Growing into God

Growing into God

Author: Thomas Chavez, preface and editing by Julie Gorham

Growing into God – Practicing the Science of Spirituality

Do you truly experience and feel unity with God and others in your life? Or, do you feel disconnected and your heart knows there must be more? Christ the Healer offers ongoing education on the topic of Christian mysticism, also known as Christian contemplation. Growing into God means understanding how to become one with God. Mystics and teachers from the earliest history in Christian wisdom led the way. Now, we see the Life of Christ is the a transformative model for how we get there.

Gain or refresh new understandings and integrative practices to engage the transforming Christ path with a romp through Gabrielle’s brilliant synthesis of science, spirituality, and the best of the Bible.  with practical insights on how to achieve unity through the Christ path model. It’s a contemporary road map to unification for all people and all times. 

Early history – Roadmap to a spiritual life – Purgation, Purification & Unity

The 3rd century theologian/mystic, Origen of Alexandria, draws from three books of Jewish wisdom literature – Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and the Song of Songs which provide a metaphorical “map” of the spiritual life. Like Proverbs, with its emphasis on right living and moral conduct, Origen saw the first stage of the mystical life as involving purgation or purification of all that impedes our search for God. The second stage, corresponding to Ecclesiastes, marks the illumination that comes as we learn to access the wisdom of the Holy Spirit within. Finally, the joyful eroticism of the Song of Songs represents the union with God that is the promise of the contemplative life.* 

While these primary principles identify the key components to attaining oneness with God, they do. 

The Christ path Model lays the foundation for how we can achieve an open our heart, and exchange the experiences of ‘hell on earth’ for a new condition of ‘heaven on earth within our hearts’. We are here for the kin-dom of heaven. This is not a physical place, but a condition of the heart where the virtues of love abound, for all. 

A conversation with Thomas:

Julie – Thomas, can tell me more about purgation and the sequential of the events based on the “initiations” of the Christ path?

Thomas – The original idea was purgation (purging, cleaning out, sitting empty) was that once you are clean enough, there’s a moment of enlightenment. This process of purgation leads to the 1st initiation of the Christ path. We ask the question “Is this all there is?” and “What’s wrong with my life?” Once our hearts can open, we suddenly notice we can love everybody. That’s the birth of Christ in the heart.

That experience goes on for a while, and we live with it and like it, then we come to the place we traditionally call the dark night of the senses. We are in this together – “I love my neighbors, I love my family, I love the world I live in, then I go into depression, and I come out of that”. That’s the 2nd initiation. 

We purge that through, and we have another illuminated moment which we call the transcendence, and it is in the life of Jesus – that moment when he was on the mountain with his executive team, and he lights up so bright they fall on their faces.

People who are not Jesus, in this 3rd initiation, the world experiences them and they experience the world as “lucky” “wonderful teachers”, because they shine, and our culture, if we get there, our culture tends to expect us to stay there.

And then that goes on until we come to the 4th initiation, which tracks the crucifixion of Jesus. In the crucifixion, we lose this connection to light and to God, and to everything, and we are in this place that resonates with the voice on the “My God My God, why has thou forsaken me. I’m reaching through my soul to God, and my soul has blown away and disappeared, and I don’t recognize my connection to higher.

After we plum the depths of that, we come to the place where there’s no separation between being and being, I am God, I am an expression of God, I’m not in the presence of God, I’m not looking at God, but God is looking out through my eyes, I am ascending.

We’d love to hear from you!



Climate Café June 22 Update

Climate Café June 22 Update

Climate Café Update
June 3rd, 2022
Megan Hanson and Bonnie Fackre

“What would the world be like if we truly “loved all of Creation as ourselves”? Chef Lakita Butler asks us to ponder. How does living sustainably look, feel, smell and more to the point, what does it taste like? How can we transform a society entrenched in destructive practices into a regenerative Christ-like paradigm.

Climate Café recognizes that humanity faces extinction, possibly within our existing lifetime. We are watching glaciers melt, wildfires rage, plant and animal species disappear and the landscape itself face irreversible changes. Climate change does not belong to any one demographic or people. It is all of us, here and now. Thomas Chavez continues to remind us, “Climate Café is an absolute vital expression of our most basic need as human beings.” Climate Café is something we can do ourselves, without depending on a politician. Climate Café believes that we are part of the solution.

