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Rev. Dr. Arthur Chang
By Patricia GentryContributing Religion Writer
The Rev. Dr. Arthur Chang, senior pastor of Founder's Church of Religious Science in Los Angeles, recently led a delegation from his congregation to a historic conference in New Orleans for the reunification of the two branches of Religious Science that have been split since 1954.
While attending the conference, delegates also had the opportunity to participate in community service and help rebuild houses devastated by the hurricane Katrina.
The delegation, under the leadership of Dr. Arthur, participated both in the reunification vote and the rebuilding of a house belonging to a hero of the Katrina disaster, one of the nurses stranded with the patients on the top floor of the hospital.
Members of the delegation included practitioners Steve Rambo, Patricia Roach and Patricia Gentry, and laity member Georgina Moore.
New Orleans hosted a conference this February that brought unity to the Religious Science movement originally founded by Dr. Ernest Holmes in the early part of the last century. In 1954, the movement split into two branches, United Church of Religious Science and Religious Science International, because of an inability to agree on an administrative issue.
The two sides continued to operate separately for more than fifty years. A movement to reunify the branches began to gain momentum and began with a name change. Both sides chose to change their name to "Centers for Spiritual Living."
Rev. Dr. Arthur W. Chang said of the reunification, "Reuniting is novel among religious organizations despite the shared principle of unity. I consider this to be a platonic shift in consciousness, not for things that go apart, but paradoxically, for things to find the creative energy to come back together. "As the second senior minister of Founder's Church, once the historic and iconic Mother Church of Religious Science, I am particularly thrilled by this and impressed by the work of our bridge-builders from each side and the support of the unanimous vote of delegates and the members throughout our movements that made this possible." Los Angeles churches that are now a part of the Centers for Spiritual Living include: Founder's Church of Religious Science, Guidance Church, June Cobb Church of Religious Science, Triangular Church, Center for Spiritual Living Los Angeles and Creative Arts Center for Spiritual Living.