On May (23), 24, 25, and 26, 2019, Community Miracles Center hosted the 2019 International *A Course In Miracles* Conference, "The Power to Heal" in Boston, MA. Here, the nine CMC ministers who were Conference Staff are reporting their experiences for you.
Into the Heart of Boston
by Rev. Peter Graham
CMC Minister #40 Ordained 2.23.02
Prior to our Conference in Boston, Rev. Tony had been talking up the city of Boston. He was especially excited about downtown Boston where our host hotel, the Omni Parker House, was located.
Indeed we were situated in the heart of Boston, literally across the street from the start of the Freedom Trail and within easy walking distance to the site of the Boston Massacre, Tea Party, Bunker Hill, and many other famous sites. This revealed Boston as the Heart of the American Revolution but for those of us attending "The Power to Heal" Conference, it would demonstrate another aspect of the Heart.
On Friday morning of the Conference, when we were preparing for meeting the Presenters, it already felt amazing. I just knew the Conference was a sort of homecoming for the ACIM community. When we met with the Presenters, I strongly felt this vibe of healing and oneness which was the theme of the Conference. I looked around and saw Robert Perry sitting along with Gary Renard with whom there had been a controversy of ACIM teachings in the past. The healing seemed quite real. Additionally, there were some new Presenters who brought their own energy and enthusiasm.
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I was fortunate to be able to experience some of the new Presenters and like the returning Presenters they possessed the heart and healing that A Course in Miracles is moving us toward. As always, I found Rev. Kev, inspiring, insightful, and profound, and it was a great way for me to kick off the Conference.
For the first time, I was able to see Maureen Muldoon and laughed at the humorous way that she spoke about her experience of healing in her life. It was at times raw and real, but it was delivered with heart and humor. Her talk left myself and the participants feeling as if we could not only relate to Maureen but we could heal using her example of faith, courage, and forgiveness. Truly, the power of healing was front and center and happening now.
I felt that the theme of this Conference was one of those themes that was holographic. By this I mean that I think the essence of A Course in Miracles' message can be expressed in several different ways and "The Power to Heal" illustrated this. I also think that the concept of atonement, forgiveness, and the holy instant, represent the essence of ACIM. The power of this message resonated because I kept hearing over and over from the attendees how well the Presenters were addressing the theme. Perhaps it's cliche to say that we were all on message but that seemed to be the case and the punch of the Conference reflected this.
I also felt fortunate to have been able to see some of the local Boston A Course In Miracles teachers such as Vicki Thomas' presentation which showed me the heart of ACIM. Her energy and story was so powerful. I loved how she trusted her organization's members who gave testimonies of their own healings. I loved the story by the former emergency room doctor Rod Chelberg who asked Jesus for guidance to help heal trauma victims. He shared about seeing the Christ during his interactions with patients in great distress and how healing of the Spirit took place before his eyes. He also shared how he followed his guidance which led him to spot misdiagnosis and prescribe the proper treatments saving the patient's suffering and sometimes their lives.
The beauty and heart of this Conference concluded on Sunday. Rev. Tony gave a rousing sermon challenging us all to embrace our role as healers in our own right. Delivered in the spirit of the Black Church, he had us responding by saying "Amen" and "Hallelujah." However, this time the words of excitement were for the message of A Course in Miracles that is challenging us to heal and to extend our healing to others.
I also recall the personal conversations that I had with participants. I was transformed by these more than anything else. In several of these encounters they told me their own healing stories or how they had helped others to heal and how it moved them closer to God.
There were so many other experiences that opened my heart like seeing my fellow staff help the attendees and Presenters with grace and love. Rev. Tony and Rev. Kelly showed amazing spirit, love, patience, and determination to make this venture succeed. I came to Boston in hopeful anticipation and left with an open heart. I love you all!
It Was Weird...
by Rev. Kelly Hallock
CMC Minister #89 Ordained 9.13.15
I have one word to describe this Conference which is "weird." The Conference wasn't freakish or grotesque (a couple of dictionary.com's definitions for "weird"), but for me, it was definitely unusual. It was (most) everything I hoped for and yet the experience was not what I had expected. All of which has made me somewhat reluctant to write this reflection as I believe in being honest while still being upbeat so here it goes!