The emphasis of Climate Café is that all the food served will be plant-based (vegan), sustainable and local. Climate Cafe is not just about the food. It’s about the way the food is made and served, and the way we show up. It’s about the relationships – with the farmers, our community and congregation. And it’s about inclusivity; it’s about all people, especially younger generations.

The Linkage Committee, formed by members from Christ the Healer and Hillsdale UCC has been meeting monthly. The group is making progress towards meeting health department requirements in order to open. Climate Café is working with Hillsdale to find two consecutive days of the week to be open for lunch, serving a low-carbon footprint, locally sourced, and gift-economy based meal.

Climate Café is optimistic about opening by the end of August, pending all health department codes are met. Christ the Healer is donating a unit for hot and cold food holding. Climate Café will use church tables for community/family style dining.

Climate Café is hoping a Hillsdale community garden plot will come available soon. Several famers are on board already for contributing free produce to Climate Café, including Acres of Abundant Grace in Canby and Grace Gardens in Oregon City.

You too can get involved. Come meet and greet your neighbors. Help set-up and clean-up. Let’s learn from each other what a climate change lifestyle could look like and feel like! As Rabbi Gabriel Cousens explains, “We are creating peace by being peace.” Let’s choose an extra-ordinary eco-centric way of being.

Look what’s Blooming! The Climate Cafe’

Look what’s Blooming! The Climate Cafe’

We are excited to share this summary of actions and decisions that Christ the Healer has taken SO FAR, in the design and development of our new outward- facing mission known as the ‘Climate Café’.

Christ the Healer, UCC is proposing to partner with Hillsdale Community Church, UCC in establishing space – and related activity – that welcomes both the local and the wider community into an exploration and an experience of a nutritious and delicious, low carbon footprint meal preparation and consumption. We’ll be serving locally-source, sustainably-grown raw foods, using a pay-as-you-can model.

This educational, nutritional mission entails a shared learning process about the environmental impact of our food choices. It also encourages collaboration that engages many others in a broader consciousness about what it means to “sit down at the table together” in an earth-friendly manner.

Where will the Climate Café be located?

We’re excited to be having conversations with Hillsdale Community Church, UCC in SW Portland about partnering with them on this project. HCC has a wonderful, historic church building on Capitol Hwy between Multnomah Village and Hillsdale. If we move forward in partnership with them, they will offer the use of their kitchen facilities. They also bring a congregation with a treasure trove of knowledge, skills and experience. A partnership with them raises wonderful communal possibilities.

The vision for Climate Café is that it will bring physical as well as spiritual benefits to all parties concerned. For CtH, it provides an opportunity to serve in a way that we are uniquely equipped. Our members share a love of conscious eating, conscious living and a deep concern for the environment. We have found ways to eat locally, sustainably and healthfully, and this is an opportunity to share our vision for a more holistic way of living, grounded in spiritual authenticity.

For HCC, it offers the opportunity for genuine renewal. Their church has a rich history in SW Portland and the greater metro area stretching back well over a century. Like many churches, they have found that the old way of “doing church” no longer serves them. The members of HCC church carry a shared vision of a more just, sustainable world, and a vibrant local community. They have recently decided to “repurpose” their building and grounds, opening the doors to mission partnerships that align with their vision.

They bring a wealth of shared knowledge and energy to this project. As a congregation consciously choosing to heed the call to bring Christ’s love to the world, they are in the unique position to help catalyze positive change in the community through this project. They stand to benefit tremendously from the new visitors, community members and connections coming through their doors.

Who else will be involved?

We’ve enrolled the services of Lakita and Moralie Butler, founders of Rawsoul in Harlem and Longevity Foods in Washington. Lakita and Moralie are phenomenal chefs who also possess expertise in the business of running restaurants. The Butlers have already done a walk through of the potential kitchen. They have approved its possibilities and have committed to provide their management expertise, a workable business plan, and oversight of food production. Their participation guarantees an unforgettable culinary experience for those dining at the Climate Café!

The intention is for the Climate Café to be primarily run by volunteers. Volunteers stand to gain wonderful benefits from this project! They will have the reward of providing a needed service by literally feeding the hungry. They will also have the opportunity to learn about low-carbon, locally-based eating. They will be connected to networks and communities of others doing the same.

