Below is the Mayo Clinic story as told by Bill Thetford that explains what Jesus means in A Course in Miracles when he says,"God's church."

God's Church

"Only you can be the foundation of God’s church."

I had been asked to go to the Mayo Clinic and find out why they made money on their psychological service operations, while at Columbia-Presbyterian, it seemed that we were always losing money. I invited Helen to go to the Mayo Clinic with me, as I thought it might be helpful for the two of us to get away. Before the trip, she started having some very vivid imagery. One of the images she had was of a Lutheran church, which she described in great detail. Helen's vivid description of this church with turrets and towers gave a clear picture of what it was supposed to look like.

Before we left on the trip, she wrote that she was convinced we were going to see this church from the airplane before we landed. Helen felt it was important to see this church, to demonstrate that she wasn't losing her mind. It all seemed rather strange, and I didn't think we were likely to see a church from the air or the airport.

On the flight, Helen became increasingly nervous as we approached Rochester for our landing and kept looking out the window. When she saw no church, she was extremely upset. I suggested that we rent a taxi to see the Lutheran churches in the area, to find out if there was anything that remotely resembled her church. We hired a driver and asked if there was anything exactly like that, but he mentioned a lot of other churches so we went to look at them. I think we saw about 25 churches, none of which bore any resemblance to Helen's imagery. She really was quite upset. We had to spend all next day talking to the people at the clinic. There was nothing to do but go to bed and forget the church.

In the morning we went on a grand tour of the Mayo Clinic and found out how they did everything. It was beautifully done. But all the things that could be done in an upper middle class hospital in Minnesota were obviously impossible to do in New York City in a clinic setting. They were also so extremely efficient that even their examining rooms were equipped with identical equipment in the same drawers so a doctor using anyone of them would know exactly which drawer to open for material or what was needed.

At the end of a long day, as I waited for Helen in the lobby of the hotel, I went over to the newsstand and saw this little booklet on the history of the Mayo Clinic. I leafed through it and there was a picture of a church, exactly as Helen had described it. It was a Lutheran church, but it wasn't there any more. The Mayo Clinic had been built on the site of this church, which had been torn down. I thought it was exciting. I showed Helen the booklet and told her she wasn't crazy after all.

She had a very mixed reaction. She felt partly a sense of relief, but she really didn't want to hear about it. It was obviously too close for comfort. She didn't want to be psychic, and she never wanted to be called a psychic. It was typical of the usual discomfort and ambivalence that Helen suffered in most situations. She found it very difficult to be totally comfortable.

On our flight back from Rochester to New York, we had to change planes in Chicago. In the waiting room Helen spotted a young woman whom she thought was in serious trouble. As I looked around, it seemed that everyone in this waiting room looked uncomfortable, and I couldn't see any difference between this particular woman sitting far off in a corner and other people. I certainly wasn't tuned in to her.

All I wanted to do was to get back to New York and have some peace and quiet. Helen, very atypical for her, tuned into this young woman and said she was sure that she was really in trouble.

She said, "I'm going to go over and talk to her." I said I would just stay where I was. Helen soon came back and introduced the woman, whose name was Charlotte. She was leaving her family — two young children and her husband — and was going off to New York for the first time in her life. Having never been on an airplane, she was terrified of flying and also frightened about going to New York. She was really just running away. So Helen arranged for Charlotte to sit with us, and also promised to find her a place to stay in New York.

When we were on the plane I asked Charlotte, "What would you have done if you had not encountered us?" She said, " I would have gone to the Lutheran Church in New York City and somehow they would have found a place for me."

At that point, everything came together, and Helen heard a very clear voice saying, 'This is my real church, helping your brother who is in trouble, not any physical edifice or building.' "



"Only you can be the foundation of God’s church. A church is where an altar is, and the presence of the altar is what makes it a church. Any church which does not inspire love has a hidden altar which is not serving the purpose for which God intended it. I must found His church on you, because you who accept me as a model are literally my disciples. Disciples are followers, but if the model they follow has chosen to save them pain in all respects, they are probably unwise not to follow him."


t that point, everything came together, and Helen heard a very clear voice saying, 'This is my real church, helping your brother who is in trouble, not any physical edifice or building.'


The inappropriate emphasis men have put on beautiful church buildings is a sign of their fear of Atonement,
and their unwillingness to reach the altar itself.



Workbook For Students Special Topics - Part 2


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