In preparing (and at) the Conference, my duties are extensive – ranging from: scheduling the Conference Staff, to buying parking vouchers for the Presenters, to coordinating tourist excursions – just to give some examples. It's a lot. Ultimately I brought three pieces of luggage with me (a carry-on filled with paperwork, another carry-on with miscellaneous items I would need on the flight or immediately thereafter, and an oversized piece that I checked), a stroller for Curie (my service dog), and Curie with me. I'm sure I was quite the sight walking through the airport, but the one thing that cannot be said is that I came unprepared.
This was Rev. Tony's ninth time hosting the Conference while it was my third. We are both very detail oriented and between us, we have a fairly good grasp on the operational aspects of putting on a Conference. So, everything went pretty much according to plan and anything that was unexpected was able to be handled. At the end, it seemed that everyone had a really great experience and we shipped everything back to San Francisco with the feeling that things had gone well overall.
And that is where it gets weird for me. In previous years, whether due to my inexperience or something else, there was a certain euphoria at the end of the Conference. There was some sense of surprise that it had been successful and I hadn't made any major mistakes. There was relief that we had gotten through the Conference without any major mishaps. And this year, I didn't have any of that.
At the end, sure I was glad nothing had gone really wrong, but mainly my thoughts were along the line of, "We learned from previous Conferences. We planned; we were prepared. We handled any problems as well as we could. Now it's done and we start working on Los Angeles." The success of the Boston Conference just seemed to be the logical outcome given the work that we had put into it. "Time to move on to the next one" summarizes my mood. Boston is over and Los Angeles is getting started. There isn't any real excitement over either. It's just how my workflow is.
I believe the 2020 Los Angeles Conference is going to be amazing. I'm very pleased that the theme and quote that I proposed to the Conference Theme Committee was chosen. I even provided my initial thoughts for the logo which became the basis for our design artist's final rendition of the globe wearing glasses. (See page #5.)
So I recognize that being at the 2019 International A Course In Miracles Conference in Boston was part of my job. Being at the 2020 Conference in Los Angeles will also be part of my job. It's not a vacation for me. It's not even a few days where I volunteer. It's part of my job. Which means the euphoria may not be present, but it is an event that I am committed to and believe is fulfilling part of my personal calling to be of service and to share Love whenever and wherever I can.
I guess that's why Boston didn't elicit a bigger emotional response from me. Though it was exciting, busy, and I know life-changing for many, I know that all that was done was the work of the Holy Spirit. I did what was asked of me. I took the next step. Holy Spirit did the rest and I am grateful to have been able to play a part in it – and compared to God / Holy Spirit, it feels like my part is pretty incidental. Yet, I'm glad I was chosen to be a part of it. I hope I just did what was asked of me. That is my intention each day.
So, I look forward to Los Angeles with the same expectation that I had of Boston. I did live in the Los Angeles area for over twenty years so I feel a bit more confident about navigating everything there. I know the subway better. The hotel is a short walk from where I used to live. Yet, even if I didn't have that prior experience with L.A., I know that there is ultimately over a year of planning, lots of organizing, many phone calls, reams of paper, and a few airplane trips, that will go into it.
Like Boston, I expect things in Los Angeles to go well. If they don't, I believe someone will have the guidance and the skill set to take care of whatever needs to be done. After Los Angeles, I believe we will be heading back to the East Coast. I expect it to go well also with lots of planning and work going into it.
What's the worse that could happen? We've had a few "flops" along the way but we have continued moving forward. With time, hurts have been healed; friendships have been restored. And I know that all things are working together for our good, so even if something seems to go horribly wrong, Holy Spirit will use it anyway for our awakening.
So, with that, I again say "Boston was weird." I suspect that weird may become my new normal since the weirdness was that the Conference felt like a normal part of my routine. I can't share with you any dramatic revelations that I received. I can't tell you that it was amazingly life-changing. But I do believe others had those experiences and my normal is being a part of that – and being a part of wherever Holy Spirit puts me.
I look forward to seeing you in Los Angeles and may my weird become your wonderful experience of a Conference!
Keeping Busy in Boston
by Rev. Dusa Althea Rammessirsingh
CMC Minister #21 Ordained 10.17.97
I thought the Conference was excellent. Rev. Tony and I arrived at the Omni Parker House hotel on Monday. The Omni Parker House is the oldest operating hotel in the in the U.S.A. It is close to many stores and restaurants.