The Climate Café will be set up with a pay-as-you-can model. It will provide an immersive experience in the concept. For many diners it will be their first chance to experience the blessings of a “gift economy”. So many people are looking around and finding that our dominant capital-driven, transactional culture is not meeting their needs. Not only is it not meeting their needs, but it is an instrument of active destruction to the natural environment and human welfare.

Here is an opportunity for those who are curious about better ways to live to try some of them out for themselves. We don’t claim to have all of the solutions, but we can share what we know, with the assurance that when it comes to positive change, everyone has a part to play! We hope to educate and inspire those who are looking to build a better world.

What will Christ the Healer contribute?

Christ the Healer will be offering our energy and effort – including already developed contacts and partnerships in the “greening world” – toward manifesting the financial means and meals that make this happen.

Finally, through the office of our own Thomas Chavez, here is a summary of the resources we’ve identified to help make this project a success.

Staffing and Volunteers

As shared earlier in this article: We’ve enrolled the services of Lakita and Moralie Butler, founders of Rawsoul in Harlem and Longevity Foods in Washington. Lakita and Moralie are phenomenal chefs who also possess expertise in the business of running restaurants. The Butlers have already done a walk through of the potential kitchen. They have approved its possibilities and have committed to provide their management expertise, a workable business plan, and oversight of food production. Their participation guarantees an unforgettable culinary experience for those dining at the Climate Café!

  • We have 19 non-firm commitments, pending the onset of café operations, for direct, on-site, volunteer support with food prep, food service, as well as the teaching of related subjects.
  • We have a commitment from Acres of Grace Farm in Canby, Oregon to help supply locally-grown food – food grown using regenerative agriculture techniques. The founders of Acres of Grace, Jim and Alice Wallace, are members of CtH and possess a wealth of knowledge about regenerative agriculture. As well as contributing clean, delicious, healthful ingredients, they will help provide additional learning about growing food in a way that gives back to the earth.
  • We have an agreement with a grower of American Wild Rice in Mount Angel, Oregon for a discounted price in exchange for featuring their exceptionally delicious organic grain.
  • We’ve also identified a family from East Africa whose produce fits our parameters. They are growing vegetables currently unavailable in local markets, using seeds imported from home.
  • We’re in contact with a Native American couple in Yamhill County who grow native foods cooperatively with the land. They generate their produce from a climate-sensitive, Christian-centered philosophy, and they could become a source of prep ingredients for the café’.
  • We’ve also been in touch with a number of other small, organic growers who are already in commercial or semi- commercial operation (for example, selling at farmer’s markets around the area). We’re still determining who will be the best fit for this project, but are thrilled to live in a region with so many food producers committed to sustainability!

Funding and Marketing

Moving forward, we’ll need to secure more funding and put the word out about this work. Here are some resources we’ve gathered so far.

  • CtH has secured a website for and another for
  • We have a firm commitment from a volunteer who will create a Climate Café website, starting with a dedicated page on our website, as well as a crowdfunding website.
  • Yet another volunteer, with marketing expertise, has offered to make sure that both websites, when up and running, are optimized for SEO. Stay tuned for more information about this in upcoming emails! We’ll be asking for your help in putting the world out about the work we’re done.
  • We also have a volunteer investigating the possibility of incorporating one of our associated undertakings as an Oregon Benefits incorporated entity—with an eye toward attracting socially-responsible investments as well as donations. In line with this, another volunteer has agreed to join a local, Portland-centered Oregon B Corp investment club, where our opportunity can be pitched.
  • We have a firm commitment from a professional stain glass artist in Southern California for the donation for a “Love all Creation as yourself” lighted sign for the café. Yet another volunteer has committed to make the light box. Both volunteers are in contact with one another to coordinate the work.
  • We’ve already obtained a $1000 grant from the UCC Central Pacific Conference to reimburse Lakita and Moralie Butler for their production of a business plan for the Climate Café. In addition to the grant, we’ve set aside $150 as seed money for the café project and gotten a few pledges of monetary donation. With faith like a mustard seed, this can grow exponentially.

We greatly appreciate any donations and financial support for this effort, as these seed monies will help to move this mission forward. Please send checks to: CtH UCC, 772 Division, Oregon City, Oregon. 


No Matter What Porch Concert at Hilldale UCC

No Matter What Porch Concert at Hilldale UCC

By: Julie Gorham

When Hillsdale UCC asked me if I would like to perform a porch concert at Hillsdale for a community event in September, I was excited. And, I knew it was a huge effort.

