On July 16, 2016, three ACIM-2 graduates were ordained by the Community Miracles Center. The ordination was held via telephone conference call. Rev. Joshua Haun, Rev. Elvira Diaz Sanchez, and Rev. Mary Thomson were ordained as ministers #96, 97, and 98. The articles below are lightly edited versions of what the newly ordained ministers shared as their first talk as Community Miracles Center Ministers.
Rev. Joshua Haun, #96
Thank you Rev. Tony. I am actually cracking up because I was looking at that and thinking, "Why am I first? I didn't jump into the class until after Mary jumped in." (This was in response to Rev. Tony stating that the minister numbers were assigned alphabetically by ordination date.)
I appreciate the Community Miracles Center and the time it has devoted to my growth, the time that has been set aside for me to learn more about what I'm doing to keep myself from the Atonement. It's been an interesting journey of two and a half years. A journey of getting to know everyone there and going to the Conference in New York to see most of you in person.
What I found was that A Course in Miracles truly has served as the guiding light in my life in the sense that no matter what the situation, big or small, it's been able to meet me right where I was and take me to a different experience. Not that the book does it itself, but the Course gave the spiritual toolkit to be able to rely on a wisdom that is greater than my own. I still feel called to learn, and that's why I feel called to teach. So I am excited to use this experience as a Minister of God, as a Teacher of God, and now as Reverend Joshua Haun, to learn what it is that is blocking any awareness of love's presence so that I may offer my blocks to Holy Spirit. My experience with the Community Miracles Center has been such that I've been given opportunities to look at that. The Conference in New York City (April 2015), where there was a talk from Rev. Tony, caused me to look at how I was seeing the history and context of A Course in Miracles. I had to see where I stand; I had to see if I had a stance.
Then again, the ability to see Rev. Tony in his underwear (April 2016 in Las Vegas) giving a talk about A Course in Miracles was an experience. All of these opportunities bubbled up for me. I want to also mention the two years of weekly discussions, and diving into the material at deep philosophical and theological levels. There was also the internalization of the practice that really laid a solid foundation for me to be able to look at how I am applying the Course's thought system. This sure was a discipline for me that I really needed and this was the perfect way to do it – not too heavily demanding, and also not too loose.
So I really do appreciate the Community Miracles Center, and I am grateful for this opportunity to stand in truth as a Child of God and to align with others in such a way that they can see that for themselves with Holy Spirit's guidance through me. Thank you.
Rev. Elvira Diaz Sanchez, #97
Well thank you all, and I am thankful to everyone who is here. Thank you Rev. Paul for those words of wisdom. I didn't get to have a class with you but just hearing you today helped me to think about learning with you. I would love to get to know you even more.
Rev. Tony, I was in your class for most of the time, and I love your conviction. I just love that. I think when you say "Thank you" you say it from the heart, and I just love that. You supported us. That was one of the teachings I got from you.
Rev. Kelly – you taught me how to do the lessons when I started the ACIM-2 class and I am very appreciative, because it was really hard for me at times. I didn't know what was going on, and it was nice to have your guidance. That was great. Rev. Sharon, oh my God. You are so peaceful and loving. At times we'd spend more than an hour on the phone, and I am so grateful for that. Rev. Roxie, every time I did a lesson with you, it was like I had a personal teacher. I remember when we read the lessons, and then we'd read the commentary from A Workbook Companion** and sometimes we would read more than just the lesson commentary. I just thought, I'm so grateful that you gave me that extra time that I needed to do the lessons. I'm very grateful to the Community Miracles Center because it takes a lot of people for us to be ordained, and to have this gift of being in truth with ourselves. I thank you all for being there for us.
One other thing that I got from A Course in Miracles was trust and confidence in who I am, and knowing that I'm not here by myself. I have guidance. I can always reach within and walk with that guidance. I can let go of fear and know that I am connected at all times, and to be aware, to be vigilant every single day – and this is now my truth. It's not just getting this information but applying it to my daily life and I'm really grateful for that.
When I first decided to go into this program, it was funny for me, because I grew up with no religion. My parents are doctors and my mom always wanted me to grow up and find my own spirituality.
One day I was driving in the car and I'm one of those persons who is always talking to God. I said, "God, what's next? What are we doing next? How are we moving forward?" I had the vision of "You have to be ordained. You are going to be ordained." When I had the vision, I was like, "Are we crazy here?" I mean, I had no idea about religion. I thought being ordained, and being a "Reverend," was about how much you know about the Bible which is totally not true.
Then I had to look for a program that was the right fit for me. I knew it had to be non-denominational. I needed to know it was more about reaching within. Then a program appeared, and I tried it for a few weeks but it didn't work. Then I found Community Miracles Center and it was the perfect match.