We arrived early on Monday and had time to do a few tourist things. We went on the famous Swan Boat ride which remains as it was originally created in 1877. We also rode on the park carousel. It was good to walk through our nation's oldest public park, the Boston Common, which was opened in 1634, 142 years before the Declaration of Independence was signed. We went to lunch at the Kinsale restaurant, an Irish pub style restaurant. The fresh fish was very good.
On Tuesday, Rev. Tony and I rented a Zip car and went to Costco to pick up the snacks for the Presenters' welcome baskets. We also went to Home Depot to get beautiful potted orchids for the bookstore tables. Afterwards, we met with Rev. Kelly (who had just arrived) for dinner at The Bean Town Cafe which was right next to the hotel. This was another Irish Pub style restaurant. These are very common in Boston.
On Wednesday, Rev. Tony, Rev. Kelly, and I, met with the Convention Service Manager to finalize the set up for the meals. The Manager made sure there was enough variety to meet peoples' food preferences. After that, Rev. Tony and I walked to the Old State House where the Declaration of Independence was first read to the public in Boston. On Wednesday and Thursday, the Staff were given several tours of the hotel so we could let the Presenters know where the meeting rooms were located. My first meeting with a Presenter was with Jennifer Hadley. I gave her the gift basket and a tour of the hotel. Then I met with Mari Perron and Mary Love. We sat and talked for a short time then I gave them their baskets and the tour.
For the first time, we had a Pre-Conference workshop on Thursday afternoon. This year it was Jennifer Hadley who focused on ACIM study group support. On Friday, registration was from 12 noon - 2:00 p.m. Then at 2:00 p.m. was the official opening of the Conference in the Rooftop Ballroom. Rev. Tony, Rev. Kelly, and I, each introduced ourselves. I don't know what I said except I was the 21st minister ordained by the Community Miracles Center on October 17th, 1997. I had written down what else I was going to say, but when I got up on podium I just spoke from my heart.
The main presentation room, the Rooftop Ballroom, was on the 15th floor. We had to take the elevator to the 14th floor and then walk up one flight of stairs. If the person had mobility issues they had a smaller elevator to take them up to the Rooftop Ballroom. The chandeliers were exquisite in this room. This is where we had our big meetings and our Saturday night dance party with a live band named Brandy. That was so much fun.
The Conference bookstore was on the Mezzanine level. All of the Presenters had a table for their materials which was a good opportunity to meet the Presenters and talk to them. Other books were on tables in the center of the room. The bookstore business kept us busy! The meals were also on the Mezzanine level which I thought were all very good. At the evening buffets I was glad to try the hotel's famous Boston Cream Pie. Actually it is not really a pie but a cake with a cream layer.
A Course In Miracles has been truly a blessing for me. It has helped me shift my mind when I have been in difficult situations. When I got introduced to ACIM I had stopped searching for a spiritual practice since so many religions focused on sin. The first ACIM meeting I attended was the First Friday Healing Ritual in 1991 at the Community Miracles Center in San Francisco. I started to study ACIM because it did not talk about sin and you did not have to believe in God. I continued to study A Course In Miracles in CMC classes, and then I became the 21st minister on October 17, 1997 — on my birthday. I continued to study ACIM and a couple of years ago I got introduced to A Course of Love. I think ACOL "softens" ACIM. I feel very supported by both ACIM and ACOL as a spiritual practice and glad to have been able to spend time with teachers and students of both at the Conference.
Healing My Fears
by Rev. Sharon Casey
CMC Minister #114 Ordained 09.16.18
On May 22nd, I stepped out of my comfort zone and headed to the Sacramento airport to board a flight for Boston, Ma. I found comfort in the simple thought that I would soon join with "mighty companions," many I knew and so many I had yet to meet in person. (Wink)
With me I took what I affectionately call, "my happy flying pills." As I boarded, I realized I hadn't taken one. I got settled in my seat, debating as to whether I should take one or not. I asked the Holy Spirit who quickly reminded me the fear of flying was in my mind, "Nothing can harm the child of God and you are His child." I felt comforted and safe. I did not take a pill, not during my flight to Boston nor my flight home.
Another healing experience, that I did not truly realize until I returned home, was losing the fear of public speaking. Before my Saturday morning talk I felt horrible; not only for myself, but for my loving fellow Staff members (I was not all that pleasant). My heart was pounding and my mouth was dry. I felt I couldn't think straight. There was this part of me that wanted to get up and run out, to never return again. Yet, I did get up and speak and felt very comfortable (thanks to all of you).