With only three months to prepare, It was time to be creative. Could I of us pull it off with such little time? Probably, but playing alone felt a bit lackluster.

A bigger idea emerged.

After experiencing synergy with the CtH A.R.T.S Group, it became clear there were other shining stars in our group whom I asked to join – Musician and Vocalist Heather Dennis, and Vocalist & Cajon Player, Jill Crisci. All three of us have a deep passion for music, and were already writing music. That was pretty exciting!

We only had three months to pull together enough songs for a concert, so when both Heather and Jill had agreed, we met week after week to present new material to each other and see what would emerge. Trying to synthesize our voices and instruments to music that was essentially new for the three of us to play together was pretty fun, and a bit challenging at times. If there wasn’t a concert on the table, we could have relaxed a bit more, and just had fun. But, we knew the date was approaching fast and we are all naturally competitive. It would be difficult to not give it our all, and present a meaningful array of music that would inspire the young and the mature alike. What an ask!

All three of us had original songs, but the question was  – Are we ready to share them with the world? Were they ready enough to present? Mostly not, but I knew we could do it. And we did.

Breath on Me was the first song that we practiced, followed by an original instrumental by Heather Dennis, called and an Irish tune, Come by the Hills. Julie had been working on completing quite a few instrumentals, but one in particular struck Heather and she said she had lyrics. This was a musical surprise, and quite a treat. Jill had inspiration for Breathe on me, with a beautiful chorus, and she was able to find nuances in that song that turned out to be quite lovely, and enhanced the song.

It was quite a collaboration in such a short time, and I’m deeply grateful for Jill and Heather’s participation, especially in light of schedule demands. We learned a lot, laughed a lot, and made quite a few mistakes at the live concert… but nobody noticed, only us. I look forward to a time we can get back together and pick up where we left off, and maybe even with more collaboration. We shall see! Special thanks to Mark Mcreevey for his help with amps and mics. What a fun learning experience!

  • Free Yourself – Instrumental on guitar, drums & keys
  • Waterfall – Instrumental on guitar, drum & keys
  • Holy Holy Holy – Sung by Jill, accompanied by guitar & keys
  • Hello – Sung by Jill, accompanied by guitar
  • Say My Name – Sung by Jill, accompanied by guitar
  • When We Walk Together – accompanied by guitar, keys and drum
  • Come By the Hills – Sung by Heather, accompanied by guitar & drum 
  • The Subtle Chase – Sung by Heather accompanied by guitar & drum
  • Rainbow Connection – Sung by Jill, accompanied by guitar
  • Mama Tree – Piano by Heather
  • Music Box Dancer – Piano by Heather
  • Venus By Tuesday – Poem by Heather
  • Breathe on Me – Sung by all with guitar and piano
June Event

June Event

We have impromptu events from time to time that may not be part of our monthly offerings, but they offer just as much value.

Summer Solstice Event
Sunday, June 20th
1:00 pm – 5:00 pm PDT – Open Activities
5:00 – 6:00 pm PDT – Dinner

Come celebrate light, love, and laughter with Christ the Healer Friends & Family.

The garden is open! Come and cultivate the earth, meditate in the garden, visit with friends, pray, walk the labyrinth, tell a joke, share some music, bring a ritual, discuss gender equality, and more! Come one, come all! There are plenty of opportunities to help at Grace Garden, and you will enjoy the bounty of your efforts with fresh fruits and veggies.

This is a solstice garden gathering event with shared organic raw offerings. Bring organic, raw fruit, veggies, or other raw and organic foods to put on a salad, or eat on the side. 

New Brain Science

New Brain Science

New Reading – What we are learning are sharing together

Join the conversation, and learn about the latest in brain science, through this short video with excerpts from the book Whole Brain Living by Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor, Neuroscientist. 

Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor shares her life-changing insights about the four unique areas of your decision-making brain (aka the Four Characters) and how to tell which Character is in control at any moment. She also teaches a powerful Brain Huddle technique that will help you get all Four Characters enthusiastically serving on the same team. When you’re able to do this, you’ll be able to choose who and how you want to be in every moment—and you’ll experience more peace than you can imagine.

What are your four characters? Share with us at our Summer Solstice Event