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Center for Spiritual Living provides a homeless shelter

By JOHN HISLOP For the Redlands Community News Sep 27, 2019

Holmes Hall at the Center for Spiritual Living Redlands being used as a temporary shelter for the homeless. Photo courtesy of Joe Nelson, Center for Spiritual Living, Redlands

Ed Torres, board president of the Center for Spiritual Living Redlands, believes that it’s not enough just to offer the homeless a free handout. That alone, according to his experience, only encourages homelessness.

The key, he advocates, is to take the second step and provide them with a hand up out of their situation.

As cities and counties across the U.S. continue grappling with their respective homeless issues, the federal courts have established precedent that cities and counties cannot criminalize homelessness. Authorities can’t arrest or cite people for vagrancy for sleeping on sidewalks in parks, or other public places if no other shelter is provided.

Since 2016, the city of Redlands has ranked No. 3 among San Bernardino County’s 24 cities in the number of unsheltered homeless persons, with 183 reported in 2019.

Despite its countywide ranking for its unsheltered homeless population, the city of Redlands has no cold weather or temporary shelters for homeless men, women and children.

On Jan. 16, Redlands police and code enforcement shuttered the city’s only cold-weather shelter, operated by Set Free Church at 200 E. High Ave., because of code violations. The closure displaced roughly 20 homeless men and women during the worst winter storm of the season.

At that point the Center for Spiritual Living Redlands stepped in to provide a temporary cold weather shelter for the displaced women at its 875-square-foot Holmes Hall at 602 N. Church St, while two other local churches — the River and Holy Name of Jesus — subsequently provided shelter to some of the homeless men through March 31. The center received assistance with its shelter operations through March 31 from the Redlands Charitable Resources Coalition, a local charity providing aid to the homeless.

The Center for Spiritual Living Redlands’ Holmes Hall consists of four rooms, a waiting room, living room area, a restroom and a full kitchen. (Upgrades are underway to make the restroom and entrance ADA compliant). In one room, homeless clients sleep on mats on the floor and have storage space next to their sleeping area for their personal belongings.

The homeless were provided for by two daily shifts of volunteers, spanning from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Dinner was prepared and served at the beginning of each shift followed by breakfast prepared and served at the end of the second shift. Volunteers could and did sign up in person or online for schedule slots and duties.

Since the Cold-weather program ended in March, the center has continued operating as a safe shelter for a small group of homeless women. This effort has spawned what is now envisioned as the Safe Shelter program and is considered by the center as one of the key components to reintegrating such individuals.

Homeless clients sleep on mats on the floor with adjacent storage space for personal belongings. Photo courtesy of Joe Nelson, Center for Spiritual Living, Redlands

The center also helps individuals obtain necessary ID and other legal paperwork, which is important to be able to integrate back into society.

What is to happen with the homeless in Redlands going forward?

To the Center for Spiritual Living Redlands and other faith-based organizations, it is clear that the homeless issue necessitates hands-on community action.

The center is offering to join other nonprofit organizations and advocacy groups in the fight against homelessness by providing the community with an option it strongly believes will have a significant impact in reducing the homeless population in Redlands.

In the more than eight months it has operated as a homeless shelter, the center’s staff and volunteers have developed a six-month shelter program and established a budget to cover operating expenses. It is the center’s vision to see this program replicated by other churches citywide as one of the key components to reintegrating such individuals.

Homelessness in the Redlands area is too big an issue for any one entity to solve but by a coalition of concerned individuals and entities working together to provide the necessary money, manpower and materials it can certainly be managed on a much more acceptable level for all concerned.

For more on the Center for Spiritual Living Redlands visit cslredlands.org.

Email comments or ideas on how to address the homeless issue to: johnrcnreply@gmail.com

Original Article

Response to Presidential Remarks

On Sunday, January 14, 2018 Dr Kenn Gordon and the CSL SMSE posted this statement “Response to Presidential Remarks.”  In the face of the escalation of racist remarks and chants we’re currently hearing, we post this statement again. 

Centers for Spiritual Living

Response to Presidential Remarks

 “As a child, when I was bullied and called names, my mother tried to give me strength by teaching me the old adage ‘sticks and stones will break my bones, but names will never hurt me.’ It was useful for me to hang onto then, and still comes in handy now.  The only problem is that it’s not true. The words we use have a fundamental impact on us and on others. First, our words demonstrate what we really believe. Second, our words literally shape our experience, as the narrative we tell becomes the filter through which we see the world. And finally, in some fundamental way, our words shape the very fabric of Life itself by providing the mental equivalent in consciousness for the Universal Laws to use to shape reality.” 