Since my return home I've spoken several times on stage at my church in Modesto, CA with ease and not had a second thought about it. We are told in the A Course In Miracles, "When I am healed I am not healed alone." (OrEd.WkBk.137) And that, "Miracles are natural. When they do not occur, something has gone wrong." (OrEd.Tx.1.6) Within our awareness they spring forth and present themselves. They often go unnoticed, yet they are there for those who are willing to think that we can see things differently.
As I arrived in Boston everyone I met, seemed so familiar and was so very kind. This would be my second Conference and my first of having the pleasure of being on Staff. Being on Staff is a blessing I had not expected to receive. For one we had the opportunity to join with everyone who attended.
Being on staff is like being everywhere at once. We had a rigorous schedule which I enjoyed and appreciated, as I knew where I was supposed to be and when, at all times. There were lessons for me as I'm very independent; even so I welcomed the challenges. (Setting ego aside as often as I would allow myself to do so and that would be more often than not. For this I am grateful.) Knowing God's plan for me is simple Trust and Joy.
That being said, I would be reminded of Jesus' words in the Course, "What would You have me do? Where would You have me go? What would You have me say, and to whom?" (OrEd.WkBk.71.11) And then, "I am here only to be truly helpful. I am here to represent Christ, Who sent me. I do not have to worry about what to say or what to do, because He Who sent me will direct me. I am content to be wherever He wishes, knowing He goes there with me. I will be healed as I let Him teach me to heal." (OrEd.Tx.4.106)
A few of the highlights for me was our joining in the Ballroom for the Sunday Gathering with all the attendees (Mighty Companions, Teachers of God). Here we were joined in a way that words cannot describe. Simply put, "It was Beautiful." The dance party (also in the Ballroom) was a blast; with all inhibitions set aside. We exhibited the "The Joy of Oneness" in a way that only A Course in Miracles students can do. "For the Son of God is free. And in his freedom is the end of fear." (OrEd.Mn.28.4)
On May 22nd, I stepped out of my comfort zone and found myself in a lightened, lifted, whirling, swirling, joining, and healing place that is in everyone I see. Truly how beautiful is the face of Christ that I found in you? The Peace of God belongs to All! Love and Light.
by Rev. Vincent Fuqua
CMC Minister #51 Ordained 10.02.04
As I take a moment to reflect on the recent A Course in Miracles Conference in Boston, it brings a sense of healing for me even now. This was my 8th ACIM Conference as a Staff person and it continues to get better each time. I felt that this Conference was at the perfect time for me as I have been working through numerous healing opportunities in my life.
Before I go into those healing opportunities though, I would like to give thanks to all the amazing Presenters that were there. I felt that they were able to take it up a notch and brought so much wisdom and healing to all that had attended. It was clear how open all the Presenters were to share their experience with others and give space for the attendees to share their experiences as well.
Thinking of the people who attended, I would like to give thanks to them for being so open and present throughout the weekend. I watched how interactive and vulnerable participants were. The love and healing energy that was coming out of them enhanced the experience.
Finally, I would like to give thanks to the amazing Community Miracles Center (CMC) staff that I had the opportunity to work alongside throughout the Conference and the amazing leadership of Rev. Tony and Rev. Kelly. One of the beautiful things about CMC Staff is the remarkable experiences that each and everyone of us bring. Those experiences allow us to continue to evolve and heal this world that we are in. We would not be able to do that without the trust and belief shown to us by Rev. Tony and Rev. Kelly who allow us to be our true selves.
As I mentioned earlier there has been and continues to be opportunities for me to heal. The Course has allowed that to happen for me. One of the biggest things that the Conference has allowed me to become aware of (and confirmed) is that healing is taking place for me in this world around racism.
Dealing with racism has been a big part of my life and learning to heal those wounds through the Course has been remarkable. At this year's Conference, there was a Presenter, Freedom Cartwright who talked about healing racism. That brought healing to me in ways that I never thought possible. I always felt that I have been doing a good amount of work on myself healing racism, yet I allowed myself to be open and go deeper during Freedom's presentation. It was a great reminder for me that I need to heal my own wounds first before I can heal racism that exists in this world that I am in.
This Conference has lifted me up and given me the strength to take on my own internalized racism and racism in the world in a new healing way. It is allowing me to see the love in all the people in this world and to send nothing but loving and healing messages.
