A Visit With Dr. Catherine Ponder about Blaine C. Mays
A Visit With Dr. Catherine Ponder about Blaine C. Mays
Dr. Blaine C. Mays has served as President of INTA for more than 24 years, and rightly so. Several of our past INTA Presidents have given similar periods of service to the New Thought movement. This can be a great benefit since long-term service gives them the knowledge, background and experience needed to properly help the INTA membership, in a way that those of lesser service simply do not have.
I have been amazed at how many new members of INTA have not known about the greats of the twentieth century, or their contributions which have made INTA, by far, the most longer-term and prestigious New Thought organization in the world today. It is true that "We stand on the shoulders of the spiritual giants who have gone before us." So we need to know who some of those spiritual giants were, and what their contributions were that have brought us this far.
When I mentioned some of the contributions of the Mays family to Rev. Arthur Chang, Senior Minister, Founder's Church of Religious Science, Los Angeles California, and also a member of the Executive Board of INTA, he said, "Catherine, I didn't know most of that, and you should write about that amazing family for the New Thought magazine. INTA members everywhere should be allowed to know and appreciate their (the Mays') many contributions to New Thought over such a longer-term period."
As I told Rev. Arthur, the Mays family is unique in the history of the New Thought movement. Beginning with Blaine's mother and father, and continuing with his brother and sister, and even his wife, all of them have become ordained ministers in New Thought.
Furthermore, they represent INTA in the mix of ordinations they have brought to the movement over the years. Their ordinations included, Unity, Religious Science, Divine Science, and perhaps some ordinations by independent New Thought ministers and organizations. Many of us, who have been the only member of our family to be attracted to the New Thought message or to INTA, can truly appreciate such family unity from a spiritual standpoint.
I first became aware of Blaine C. Mays when he was a ministerial student at Unity School almost fifty years ago. The reason he stood out was because he boarded with Cora Fillmore, the second Mrs. Charles Fillmore. And Blaine was kind enough to drive her to and from Unity Village to the Fillmore home near by. I was impressed by the way he cared for her with such courtesy and patience. I later learned that his mother, Dr. Lola Mays, had been a personal friend of Cora Fillmore, just as Lola Mays was a personal friend of so many of the early greats of the New Thought movement.
I did not have much contact with Blaine and Betty Mays until after I became a member of INTA, in which they were active, while Blaine served for twenty-seven years as minister of Unity of Phoenix, Arizona.
During that era, I lectured first for his group in a Quonset-type building, and later in a larger church structure. He was also instrumental in my participation in several local INTA luncheons: one being held at the Phoenix Country Club, and another held in the Grand Ballroom of the Camelback Inn, Scottsdale.
Blaine's sister has told me that Dr. Lola Mays became interested in New Thought in her native state of Kentucky before Blaine was born. She had heard about it through one of her school leaders. She had thereafter attended an early INTA Congress held in Nashville, Tennessee. So Blaine's roots in New Thought might be considered prenatal. One wonders how New Thought found its way into the South so long ago. But since Truth is universal, it has its own ways and means of reaching those of us in the South who were destined to become a part of the New Thought movement, and help carry forward its message.
Blaine's many contributions to the New Thought movement are too numerous to recount individually. He's traveled the world, lecturing for INTA. He's known most of the greats among the members and leaders of INTA. This began in 1949 when he attended his first INTA convention in Los Angeles. There he met Dr. Ernest Holmes, E.V. Ingraham, and many others whose books are still published by DeVorss & Co.
Outside the Mays Family, I have not heard of anyone still active in INTA whose attendance at its annual Congresses goes back that far. Certainly there is no former President of INTA left who could claim that distinction. Both Ernest Holmes and his brother Rev. Fenwicke Holmes were members of INTA as early as the 1930s. Blaine had later known them. He had first studied New Thought with Dr. Ernest Wilson in Los Angeles in the 1940s prior to the era when Dr. Wilson was President of INTA.
Perhaps one of Blaine's greatest contributions to New Thought is one that is especially unusual: We have had a number of INTA Presidents who personally told me that their study of New Thought made them wealthy. And I am sure that each one, in his own way, used his New Thought wealth to help INTA in whatever way seemed appropriate during his tenure.
Yet only the Mays family has put their money where their mouth is by sharing some very valuable property in the Mesa suburb of Phoenix for INTA's world headquarters and archives. This gift has given a steadiness and stability that has been needed as a foundation for the continuing growth of INTA as we enter a new century.
I have suggested to Blaine that he write his own memoir of his New Thought experiences, and of the many leaders and lay persons who have been helped by its message during the past fifty years in which he has been active. I realize, with his many INTA responsibilities, both at home and abroad, that such a task could be daunting, time-wise. Otherwise, it would be a piece of cake for Blaine to relate so many wonderful memories of leaders who have touched all of our lives during the last half of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first.
Perhaps you'll join me in encouraging Blaine to share fifty years of New Thought memories with us. It is true: "We all stand on the shoulders of the spiritual giants who have gone before us." Blaine has known most, if not all, of them in the New Thought movement during the last half of the twentieth century. And quietly, somewhere along the way, he has joined them!
(Excerpt — New Thought Magazine - Spring 2001)
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