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Longtime Grand Junction church moves to Colorado Avenue

Sharon Sullivan
ssullivan@gjfreepress.com
Carl Wahlberg, a founder of the Two Rivers Center for Spiritual Living, and Rev. Patty Rumpza stand next to the church's bookstore.
Sharon Sullivan / ssullivan@gjfreepress.com | Free Press

A piece of fabric hangs on the wall at Two Rivers Center for Spiritual Living with a quote from Religious Science founder Ernest Holmes. The words say “Never limit your view of life by any past experience.”

Along another wall is the church bookstore, with books by Holmes and other philosophers about prayer, meditation and the power of the mind. Nearby is a lending library of similar materials available to members.

Years ago, Carl and Betty Wahlberg were Methodists when they discovered the Mile Hi Church in Denver — one of the largest religious science churches in the country. They attended a service by the Rev. Fred Vogt, and liked his “change your thinking, change your life” philosophy.



“I stayed in this philosophy — it’s allowed me to live life at a higher frequency,” Wahlberg, 89, said.

The Wahlbergs and others began studying the church teachings in their homes. Eventually the Two Rivers Center for Spiritual Living was founded.



After meeting the past eight years at the Lakeside Community Center, the Two Rivers Center for Spiritual Living has found a “home of their own” in downtown Grand Junction, 251 Colorado Ave.

The Rev. Patty Rumpza held its first Sunday service at the downtown location on June 30. She became the church’s first full-time minister two years ago.

She remembered when she was first introduced to religious science — a spiritual practice that incorporates meditation and affirmative prayer.

She was visiting her mother in Albuquerque in 1987, when her mom suggested they check out a religious science church. Rumpza was surprised because the family was Catholic.

“When I went, I had a sense of coming home,” Rumpza said. “I’d go to Catholic Church at 9 (a.m.), and then at 11 at the Religious Science Church.

“I wanted to cover my bases.”

In 2000, she became a religious science minister. After adopting its principles, “my life dramatically changed” for the better, Rumpza said.

“I learned the tools (for) how to transform my life.”

Wahlberg is one of the church practitioners, or “spiritual coaches” — he and Rumpza, and others pray for members’ requests, for world leaders and for resolution of global problems.

“We believe in the power of affirmative prayer,” Rumpza said. “We have a five-step scientific prayer,” beginning with coming into a meditative, “oneness with god” state, followed by the affirmative prayer requests.

Religious Science and Christian Science are not the same — although both church founders, Holmes and Mary Baker Eddy, knew each other and studied together, Rumpza said. Both philosophies emerged from the transcendentalist movement of the 1800s, although Holmes and Eddy took separate paths when they established their respective churches.

“We embrace all world religions and traditions,” Rumpza said.

Additionally, when illness is an issue, religious scientists embrace medicine and physicians as God’s tools, along with prayer.

Every Sunday, a 20-minute group meditation starting at 9:15 a.m., is followed by a service led by Rumpza at 10 a.m.

Classes on prosperity and abundance, meditation, prayer, and Kundalini yoga are taught during the week. Sometimes there are classes on forgiveness.

Starting in January, there will be tai chi classes, and a gay and lesbian support group. A mens’ group will also reconvene.

“Education is pivotal to what we do because wisdom is within everyone,” Rumpza said. “Everything is geared toward helping people find spiritual tools, to be happier, more joyous.”


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