I’m guessing that most of you don’t know anything about this group. They’re not a huge group by any stretch…they have just over 200 churches (“centers”) worldwide. They don’t formally track membership, but estimates range from 100,000 to 200,000.
They used to be called the United Church of Religious Science. Their new name is United Centers for Spiritual Living. They wanted to shed the word “church” because they really espouse a philosophy and not a specific religion.
The basis for their religion is the idea that all religions contain truth. Founder Ernest Holmes wanted to bring all of those truths together into one “science” for everyone to learn. The idea wasn’t new, of course…it was based in the New Thought movement, promulgated by Emmanuel Swedenborg (the founder of Swedenborgianism).
Related religious movements include Christian Science, Unity School of Christianity, and Scientology…and the Word of Faith movement.
Religious Science does not deny the divinity of Jesus; but it does affirm the divinity of all people. It does not deny that Jesus was the son of God; but affirms that all beings are children of God. It does not deny that the Kingdom of God was revealed through Jesus; but affirms that the Kingdom of God is also revealed through you and me.
Turns out I live quite near their biggest center. It’s in Lakewood, CO…locals generally call it the ‘spider church’ because of its unique construction. As you can see from this satellite photo, they’re building a giant new auditorium. They apparently need it, since attendance is somewhere around 5,500.
In fact, this local congregation is the reason that the church is moving their headquarters to the Denver area.
Are you familiar with these folks? What can you share that will help others understand more?