~ Rev. Dr. Petra Weldes

In the Science of Mind™, our founder Ernest Holmes, states: “Jesus plainly tells us that we are held accountable for the very words which we speak.  No man ever lived who placed a greater power in the word. ‘By our words, we are justly condemned.’ The word may be considered to be the complete thought and act of man. There must be a thought before there can be an act, and a thinker before there can be any thought. The thinker condemns or justifies himself through his thought.”

So now we come to it…the words used by a person in power that are vulgar, racist, demeaning, and absolutely demonstrating what is in the mind and heart, as well as the world that is trying to be created. The President of the United States has time and again used harsh and racist language, most recently about residents of Baltimore and a black Congressman, shirking his responsibility to represent the highest values of the nation. This is not an isolated situation, but part of an ongoing pattern of racist behavior, and many will pay the price.

This is NOT the world we, as spiritual beings, are creating together. This is NOT the world that we, as human beings, want for our children. This is NOT the world that we as people of faith believe is what the Love of God is seeking to express through us. This is NOT the world that we, virtually all descendants of immigrants, indentured servants or slaves, are dreaming and building together. Every civilization has its ugly elements; the best leaders strive to help their society rise above limitations rather than validate and encourage them. Citizens are right to expect leaders to set an example based upon higher values. We speak out on this issue because we are called to do so by the spiritual principles which we hold dear.

Let us remember that words DO have power. Let us hold loving and compassionate intentions and speak words that demonstrate what we think and believe thereby living from a deeper spiritual reality. Let us celebrate and affirm our connection, oneness, and love for each other, our global family. Let us call to account ourselves, our friends and colleagues, our communities, and our leaders for the words that are used. Let us demand civility and respect for all people from our leaders and from one another.

From Centers for Spiritual Living Global Vision:

We envision a world in which we live and grow as One Global Family that respects and honors the interconnectedness of all life; a world where this kinship with all life prospers and connects through the guidance of spiritual wisdom and experience.

We envision a world where personal responsibility joins with social conscience in every area of the political, corporate, academic, and social sectors, providing sustainable structures to further the emerging global consciousness.

We envision a world where each person has enough food, a home and a sense of belonging; a world of peace and harmony, enfranchisement and justice.

We believe in a world that works for everyone. While we may not perfectly know what this looks like, we do know that striving for it, speaking about, and claiming it with our words are a way to make it a reality.  Words DO have power. They have the power of truth in them. And Words of Truth, aligned with the spiritual teachings of the ages, “love thy neighbor as thyself,” create the world in which we all want to live.

Blessings to All,

Spiritual Motivated Social Engagement Committee

Dr. Kenn Gordon, Spiritual Leader
Dr. Petra Weldes, Chair
Rev. Andriette Earl
Dr. Jim Lockard
Rev. Sara Nichols
Rev. Abigail Schairer
Rev. Mark Gilbert
Sara Awad, RScP
Layne Taylor

Full text of Centers for Spiritual Living Global Vision

The Power of Spoken Words by Dr. Hyder Zahed

Words for the shootings in Gilroy, El Paso, Dayton, & Brooklyn this summer

Words for the shootings in Gilroy, CA; El Paso, TX; Dayton OH;  Brooklyn, New York; and so many more this summer in the USA, and for those suffering violence & bigotry.

adapted by CSL SMSE Committee from Masando and Rebecca Hiraoka’s Prayer for El Paso, TX  posted by MileChurch, Denver CO.

This weekend alone we must face, yet again, a peculiarly American tragedy – 3 mass shootings in the USA. The shooting in El Paso, like so many others, appears to have been driven by bigotry and the hatred and fear that bigotry creates. It is tempting to turn away from this news because we are numb from all the other days we’ve woken up to similar news of mass shootings, of bombings, of all manner of violence in the USA, and around the world, carried out in the name of division, fear, and bias so deep it rots the bones. 

We are asked, however, by the Spirit of Love & Unity that runs through our veins, that knits our communities and families together, and by the principle of Oneness by which we live to stand strongly and clearly in our compassion for and  support of  those who are suffering. 

We lean into the knowledge that Spirit is alive in El Paso, Dayton, in New York and CA, in the USA, and in the  world. We know that every moment Spirit is supporting us into a life of both compassion and action. Love asks to be multiplied, even in the harshest conditions. 

Today we hold in our hearts all those experiencing the terror of gun violence. We will not turn away from the suffering. We mourn for and honor our precious sisters and brothers whose lives were lost. We know that comfort and all needed resources are surrounding those who have lost loved ones. We know Divine healing is present at the bedside and in the bodies of those fighting for their lives in the hospital. We know comfort and Divine guidance for the first responders and medical professionals serving those impacted by this tragedy. 

