On September 22, 2019, four candidates were ordained at the Community Miracles Center's Sunday Gathering. Their talks during the ordination service are below with light editing.
♦ ~ Rev. Lydia Huston ~ ♦
CMC Minister #116
First of all I wish to extend my sincere gratitude and love to the CMC for the guidance, fellowship, and knowledge offered me to become one of their ministers. A Course in Miracles was designed to be a form of self-study that anyone could undertake on their own. However as the Course tells us repeatedly, we do not awaken alone. We cannot claim our place in Heaven without our brothers by our side.
The ministers at the Community Miracles Center have devoted their lives to helping their brothers through that open door to truth. Rev. Kelly, my instructor for ACIM-1, and Rev. Paul, my instructor for ACIM-2, I thank you both from the bottom of my heart for your patience, love, and guiding hands without which I would not be here today. I sought ordination initially for myself alone. I never pictured myself as a minister but I knew that I could only benefit from two years of intensive study of A Course in Miracles.
As those two years progressed, I came to see that I could be a Teacher of God, not as a charismatic leader holding sway over the masses, but as a simple woman living a simple life. The difference would be that I would live my life by the power of unconditional love and forgiveness for myself, for all my brothers, and all of creation. If that is all that I ever do with my title as "Reverend," that will be good enough for me.
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My path to ordination was not always easy. In those years, I've dealt with a few family crises. I've missed a few classes, but something inside of me – which I recognize now as the Holy Spirit – kept me on my path forever urging me forward. Even in the midst of extreme emotional stress and fear caused by my identification with the ego I could hear the words, "You can do this. Don't give up."
Those words sustained me as did the beautiful and poetic words from the Course. Here are a few of my favorites. "Each of us is the light of the world, and by joining our minds in this light, we proclaim the Kingdom of God together and as one." (OrEd.Tx.6.38) "I am the light of the world. That is my only function. That is why I am here." (OrEd.WkBk.61.6) "Miracles enable man to heal the sick and raise the dead, because he made sickness and death himself and can abolish both." (OrEd.Tx.1.27) "To heal is to make happy." (OrEd.Tx.5.1) "The world will end in joy because it is a place of sorrow … The world will end in peace because it is a place of war … The world will end in laughter because it is a place of tears."(OrEd.Mn.14.5) and finally, "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)
I plan to integrate my study of the Course in my profession as a chef, nutritionist, and educator, by seeing each of my clients – even those who do not hire me – as healed, whole, and perfect because that is what they are in truth. I will serve every client with joy in my heart because the Teachers of God are wholly joyous. Never again will I see a diagnosis before me. I will see the innocent and holy Son of God. I will see the light in them. Thank you. (applause)
♦ ~ Rev. Deborah Marlin ~ ♦
CMC Minister #117
A Course in Miracles was introduced to me a little over three years ago. It was actually through the classes of AA. In the early pages of the Course ... you are going to hear this prayer again because this is the prayer that definitely spoke to me. It's the same prayer that Lydia just read to you but it is my favorite as well. "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)
I come with 35 years as a nurse. When I read that prayer, it really resonated with my heart. I have always known that I was here to be truly helpful and nursing has been a very helping profession.
The other thing that the Course did for me relates to being raised Roman Catholic. I've done a lot of searching out there, and I had a lot of questions that nobody could answer. When the Course said "Are you willing to look at your thoughts?" that's when I got it. I said at 51 years of age that I was ready to look at my thoughts. I was ready to question them.
About two years ago – I had met Rev. Tony a little earlier in Utah – I got an email from the CMC talking about this pastoral counseling certification class. At that point, I was working on my master's degree. I thought, "I want to do this. I want to help people in recovery." That was really my main goal. I went into this with the intention of, "I want to have a counseling business." I know how grateful I am for my own recovery path, and I can truly help other people.
So I started on that journey. The Holy Spirit has helped me to reframe my life. Through the lessons of the Course I found that forgiveness and love have helped me to detach from what was an appearance of a very painful past. The lessons also helped me avoid the anxiety of the future and find the peace of mind of living in the present moment. That's where God's Voice is. That Voice is always there for me for wisdom and guidance. The lessons also teach me that life and love are eternal and that we can learn to live in that holy instant where the Voice of God is.
The lesson that has helped me the most, and has been the most instrumental for me, is Lesson 188. "The peace of God is shining in me now." (OrEd.WkBk.188) It says in that lesson that "This light cannot be lost." (OrEd.WkBk.188.2) That lesson has kept me very grounded through these initial years of recovery. To come out, to make amends, this has run very parallel to AA, with my twelve-step program, about making amends and forgiveness.
Thank you Rev. Kelly and Rev. Tony for keeping me going. I have definitely faced a lot of challenges as many of us do every day. The times when I really wanted to quit, when I thought it was all too much with recovery and there was a lot going on, you both kept me going as did the Voice inside, Holy Spirit, saying "Hold on. This is the right path." For me, the concept of my brother has changed. It's an awareness and honoring that there is a brilliance, a holiness, and an eternal, within that will go on forever.