When I grew up – from a very early age, from two or three– I took on the story that I had a speech impediment. I thought, "I'm not going to speak well, and I'm going to always have problems with my speech." That is just a story, and I understand that. But when I came to this class, it was all about talking on the phone, not seeing anybody, and it totally psyched me out. But with the love, understanding, and the support from every member of the class, I just felt more at home, and then even more at home. It gave me more confidence to just be who I was and to not worry about what my blocks are. Just do what you have to do, and people are there to support you and to love you. I am very grateful to each person, each classmate I had. One of the things I learned from that class, being in that class, was that we were all teachers and we were all students like the Course says. At times I had to give my words of wisdom, and I knew that God was going to help me. Also for me, most of the time, it was just sitting down and listening to what others had to say – to get the wisdom of the team, as a student and as the teacher. I then learned that we all take this information differently. Every single person is doing their best and is understanding the Course according to our own lives and our life experience. Each of us has that special essence to teach this teaching to other people who can understand as they gravitate to us.
I am very grateful to see that we all come to the Course in all shapes, colors, and all different backgrounds. That is beautiful to me because then I know that this work is given in many different ways, yet the same message is given. So I'm very grateful to each of my classmates. When some of them would spend two or three hours on the phone, it was exciting. We were only required to do the lesson and yet we decided to spend an hour together on a daily basis. I had fun. I had a connection with the people talking about the Course which was something I cared for so much and I'm passionate about. One of the things I'm taking from being a Reverend is that this is a gift that God has given me. I am being entrusted with a gift of God just like Lesson 166 says. It's given to me. Now it's my time to honor that gift and to help other people. It's time to be that teacher to other people as well as a student. Every encounter is meant to be there. Every encounter is a gift of love, and so I think of this class with love, gratitude, and understanding. I'm very grateful for the Community Miracles Center and for this opportunity. So thank you.
Rev. Mary "Thomson" (now "Haun" – they married), #98
Yeah! Yeah! I just want to let you know how truly excited I am. I am a little surprised at how excited I am at this moment actually. I truly feel blessed, honored, and eternally grateful to every one of you, to the entire family of mine at the CMC. I am just so honored to be a part of this family whose chosen job is to extend God's love. I am truly among giants and teachers of God.
I thank you for everything you have offered and taught me through the last two and a half years. Honestly. Preparing for today, I emailed Rev. Kelly back and forth. "What to say?" Trusting Holy Spirit; Holy Spirit can do things.
I had written a little piece, because a good friend of mine had asked me a question about a month or two ago, about why we talk about Jesus so much. The whole Jesus journey has been huge for me. I was raised as a pretty strict denominational Lutheran. I had awe, and yet fear and shame, around that whole story line. I have come a long way. I've come full circle. A Course in Miracles has really been the tool to get me in touch with my inner teacher.
So you have the context of what was going on when I was writing this, I had just seen the movie Awake about Paramahansa Yogananda. That was on my heart when this question came in. I'll go ahead and read what I had written. It is incredibly meaningful to me. I really take it as a vow that I'm making along with Jesus. So here goes nothing!
"Jesus is my Guru."
"The question was recently posed to me 'Explain your love of Jesus.' Just thinking of the question stirs emotion. How does one explain the debt that they owe a friend? Not for their actions, but for their love and devotion to give all to you. A debt for which repayment is not expected, in fact nothing is expected in return at all, just a gentle request for more time together. I don't have the words, but I do have evidence that has resonated and sparked the desire within my heart and which has driven me closer and closer to the Love that I want to give, as my brother has given me.
"I did not recognize at certain times of despair that it was Jesus who pulled me through. Now, with a spark of clear vision, I know that is true. When I prayed for: life, a second chance, forgiveness, love, peace, hope, or ease of heartbreak – he was there. He has always been there, often in forms which I could not recognize at the time, but it was he who has been with me all along. It was the opening of my heart that has revealed him to me, and I am truly humbled.
"Jesus has been my comforter and encourager, and wants to bear my burden. He holds my hand, helps me to laugh and reminds me that I am not of this world. He looks into my soul and ignites the divine. As I have been willing to lose myself to this love, and let my own self-concept and judgment fall away, I feel the pull to this constant love like a magnet, in which like attracts like, and which I am losing the desire to resist any longer.
"Jesus has showed me that we are the same, that I have never sinned and that my worthiness can never be changed or be disputed. These concepts have not been born to me in a book, but rather through the relationship that I have been willing to have. Books and theology are helpful only to prep the mind for the experience that is yet to come. The experience has come as I have been willing to let my desire fuel the reawakening of my true nature, which at one point was lost almost entirely to me. Once Unconditional Love's presence has been felt it is impossible to forget or to desire anything greater. It is this that I had forgotten, but only for a moment, choosing now to follow the one who knows the way for all.
"I know that it is not asked of me, but the only way I see fit to repay this debt that is not owed, is to fully commit myself to Love, to Jesus and to be shown the way. Just as Yogananda or Buddha has lit the way for so many, my guru and brother has been shown to me. I will hurry along my way home, knowing who walks beside me.
San Francisco, CA 94147
This article appeared in the September 2016 (Vol. 30 No. 7) issue of Miracles Monthly. Miracles Monthly is published by Community Miracles Center in San Francisco, CA. CMC is supported solely by people just like you who: become CMC Supporting Members, Give Donations and Purchase Books and Products through us.