As spiritual scientists, we know that what is happening in the world today is a reflection of a consciousness that is festering in the US and around the world.  We hold in our hearts all those who suffer under the weight of their own bigotry as we allow our own bias to be healed more and more each day. May we continually wake up to our Oneness with all of life. May we see God in all people and all living things.” We also know that words matter.  When the rhetoric of the time, particularly from the highest political offices, separate, divide, and call out our darkest selves, it makes incidents like these more likely.  

In this, we realize that Love is also ushering us into collective action, to bring forth a transformation and healing of the USA’s addiction to gun violence & bigotry.  We trust that each one of us is guided to take the right, necessary, and inspired actions that fosters healing, individually and with others who are  inspired to create systemic change.  We are, every day, celebrating diversity, fostering peace, and deepening belonging of all beings. We are divinely called to this work of peacemaking. 

We are grateful for the beloved community and this spiritual family that steps up and mourns together, provides resources, pours compassion into pain, and dares to build communities of peace where all people belong and are safe. 

With love for our human family, we release these words into the Universe knowing that hope, compassion, resources, love, and healing are alive today and always wherever these tragedies strike, in the United States, in the world, and in the hearts of all people. We Trust in Divine Guidance, our collective moral courage, and the willingness to act for the raising and transformation of consciousness.

In Love and Service,

The SMSE Committee

Dr. Kenn Gordon, Spiritual Leader
Dr. Petra Weldes, Chair
Dr. David Alexander
Dr. Jim Lockard
Rev. Andriette Earl
Rev. Mark Gilbert
Rev. Masando Hiraoka
Rev. Sara Nichols
Rev. Abigail Schairer
Sara Awad, RScP
Layne Taylor

Standing for Human Decency at our Borders

Dear Centers for Spiritual Living Leaders, Practitioners, and advocates of a world that works for everyone,

During many moments in history, faith leaders have been responsible for causing significant and beneficial change towards those experiencing inhumane, unkind, and unjust conditions, through conscious peaceful actions.  We have many examples of the power of this throughout recent history: Gandhi, Mother Teresa, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., along with public leaders such as Nelson Mandela. 

As faith leaders, we know we “treat and move our feet.” This  is our moment to join a groundswell of voices and actions to take a stand for what is right, just, and humane at our borders. This Monday, July 29, 2019 a group of 400+ faith leaders, including a group of our own CSL ministers, will be standing for humanity on Moral Monday in a peaceful, nonviolent action called by Dr William Barber at the detention centers in El Paso, Texas. Let us unite in prayer and consciousness with those faith leaders. Please join us in holding the high watch for a resolution that is for the highest good for everyone involved and know with us that safety and love permeate this experience. 

Let us join together in individual and collective actions dictated by our consciousness that embody the qualities of Inclusivity, Wholeness, Safety, Love, and Peace for those at our borders. You can get involved by holding a prayer vigil and dialogue in  your own community in support of our global vision:

 We envision a world where personal responsibility joins with social conscience in every area of the political, corporate, academic, and social sectors, providing sustainable structures to further the emerging global consciousness.

We envision a world where each and every person has enough food, a home and a sense of belonging; a world of peace and harmony, enfranchisement and justice.

Just as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. envisioned the Beloved Community, we can stand for that and more. 

From the King Center:

In the Beloved Community, poverty, hunger and homelessness will not be tolerated because international standards of human decency will not allow it. Racism and all forms of discrimination, bigotry and prejudice will be replaced by an all-inclusive spirit of sisterhood and brotherhood.

Thank you for standing in our Vision and empowering others to do so as well. 

Blessings,

CSL Spiritually Motivated Social Engagement Committee

Centers for Spiritual Living joins Highlights Magazine in Standing Up for Immigrant Children

Dr Kenn Gordon and the SMSE Committee

Highlights for Children

Highlights Stands Up for Immigrant Children

As a company that helps children become their best selves—curious, creative, caring, and confident—we want kids to understand the importance of having moral courage. Moral courage means standing up for what we believe is right, honest, and ethical—even when it is hard. 

Our company’s core belief, stated each month in Highlights magazine, is that ‘Children are the world’s most important people.’ This is a belief about ALL children.

With this core belief in our minds and hearts, we denounce the practice of separating immigrant children from their families and urge our government to cease this activity, which is unconscionable and causes irreparable damage to young lives.

This is not a political statement about immigration policy. This is a statement about human decency, plain and simple. This is a plea for recognition that these are not simply the children of strangers for whom others are accountable. This is an appeal to elevate the inalienable right of all children to feel safe and to have the opportunity to become their best selves.

We invite you—regardless of your political leanings—to join us in speaking out against family separation and to call for more humane treatment of immigrant children currently being held in detention facilities. Write, call, or email your government representatives.

Let our children draw strength and inspiration from our collective display of moral courage. They are watching.

Kent Johnson, CEO, Highlights for Children, Inc.

Upworthy – Highlights magazine denounces family separations in a blistering new editorial