As far as practical life application, I have decided to stay in healthcare. I have been accepted to a chaplain program. That will be a six month certification program. It's going to be busy. It's going to be another six months of really hard work. That is truly what the Holy Spirit is like, "Ok, now let's go on and open more doors." It's happening. I know that is the right path for me.
My new life motto, and what I feel that Holy Spirit wants me to carry forward, is that through willingness, gratitude, and hard work, I have the ability to change the course of your life. That power and that strength lies within. That's the Voice of God. That Voice is always saying, "You can do this! You can do this!" It's always encouraging. I get so much encouragement from Holy Spirit. When I'm down and out, the Holy Spirit is always there to encourage me. Going forward, the biggest shift in perception for me as a nurse is to see my healing in a very different way, I now have the perception going forward to see my brother as healthy, whole, healed, and complete, because that is what I see within myself. I am very grateful for all of you and it's been a wonderful weekend in San Francisco. Thank you all. (applause)
♦ ~ Rev. Sharon Martin ~ ♦
CMC Minister #118
I want to say that coming here today to this ordination and being ordained is a dream come true. I searched for many, many years for a spiritual system that I could live by, and believe in, and that was very positive in my life. A friend of mine, who was a mentor, recommended I look into A Course of Miracles, and once I did, I was hooked.
I want to thank everybody for having me for two years. I won't let you down. It's taught me a lot of things. It's given me more hope. It's given me patience. I will explain what that means to me in a moment. The Course has given me an understanding of fellow human beings, forgiveness unlimited, seeing others as healthy instead of as sick human beings, being non-judgmental, and has given me strength of character. It has brought so much peace and happiness in my life and tranquility.
The Course's positive ideas and thoughts help me be a good role model. I'm a role model at work because I deal with the severely, persistent mentally ill. A Course in Miracles has helped me understand what happened to me. I had a breakdown many years ago. The Course has given me the strength to come out of that. I got my Master's in Counseling Psychology. Now I help other people get their life together and A Course in Miracles has given me the strength to do that. I now have an unlimited understanding to give to all my members for where they are. Sometimes I am the only person they talk to that day, so I want them to grow like I have.
The Holy Spirit came to me in my journey and led me to decide to work with terminally ill children, which I am doing today. It's a place that is in a resort and I go down when I can. I help wherever I am needed. From that, I am going to tell you a little story.
The first day I was there for orientation, it touched my heart. These little children live A Course in Miracles. They don't need a class in it. There was this one little boy, Lucas, and he lost his blanket. There was a chapel there with cardboard clouds. Afterwards when he told his parents that he lost his blanket, everyone started looking for his blanket. Nobody could find it. They went to Lucas and said, "We're really sorry. We can't find your blanket." He said, "That's okay. I threw it up in the clouds and it's waiting for me in Heaven." So that really, really, really, touched my heart.
As I said, these kids are happy. Going to Heaven is just a stepping stone for them. They have accepted death far beyond what we have. They teach me more than I teach them.
Another goal of mine, to do with my pastoral counseling, is to go to disaster areas when I retire, which is in five more years, when I am 70. I am going to work with people who have lost everything but themselves to get their hope back and on track. I will give them my love and understanding that they still have themselves. I want to do it with the Red Cross or on my own, however I can. I will go to hurricane disaster areas. As you know in Florida, we have many of those. I want to just help out. So between the kids and going to disaster areas, that will be my retirement.
I was homeless once. A Course in Miracles gave me the strength, hope, and encouragement to carry on. I've come a long way since then. One of the A Course in Miracles concepts that came up during my class, and that I truly love, is that you receive as you give.
I have another little story about that. I love stories. I have a girl friend that has been diagnosed with schizophrenia and she suffers with severe depression. I stepped in and sent her flowers thinking that would brighten her day. Instead she refused them and told the florist to take them back. My ego reaction would have been, "I didn't even get a thank you!"
But Holy Spirit, with Rev. Paul's help, showed me that the instant I gave then I received. It's either a cry for help or an extension of love. She cried for help and I extended my love and that's all I needed to do. We are still friends today. We've been friends for almost thirty years. I still send her flowers. (laughter)
Another place that A Course in Miracles has helped me is that I lost my mom about ten years ago. We were like best friends. We still are, even though she isn't physically there. My father remarried, and I don't get to see him physically as much as I'd like to. He was a deacon at a Presbyterian church, but he doesn't show his affection the way I would want him to. It's not about me. He does love me. He came to Texas when I had my breakdown. He brought me home. He stood by me. I have to remember all that because he doesn't say "I love you." He's very proud of me being here today. He shows things in different ways. A Course in Miracles has taught me to accept the things for how they come to me and not try to have them my way.
