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Margaret Stevens

Margaret Stevens
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A Visit With Dr. Catherine Ponder about Margaret Stevens

I first met Margaret Stevens at an INTA meeting in Portland, Oregon. Although I had read New Thought magazine for some time, and had followed the reports of their annual Congresses and various regional meetings, this was my first attendance in person.

I had been invited by Dr. Raymond Holliwell, President for many years of INTA, to deliver the banquet talk at the Hilton Hotel. Margaret had recently been ordained by Dr. Holliwell through the School of Christian Philosophy, established years earlier by him and his wife. By this time, Margaret has studied with some of the most prominent New Thought leaders of that era: Dr. Katherine Breese, Dr. Carmelita Trowbridge, Dr. Frederick Bailes, Dr. Donald Curtis, and Dr. Ethel Barnhart, to name a few.

I had flown in from Kansas City, Missouri, where I was acting as guest minister for another former President of INTA, Dr. Ernest Wilson. He was senior minister at Unity Temple, often referred to as the mother church of the Unity Movement. Located on the prestigious Country Club Plaza, Charles Fillmore had personally selected the property. He had predicted, "Someday this is where the mother church will be built," long before it happened.

After conducting a Wednesday night service at Unity Temple, I had then boarded a plane for Portland on Thursday. I marveled at the greenery I found at the airport and elsewhere in that beautiful city during that winter month.

I also marveled at Margaret Stevens. She was beginning her life's work as a minister. She had a friendly type of personality that could meet any type of person under any circumstance and make them feel comfortable. And she did, as we sat at a table with some of the INTA officials.

That New Thought meeting was well attended and proved a very friendly audience for my talk. This I appreciated, since I was trying to overcome flight fatigue, knowing I would soon be flying back to Kansas City to conduct the Sunday Service.

After that initial meeting, I heard about Margaret Stevens from time to time. Later when I developed my "have books, will travel" ministry, I lectured for her in her Santa Anita Church in Arcadia, California, to a packed house. She obviously was much loved and respected there.

Recently when I read her family history in her book Reflections of a Blessed Revered Mother, I was amazed at how well balanced a life she had managed to live, and still function as such a successful minister. Her husband, Roger Stevens, was a musician with the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra. Together they raised three children. Along with her church work, she was automatically director of the church's day school for children. Also, she spoke at meetings near and far, and lectured around the world for New Thought, traveling with other New Thought officials and lecturers. She and her husband hosted many New Thought leaders in their home. Among their favorite was the well known Brother Mandus of England, a member of INTA, who often lectured in their area.

Among the many friends she and her husband had were Dr. and Mrs. Holliwell. By the time I knew Margaret, Mrs. Holliwell had passed on. She had been a Christian Science practitioner who had, in that capacity, met Dr. Holliwell, later marrying him. After she had gotten to know Margaret, Mrs. Holliwell said to her husband, "I want you to do everything you can to help that young woman. She has real potential as a spiritual leader." So he consulted with Roger Stevens about possible world travel for INTA. He concurred that it would be an expanding experience for his wife. Such international travels helped enhance Margaret's long time service as a member of the Executive Board of INTA. She enjoyed spreading the New Thought message and getting to know its many leaders abroad.

In recent years, Dr. Stevens and I have had various opportunities for contact again. Her husband is now deceased, and she lives near her daughter in Ashland, Oregon. Although retired from full-time church ministry, she continues to spread the New Thought message through her various community activities. These include radio and television appearances, newspaper interviews, as well as speaking for various churches, colleges, and other organizations and private groups.

Although Margaret has enjoyed a full and busy life, balancing family and church responsibilities against community events and world travel; yet, like most of us, she has had her share of challenging experiences on both the physical and emotional planes of life. It's hard to believe that she still has that same cheerful, lilting voice that I first heard almost 40 years ago. In reviewing life's blessings and challenges, she has concluded, "I will always be New Thought." And, indeed, she has proved the many benefits of its study and practice.

[TruthUnity note: Margaret Moreen Stevens, 92, of Ashland, Ore., passed away Friday, March 22, 2013 at an Ashland Adult Foster Care home.]

(Excerpt from New Thought Magazine Summer 2004)

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