Universal Mind Science Church is a testament to diversity set quietly in Rose Park.
The non-denominational church will be celebrating its 50th anniversary on Aug 26. In September 1968, church members bought the current building on the corner of Eighth Street and Obispo Avenue and have worshipped there ever since.
The celebration will occur during the usual Sunday service on Aug. 26 with discussions on the first 25 years of the church. Then the second 25 years will be accompanied by a lunch in the social hall.
Open to everyone, USM Church encourages its people to be open-minded and combines religion and science to answer the question, ‘Why do we exist?’
Current church leaders are Lara Chandler and Lance Lockwood. Lockwood said he was introduced to Metaphysics by UMS more than 25 years ago and has been practicing ever since. He learned from the founder and Pastor of UMS, Rev. Damien Simson, and pastor Dr. Jess Keeler. The church is special to Lockwood, he said, because of its non-traditional teachings.
“(It is) the fact that each person has a voice and we learn from and support each other," Lockwood said. "And the format of our program, which is a discussion as opposed to preaching. We deal with everyday issues and discuss resolutions from the spiritual and practical aspects.”
Lockwood also spoke of why people are drawn to UMS Church.
“When they walk in, they say they can feel the spirit here; there is a calmness and lovingness," he said. "The ease of being yourself. There are no strict rules, no judgement, we are all inclusive, and we respect all religions, all lifestyles, so regardless of your background you can feel at home.”
Chandler joined the church in 1971 and also trained under the founder, Simson. She is also a facilitator and choir member who said she enjoys the Sunday morning discussions.
USM Church meets at 11:30 a.m. every Sunday for discussion and celebration. Topics are picked by the congregation and can run for more than one week to ensure there is a thorough and helpful discussion. Services have choir performances, hymns, prayer, greetings, discussions, announcements, offerings and fellowship meetings in the hall.
Psychic Fairs are the fourth Saturday of every month and start at 9:30 a.m. Readings are available from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sessions are 20 minutes long and cost $20.
USM Church is at 3212 E. Eighth St. For more information, go to www.umschurch.com.