As a Course student it is important for me to acknowledge that this is not always easy. Yet I know that I have the guidance of Holy Spirit to ensure that I come from love and not fear. As I continue on in my journey in this world, I will treasure and hold onto the remarkable experience of the "The Power to Heal" and bring that to light in all aspects of my life.
All I Can Say is "Wow!"
by Rev. Steve Ibarra
CMC Minister #110 Ordained 06.09.18
As this was my first Conference on Staff, I was blown away by the amazing work/advance planning/organizing the Conference took – including preparing and training the Staff.
Rev. Tony and Rev. Kelly (and Curie), as well as Rev. Peter and Rev. Vincent, answered my stupid questions even about the hats and outfits. It was a brilliant Conference! The Staff schedule is color coded and it deserves a big wow! Organization in all was great! I loved having the Staff person and Presenters list provided to me. Wow!
Registration was handled brilliantly. All the pre-arranging for that was another big wow! Rev. Kelly sent me reminders which are big for me including directions from the airport to the Omni Parker House. The hotel staff, the food preparation, and how the hotel interacted with the Conference Staff was amazing!
My favorite job by far was "schmoozing" in the dining hall with hotel staff and our people. I am a devout people person – big luv! I received 10 times that love back! Wow! The Omni Staff and our participants get a big wow! I loved the Presenters that I was liaison for: Craig Villarrubia, Corinne Zupko, and Maureen Muldoon who was my favorite - wow!
I learned I am capable of all of this x10 as I grew up multitasking with love! I grew up with a violent alcoholic father and I am used to being the protector of the family. So when my passport (my only valid ID) was lost just before the Conference, I was able to handle it like a pro and still got there on time. The planning of my roommate was gracious. I love Rev. Lucas (they).
I think going to Hollywood in 2020 brings a spark to people's eyes so I am excited about the 2020 Los Angeles Conference. I do a lot of promotions and use these a lot to promote Los Angeles big time. I want to help promote Los Angeles / Hollywood! I am lucky to work in the Community Miracles Center's office so I have really been paying attention so I can be faster and more knowledgeable for the Los Angeles Conference.
I made the suggestion that a Staff / welcome person should be at the back of each big general session. It would help to have one of the Staff encourage people to not block entrances or interfere with the walkways, answer questions, have programs at the door, and assist with lighting, chairs, or Presenters as needed.
The band Brandy was very good and I had a great time at the Saturday night dance party. I also loved Robert Perry, Vicki Thomas, Rev. Manuela Turnow, and Mari Perron. I loved how Craig Villarrubia and Corinne Zupko bounced ideas off of each other.
Okay! It was fabulous! I am sending a big "Thank you" and I was blessed to be on Staff!
I'm Not a She (or a He)
by Rev. Lucas Sanchez
CMC Minister #103 Ordained 04.08.17
"The Power to Heal" Conference in Boston was my third time attending a CMC Conference and my 2nd year as Staff. Because I worked the S.F. Conference last year, there was some ease because of that. I remembered a bit of what to expect.
Yet I still had the same anxieties leading up to the Conference as the previous year: not being able to sleep in my own bed, not having my required down time (for being an introvert), constantly being misgendered, having to explain my pronouns, and the dreaded speaking in front of the general assembly for up to 5 minutes on what the theme of the Conference meant to me.
Since this is being published in the Miracles Monthly and possibly read by someone who does not know me personally, let me explain a bit about my gender so you understand why I care about pronouns. I feel really anxious being around people, particularly strangers who I have to be around in close proximity for extended periods of time. When people look at me, most of the time, they see a woman, but that is not how I see myself at all. This is what makes me transgender. But I don't exactly see myself as a man; this is what makes me non-binary.
A lot of non-binary people, including myself, don't identify as strictly male or female and want people to use "they," "them," and "theirs," pronouns when referring to them in 3rd person. Whenever someone refers to me as a "woman," "ma'am," "lady," or uses "she" or "her" for me, I feel very uncomfortable. But, I really can't avoid it every time I go out into the world.
I recently made the decision to medically transition, among other reasons, so that people would stop seeing me as female. Although I don't feel like I'm 100% male, being perceived as one feels a whole lot better than being seen as a woman. I love women. I'm just not one myself.
