60 people in the congregation. It was enough to fill up the Masonic Temple. There were classes then too. When we moved to San Juan, the membership really started to pick-up because it was more centrally located and it had a bigger space. You have to remember that there wasn’t a Congregational Church and Unity was all the way up on Ridge Road, so there wasn’t much for people seeking a New Thought church.

I lost most of the people I did go to church with in the beginning. They are gone now. People don’t realize what comes before you. It’s so powerful, all these people that kept this place going for so many years.

What’s changed?

Of course, what’s changed is the service; the addition of more music, more professional musicians, and the need for this kind of thinking in the world. I think that the idea of Universal Oneness is pervasive. We are all growing together. Now we’ve got Deepak Chopra, Louise Hay, Wayne Dyer. I think this teaching is more attractive to people. It seems more sensible.

Have you taken any classes?
I’m not the most intellectual Science of Mind student but one of the things on my bucket list is to get up to the Science of Mind Founder’s Church, which is only around the corner from where my twin sister lives in Los Angeles. That’s one thing I would like to do because Ernest Holmes may actually be a relative. I’ve got 10 or 12 generations in New England where I came from and Holmes is one of our family names so I always think that between Emerson and Holmes I might really be part of the family. I might have to break down and take some classes. I have the SOM book, I read it here and there. I’d rather do things for other people with my time than study it, but you never know.

How do you incorporate this teaching into your life?

The Science of Mind magazine just squares away my day. I don’t always buy a new magazine but I keep a pile of them and I play Science of Mind magazine roulette. I pull one out, open to the number of the date and there it is. They work. I give away a lot of the old magazines. They are very powerful for people who need help with their thinking.

Are you happy you found us all those years ago?

I think it’s been a very powerful contribution to my life, especially to stop myself from getting wound up in drama. It’s allowed me to be there for my friends for one thing. I think that’s one of the most important things you can do for someone; be there with good thinking.

Thank you Lisa for sharing your story with us!

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