I'll end since my buzzer went off. Don't give up. Miracles happen every day. (applause)
♦ ~ Rev. Jack Owen ~ ♦
CMC Minister #119
I want to thank you all for having me here today. It's a real pleasure to be here. Like all of us, it was our time. It was time for us to be awakened to our opportunity to step out and say "Hey, I am." That means a lot. "I am."
I am kind of informal. I have a lot of appreciation for what I've gone through and for what other people have tolerated with me. I used to think I just had things ass backwards in my life. I felt out there all alone, like I was a fish out of water. I came to find out that I was just misperceiving things, misunderstanding, misinterpreting things. It took me awhile to actually get to a point where I actually accepted myself.
What happened for me was that I began thinking that I needed to start reaching out and stop judging. I didn't realize how much judgment was a part of my life. It's not that I walk around judging this, that, and the other – it was an internal thing. I was more judging myself than anyone else. I had to overcome that. So what I started to say was "What I need to do is share with people to understand what is going on with me."
When I started sharing with others, I actually started out … I'm only going to go through a little bit of this but most of it I'm going to "forget." When Rev. Tony saw my notes he told me it was going to take about an hour. (laughter) I am going to tell you about a tenth of that. Believe me, I can talk for hours. I am going to keep it at least somewhat according to my plan.
I was blessed and able to get with a group that was very loving, that was very dedicated to A Course in Miracles. They were willing to share with me what was in there. I really needed that. I needed to come out of my shell. You never would have found me doing something like this at any time for most of my life. I had to come out of that shell and A Course in Miracles was able to do that for me.
I'm really appreciative of this ordination. I wanted to thank all of you, whether you were directly or indirectly involved, in my awakening process to learn that I am One, and I am Oneness. I also want to thank all those who are just watching who have played a part in sharing with me and helping me to become open and accepting of myself. I am realizing that all and everyone is just a reflection of me. I am grateful. I always had somebody to turn to and call on. Everyone out there is just my reflection, So I'm never alone. I always have someone to turn to and I had to accept that. It wasn't as if I had to judge them first. I had to stop doing that and just accept that they are my reflection, whether they choose to be how I wanted them to be or not, it's not my responsibility. What matters is what I do, and I've come a long way.
There are reasons I sought becoming a minister in A Course in Miracles. I will read you a couple of those. They include becoming less confused and I had a desire to reduce the conflict in my life. I began changing my mind about seeing commitments and responsibilities to this world and more to my spiritual being. My expectation about following worldly views and my loyalties to them were becoming less important. I began to realize my differences from others – this was kind of a biggie – my differences from others was only my level, just my level of understanding how much I had separated myself from Oneness. This is a big one. I did this work to become more acutely aware of how much fear, doubt, judgment, distractions, and justifications, had impacted my sense of wholeness. I did have a lot of folks helping me. I'm not going into that because I don't have that much time.
I want to talk about my pathway to here, this ordination today, briefly. I was initially impacted by Gary Renard's The Disappearance of the Universe. Some of you know what that is and have read it, some of you have not. For me, there was a lot of things in there – I thought I was ass backwards, and Gary really helped me come out of my shell and realize that sharing was really important. Almost blindly, I did the ACIM lessons on my own. I didn't have anybody to share with but I thought "I have to do this." I needed to do it. It opened my eyes and awakened me. My path to ordination today involved a lot of things. I am willing to share that with anybody, because I like to share and sharing is a big thing for me.
One of the biggest things for me that impacted my life and still impacts my life is, "I could see peace instead of this." (OrEd.WkBk.34) Everyone has their underlying saying that really impacts them and this one has carried me through so many things. I go back to it and I find I can overcome anything because I can set aside all those judgments, all those fears. Once those are gone, there is nothing left but love. So it really helped me out.
Just real quick I wanted to share with you my "Who is God? Who is Jesus? Who am I?" I am just going to read that. "God is that undefinable presence known as love and Oneness. Jesus was a projected embodiment who actually used the learning process to discover and accept that he too was actually love and Oneness." We wonder what we are learning and that's part of it. "Myself," who am I? I am a projected embodiment who continues to use the learning process to convince myself that I am love and Oneness.
I have come to understand that loves extends the eternal while illusion projects the temporary. This is very important. As long as I don't want to be a part of Oneness, I project an illusion of myself. ACIM is my journey and I am honored to say that I am an ACIM minister. Thank you. (applause) ♥
Rev. Lydia Huston, Rev. Deborah Marlin, Rev. Sharon Martin, and Rev. Jack Owen were ordained on September 22, 2019 as the 116th, 117th, 118th, and 119th ministers respectively of the Community Miracles Center.
Community Miracles Center
San Francisco, CA 94147
This article appeared in the November 2019 (Vol. 33 No. 9) 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.