So in nearly every interaction I have with people I meet and even with people who have known me for awhile, I have to have this conversation if I want to be respected for who I am and how I want to be addressed. This is exhausting even in my everyday life. So being at a Conference, even one where people on the surface acknowledge that we as people are not the bodies we seem to inhabit, is taxing in a unique way that perhaps only transgender people could understand.
There are some parallels on how able-bodied people perceive and interact with people who are disabled. I wish I didn't have to give this long explanation of this aspect of my identity when writing a reflection of my experience of this Conference but being transgender, often misunderstood (even amongst progressive people) and feared by others, effects nearly every aspect of my life.
So all this being said, my experience of the Conference went better than I expected. I think this was partly due to having my first injection of testosterone hours before boarding my flight to Boston. The Omni Parker House hotel proved to be both beautiful and historic in a very center of Boston. The staff at the Omni were amazing, going above and beyond in meeting the needs of everyone I heard talk about them.
I am very grateful to have been the liaison for three presenters: MaryBeth Scalice, Rev. Maria Felipe, and Dr. Bob Rosenthal. All gracious and lovely people whose talks were both engaging and enlightening. We had an excellent team for the Conference Staff this year. Despite it taking extra time to set up the bookstore with some hiccups along the way, the issues were worked through with grace dexterity.
Thank you Rev. Tony and Rev. Kelly for all your hard work and attention to detail. It was great to listen to the panels of all our speakers during the general assemblies. This really gave me the opportunity to hear a sample of what each speaker was talking about even though I was not able to see most speakers in their breakout sessions. The vegan meals were excellent this year and I was able to have some enriching conversations with a number of attendees when we were all dining together.
At the Sunday Finale, I had the opportunity to give the opening prayer and share what "The Power to Heal" means to me by sharing a bit of my gender journey. It was met with good reception with many people thanking me afterwards for speaking. Each of the Staff did really well, commanding the stage with their own flair. Rev. Vincent got a standing ovation for his talk on racism and Rev. Tony had a rousing message inspiring the audience to join in a chorus of "Amen!", "Alleluia!", and "Hell Noes!"
As a whole, the Boston's Conference went well, and certainly marked a significant moment in my personal and spiritual transformation. Thanks.
Singing with the Divine
by Rev. Kim Wilson
CMC Minister #85 Ordained 03.15.15
Being the 8th Community Miracles Center (CMC) Conference I have had the pure blessing of attending and the fourth CMC Conference I have actively worked with Rev. Tony and Staff, one would think I would know ...what do I think more of everything is?
Community Miracles Center sponsored Conferences offer everything. I love the customer service given by CMC with astute attention to detail and genuine caring for the equality of experience for everyone concerning everything. We receive good vibes in location, overnight amenities, and delectable nourishment to satisfy every palate at a CMC Conference.
This year 2019 in usual gratitude, I especially focused on the opportunity to karaoke sing (without the bouncing ball) with Rev. Tony on stage! I love to entertain and in song is one of my favorite modes of entertainment. In some of the words of songs we sang this year I want to expound. We want to show you what love is. Let's let our love flow. I see the light in your eyes. Holly holy, that's life. We do not come together to save the world, but to heal through song, play, and seeing others as Christ as we see ourselves. If you haven't figured the CMC Conferences out yet, I'll let you in on a secret – we love to entertain. Yes, that's life at the CMC and this 2019 Conference was the best day of my life.
And you know what? Presenters at Community Miracles Center Conferences are divine. The following are noteworthy A Course In Miracles words shared by Presenters: "Trust would settle every problem now." "Miracles happen!!" "Equality is unknown to the ego." "I will not disturb my peace."
Here are things some Workbook lessons are teaching me. Lesson #101: Teachers of God are happy. Lesson #94: I am as God created me. Lesson #133: I will not value what is valueless. Each choice you make brings everything to you or nothing. Lesson #137: Who forgives is healed. And knowing that when I am healed, I am not healed alone. I would ask you, Child of God, to forgive me now. I have come to take you home with me. And as we go the world and all that is in it goes with us on our way home to God.
And you know what else? Attendees at Community Miracles Center Conferences are divine. The following are noteworthy words from A Course In Miracles shared by attendees: "Healing is the one ability that can be learned." "The gifts you have are not for you alone." "Teach them by showing them the happiness that comes to those who feel the touch of Christ and recognize God's gifts." "Become the living proof of what Christ's touch can offer everyone."
