History of the Science of Mind Philosophy in Bournemouth
A Look at 'New' Thought
By Arthur Diver (1915 - 2010)
It is hard to know where to start - For everything there is an antecedent, nothing just starts spontaneously. A single point or person cannot be said to have started Science of Mind in Bournemouth. It is generally thought to have been the Rev Kathleen Green, but there was a Dr E. Qunion teaching New Thought and Spiritual Living, before Kathleen Green, from Gordon Road, Boscombe - There was also a lady, whose name I forget, who came from Wimbledon and gave Science of Mind Lectures one Sunday in every month at the Norfolk Hotel - opposite Boscombe Gardens. (It has long since been demolished).
Madame Gaubert was teaching Science of Mind in London before the start of Rev Kathleen Green in Bournemouth - before her a Miss Raven was holding forth with her Science of Mind talks in London.
And even before that we had Judge Troward (1847-1916) with his Edinburgh and Dore books and lectures.
And even before that there was a lady, a Mrs Callow who gave Thomas Troward his first platform date to present his ideas.
Then there were those wonderful poets like - Browning - Tennyson - Keats, all teaching advanced transcendental ideas to all humanity.
And before that …………well, you can go on and on back through the Biblical Times and the Greek philosophy of Aristotle - Plotinus - Confucius (the great Chinese philosopher), right back to the Egyptian King Akhenaton, 1379 BC - the first person we have records of who taught Oneness, who caught the idea of the Mystery of God in man. All of this made it very difficult for Akhenaton to reign for here he was, this man of high birth, from a line of kings and gods, saying he was on the same level as his subjects.
In this period of history of many tribes, there were many wars. After the battle all prisoners were killed as a matter of fact - it was the order of the day - destroy all prisoners - Akhenaton, as he caught the transcendence of a cosmic life force through all stated "Do I not destroy my enemies when I love them ?".
No doubts there were antecedents to Akhenaton's thought.
And so it goes, on and on and on
Back to Science of Mind in Bournemouth
After Kathy Green came back home from her long period of training with Dr Raymond Charles Barker in New York, she was enthusiastically fired by the Teaching and was determined to offer it to all who would accept it. Thus the unfolding and expansive consciousness of Kathy Green became the springboard for the rapid expansion of a great number of earnest eager students desiring to enhance their life and living, their thinking and their actions, in a positive and spiritual way.
As this Group of spiritual, focused people enlarged, the idea of a church was born - it was not unanimous but it carried the day. Rev Kathy Green set the wheels in motion. The result was the United Church of Religious Science (UCRS) in America (nowadays called United Centers for Spiritual Living - UCSL) agreed to send a Minister and fund her for one year - and so we had the arrival of the Rev Jean Amos. She settled in with her Sunday Services and class teaching.
After a while little 'niggles' began to surface and before very long there was a complete break down in policy and the Group split up. The Rev Amos and her supporters meeting at the Round House Hotel in Lansdown and the others remaining with Rev Kathy Green.
So we now had two Groups, both holding Sunday Services - both conducting classes - both teaching from the Science of Mind Text book by Ernest Holmes.
A beautiful idea born in spiritual harmony was now splintered. As Rev Amos was appointed and funded by the UCRS, her Group was looked upon as the official Science of Mind Group.
Rev Amos returned to America and Nora Boyd, who had in the meantime been on a 'crash' course at Headquarters in California, was back and she was put in control - with tremendous success, and it grew with tremendous life and enthusiasm.
After three years she was ordained as Minister of the Church in a Service conducted by the Rev Orrin Molan who had flown in from America.
The church continued to grow in great strength and it was good to be there on Sunday morning. And so it continued for many years right to the time Rev Nora retired.
I must now go back to the Group led by Rev Green for that too had made progress. Rev Kathy Green held her Sunday meeting in the afternoon - there was no singing - To begin there was a short period of meditation with beautiful music very softly playing in the background; everybody taking part, creating an atmosphere in which all problems, all misunderstanding and fear - they simply were not there - they had dissolved into their nothingness, in this exalted state of being. There followed a short prayer-come-treatment and then on to the topic of the lecture. And the system worked wonderfully well - satisfying all.
With Rev Green's knowledge of the circuit many prominent Science of Mind Ministers were introduced as speakers to the eager Group - Dr Bill Hornaday - Raymond Charles Barker - Donald Curtis - Sir John Templeman - Dr Whitehead and many who have slipped my memory.
I must state that Rev Kathy Green and her Group had now become affiliated to the International Association of Religious Science Churches (RSI); a Group of Science of Mind Ministers who themselves had left the United Church (UCRS) and formed churches which were successful and were growing at a really tremendous rate.
Things moved quietly onward for several years - Rev Nora's Group moved to the Alma Road Youth Centre and continued to expand to fill a great need.
Rev Kathy Green's Group was also beginning to grow and blossom as she established herself at the 'Friends Meeting House' in Boscombe. She organised two 4 day seminars at the Durley Hall Hotel - they had been advertising nationally in the 'Here's Health' Magazine and in several ladies magazines. Kathy Green really excelled herself. The hotel was fully booked with 200 attending; people from all parts of the Country.
As Rev Kathy Green was well advanced in preparing for the third seminar, she had a severe stroke and died in Poole Hospital two days later.
The Group adjusted to this experience and continued - voting to proceed with Arthur Diver (myself) as President (and doing the Sunday afternoon talks). I had omitted to state that all the meetings were in the afternoon. I tried to change that but could not please everyone and it remained an afternoon meeting until the end, in about 12 years time.
We are now on our way to complete the circle and we must move back to Rev Nora's Group.
It had been moving along quietly doing its own thing with having dinners and other activities to keep the folk happy and interested.
It was around this time that Rev Nora announced her retirement - there had been no preparation for this so there was no Minister to step in to have a smooth change-over.
The Trustees decided to try to engage a Minister from America. This was going to be a lengthy process. This was overcome by the arrangement of Arthur Diver and Rev Ralph Seelig doing alternate Sunday mornings - Rev Seelig was a 'Unity' Minister living in Brighton, Sussex.
A lady Minister eventually came along, namely Rev Mae; she was only here about 19 months and then she went back to her home.
Another long wait for a minister to come from America………and a return to the previous 'Diver and Seelig' arrangement for the Sunday meeting.
I was still doing my own Sunday afternoon meeting plus having my own job of work to do each day starting at 2 o'clock in the morning.
After a while Rev George Hamilton II came along - a proper American - In a few months he had hired the Odeon Cinema in Bournemouth Centre, but he quickly emptied the coffers and in a short while he was away.
The Trustees of UCRS still wanted a Minister from America; they obtained one with strong English connections; the Rev Rita Parr. It was while Rev Rita was settling in that as the leader of RSI, I received a suggestion from UCRS in America, that it would be to the benefit of both Groups if we merged and thus have one Group only. I put this, as leader, to my members; they were not in agreement, but I went ahead and merged with Rita's UCRS.
As I have said it was not unanimous and not many followed me; of those you did, they did not stay long. They could not, or would not separate the Teaching from the personality.
Despite all the Teaching - personality was up most in their mind. All that was seen was a person they felt they could not harmonise with. It was their loss.
Rev Rita's health forced her retirement after much hard and sometimes un-thanked effort.
This is where Rev Anya Slatter comes into the mix and adds her own flavourings with my highest thoughts and my blessing for all that is creative, uplifting and prosperous.