My favorite parody song derives from The Sound of Music "Don't climb every mountain. Don't search high and low. Don't follow every byway. Or every path you know. Don't climb every mountain. Don't ford every stream. Don't follow every rainbow. Or you'll never leave this dream." Another The Sound of Music parody favorite of mine is for understanding judgment called "My Ego's Favorite Things" "Darkness and terror and utter destruction. Sickness and death and slowing down for road construction. Geese that can't fly with oil-spill coated wings. These are my ego's favorite things."
I close this reflection with my joy that I am the living proof of Christ's touch. His touch made me like Himself, eternally in love with all that God is. No need to analyze, interpret or decide anything. I shout with joy that God's word is given me to speak. What is God's word. "My Son is pure and holy as Myself." (OrEd.WkBk.276.1) See you in Disneyland and Los Angeles for our next get-together, Community Miracles Center 2020 Conference themed "20/20 Vision for the Real World."
Kick Healing Up a Notch
by Rev. Tony Ponticello
CMC Minister #20 Ordained 10.19.17
The Boston Conference, "The Power to Heal," was the 9th A Course In Miracles Conference I have had the honor of organizing and running for my church, the Community Miracles Center. I know that it is probably not the most "politically correct" thing to declare, but Community Miracles Center is a church, it is the church I belong to, and the church I work for. It is "my church." Mine not in ownership; mine in belonging.
All the other Community Miracles Center Ministers and members are my family of choice, and I actively choose them each and every day. I choose to dedicate my life to these family members and I continually get blessings in return. Counting myself, there were nine Conference Staff members this year which is a large number. Since you are reading this special issue of Miracles Monthly you will have heard from them all by now. I want to send a special blessing of love and light to my wonderful Conference Staff:
Rev. Peter Graham - Rev. Kelly Hallock
Rev. Dusa Althea Rammessirsingh - Rev. Sharon Casey
Rev. Vincent Fuqua - Rev. Steve Ibarra
Rev. Lucas Sanchez - Rev. Kim Wilson
After the Conference is through we send a survey out to all the participants. We get a very good response rate on the survey. We got 209 responses from 386 attendees. That is a 54% response rate. 60% rated the Conference "Excellent." 31% rated it "Very Good." 7% rated it "Good." So that is 98% rating the Boston 2019 "The Power to Heal" Conference good or much better! These are excellent results by any standard.
Not everybody loves everything of course. The feedback surveys are anonymous so people feel quite free to give feedback even when that feedback is not positive. One comment we heard maybe 3 times was why do the Staff get short opportunities to address the entire assembly? The Conference Staff, Community Miracles Center Ministers, are not A Course In Miracles teaching professionals. Are they truly ready for "prime time" like that?
The short answer is "Yes." Truly! The longer answer is this is the procedure that has evolved over many years and many Conferences as we have worked to equalize and blur the distinction between Presenter and participant. After all, we are all equal A Course In Miracles students and teachers. Listening to what the not so polished and experienced students and teachers have to say is the perfect bridge for many of the participants to feel more connected, and it is that connection to the whole ACIM community that truly distinguishes Community Miracles Center ACIM Conferences from other similar events (are there really anything "similar?") happening in our ACIM Community. Also, lest the eight other Staffers get the wrong idea, the overwhelming feedback from the survey is a deep appreciation of all that the Staff does and the things that they share when they get their five to seven minutes at the microphone.
The other factor is that it is the Staff that is literally creating the Conference. They are in the middle of the energy that is bringing the Conference into manifestation. They are more connected to the whole of the Conference than any of the Presenters. The Staff's ability to center in, and give a Holy Spirit guided message to the whole of the Conference is the best available. I would not miss their contributions for the world and, for me, they are some of the Conference's best moments. They are more diverse, more real, more full of empathy and heart, and more connecting and connected than whatever else goes on. Plus the core Presenters all get an ample and equal time to put their messages out. There were 18 Presenters or Presenters Teams at the Conference, and if you add yours truly that means there are 19 ACIM "professionals" on stage for a vast majority of the time. I think it is more than enough.
I get several very short opportunities to share during the Conference plus one longer one – my sermon was exactly 20 minutes this year. So I actually get less time than any of the other Presenters and this is fine. I already feel like the world is full of the words that Rev. Tony Ponticello has written about A Course In Miracles over the years. Just go to the Community Miracles Center web site if you want to see just a small percentage of the articles I have written during the 33 years that I have had this job. They would fill many, many books. In fact in sheer number of words written and published I just might be the most prolific ACIM author out there. I know Ken Wapnick has written a lot! Of course so has Robert Perry and Jon Mundy. However, don't forget that this is the 387th issue of Miracles Monthly. Probably 60% (maybe more) of the full length articles are by me, which I estimate are probably, on the average, about 4,250 words. That would mean I have written, and the CMC has published, about 1,000,000 words relating to ACIM written by me! That's a lot of written words, and I have spoken a vast amount more.
I can say, in all honesty, that the words I spoke during my sermon at the Sunday Finale were among the best I have ever spoken. I will try to convey to you all the process I undergo while deciding on my talk for the Conferences and the preparation. I always see these opportunities as time to put my best foot forward. "Yes" even Las Vegas was me putting my best (naked) foot forward! I started getting guidance about the Boston talk a full year before the event. I knew I was to use the Black Church as a model and encourage a rousing audience response of "Amen" "Hallelujah," and "Hell No!" I am truly blessed, and so fortunate to have a regular Sunday Gathering that I can speak at to practice my Conference messages. However understand that there is a tremendous difference in speaking to 10 to 12 people (our average Sunday attendance in San Francisco) than speaking to 350.
What I want to convey now is that the message of practical healing I gave in Boston on Sunday May 26th in the Roof Top Ballroom at the Omni Parker House Hotel was, and is: genuine, enthusiastic, and inspirational as the whole A Course In Miracles is for me. I was so happy to share it and even a little nervous leading up to it. But, "Hey" – not as nervous as I was in Las Vegas when I knew I was going to take all my clothes off (well not quite all, but there was almost a costume malfunction which would have really left nothing to the imagination!) If you haven't seen my Boston Finale yet please watch it on YouTube: < http://bit.ly/revtony_nothing_beyond >. Watch it not just because I think it's the best ACIM talk I have ever given, but watch it because I believe it will kick your own healing up a notch.
My favorite part of every Conference is not something the attendees participate in. It is the Pre-Conference meeting with all the Presenters and all the Staff on Friday Morning at 10 a.m. right before the Conference actually starts. We join in purpose because setting the goal belongs at the beginning. Everyone is there. The big picture you see in the centerfold was taken from that Friday Pre-Conference meeting. I told all the Presenters and Staff that my goal was to kick healing up a notch for the whole A Course In Miracles community at the Boston Conference. I think we succeeded. Up until that meeting the Presenters don't even know when they are speaking. The schedule is mostly kept a secret. We want all the Presenters to be fully engaged and fully involved. And they are. I am so grateful for the 21 of them and for our special musical guest Neda Boin as well. They all played the game with us one more time, and it all happened perfectly.
I like to talk at that meeting about how, up to that point, putting on the Conference is like rolling an enormous boulder up a very steep mountain. That meeting is the mountain top. We take the big group picture, we hand out the schedules, and then the boulder that is the Conference starts rolling down the mountain to the finale. At that point Rev. Kelly and I couldn't stop the Conference even it we wanted to. It has a life of its own then. It's out of our hands after that and in the Holy Spirit's. And "Oh," it is so much fun to take the ride with that boulder as it crashes and bounces down that mountain side.
At this moment Rev. Kelly and I are actively putting together the 2020 A Course In Miracles Conference in Los Angeles "20/20 Vision for the Real World." We have a tremendous line-up of Presenters again. We also have a stunning group of tourist activities which include: Walt Disney World, Universal Studios, La Brae Tar Pits, the Getty Museum complex, Dodger Stadium and maybe even a Los Angeles Dodgers baseball game on Memorial Day May 25, 2020. The Conference will be held at the Omni Los Angeles, downtown L.A. in Presidential Plaza. The dates are May (21), 22, 23, and 24, 2020 which is Memorial Day weekend Thursday through Sunday. And "Yes" you can register right now! ♥
And the universe had "other" plans. The Covid19 pandemic hit in March of 2020 and the Los Angeles Conference was canceled. The CMC is still waiting for the guidance (as of April 5, 2022) as to when and where to have a future in-person ACIM conference.
Community Miracles Center
San Francisco, CA 94147
This article appeared in the July 2019 (Vol. 33 No. 5) 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.