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THE PROCESS:

Church of the Final Judgment

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Sponsored link.


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History

The Process Church is totally unrelated to "Process Theology" which is a belief system promoted by some liberal Protestant theologians and developed by Charles Hartshorne. It looks upon God and the rest of the universe as being in process, in a state of constant change.

The Process evolved out of a self-help group founded in London, England by Robert de Grimston ("The Teacher"). To a Processean, "The Process" means change - specifically, the changes necessary to avoid the end of the world with its associated judgment.

From 1964 to 1974, Processeans were traveled throughout Europe and North America and organized Traveling, Administrative, and Open Chapters. Church leaders wrote books such as "Exit", "As It Is", "For Christ Is Come", and other titles which the Church used as its reference texts. By mid-1974, several Chapters in the US and one in Canada were operating, with headquarters in Washington DC Free shops for clothing and Free Kitchens for food dispersed donations in all of the Chapters. In the communities where Chapters were located, Processeans took on a variety of projects and received grants from local and state government agencies. Mass feeding stations were established in 'skid-row' areas where Chapters were present; these operated on a daily basis for years. Ministers and Lay-members took part in community action programs and responded to natural disasters alongside the Red Cross and the Salvation Army. Weekly visitations to homes for the elderly, blind, and mentally handicapped were a regular weekly occurrence. In some Chapters, prison ministries were set-up.

The Process welcomed all through its doors. The Church legally ordained women as Priests. The was an equal balance of the sexes in the ruling body and in the operational and administration of the Church and its Chapters. It performed wedding ceremonies, baptisms and ordinations. The Church opposed the Vietnam War but left the decision of military enlistment up to the individual.

A crisis occurred in 1974. Robert de Grimston gradually removed himself from daily Church administration & activities. Disputes arose between the ruling body of the Church and The Teacher. This ultimately led to the dismissal of Robert de Grimston as Chief Theologian. The ruling body legally dissolved The Process. After unsuccessfully trying to reorganize a group of Processeans in Massachusetts, the Teacher returned to England.

In 1979 The Process was reformed as a loosely knit group, under new leadership. In 1987 a vigorous expansion effort began. Private Chapters were established in which individuals operated programs aimed at helping the homeless become self-sufficient.

In 1988, the Society Of Processeans was formed as a largely secular organization. In 1993, the faith and teachings of The Process were declared obsolete, the Archives were destroyed and the Church dissolved. Members continue, organized as a self-help organization. The future is unclear.

The Process Church published the magazine "Process" and a monthly newsletter "The Processeans".

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Sponsored link:

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Beliefs:

The Church taught that Love conquers Evil, and thereby eliminates conflict. The basis of their religion was the book of Matthew in the Christian Scriptures (New Testament). They believe in a single unknowable God; God simply "is". Jesus Christ was seen as a Unifier; Satan as a separator, perhaps created by God to test mankind. They believe in the "Law of the Universe" which is "as you give, so shall you receive". All matter is seen as sacred, because it stems from God. In its earlier days, Ministers wore large surrounding black capes to promote their "mourning the death of the world unless we change" message.

Christ's teachings to "love your enemies" became their prime rule of behavior. They love the individual, but not his/her evil deeds. These beliefs led to a love for Satan - not to his acts but to Satan, the Being.

The Christian church has historically taught a dual concept of divinity. That is, that there are two more or less equal powers in the universe: Christ and Satan; one all good - the other all bad. The historic roots of this belief are traceable to the Zoroastrians in Persia in the 6th Century BCE.

Deviating from traditional Christianity, God and Satan are not opposite and conflicting supernatural entities. They are both believed to contribute to the world and the rest of the universe. Their long standing enmity has disappeared. Jesus is pictured as the judge at the end time, while Satan becomes the executor of Christ's judgments. Members honored a total of four deities: Jehovah, Jesus, Lucifer and Satan. They were urged to pick one that they could identify with and devote themselves to that deity.

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Misinformation about The Process:

The Process held to a unique theology which worshipped God while loving Satan. Being an open and proselytizing religious organization, they were exposed to criticism by other Christians. Having such an unorthodox response to Satan, they were easily misunderstood.

A book about Charles Manson, "The Family", claimed that Manson was a member of The Process. The Church obtained apologies and retractions to the book after it brought about a suit against the publisher. Because of the time it took to bring about the retractions, a large portion of book sales had occurred; so many of the books (without retractions) are on shelves today. The connection between Manson and the Process has not completely been corrected. Manson was never a registered member of The Process. A group of Processeans visited him in prison and confirmed that he had never been involved in the local Chapter.

More recently, a book was published that claimed a second mass murderer, David Berkowitz, the "Son of Sam" was also a member of The Process. The book stated that The Process was a network of killers and that Berkowitz was a look-out who did not take part in all of the killings. This conflicts with the police investigators who believed that Berkowitz was operating on his own. If they thought otherwise, the police certainly would have investigated the Church. Berkowitz claimed to have been a Satanist, and to have converted to Evangelical Christianity in prison. He claimed that the "Sam" in "Son of Sam" came from the name of the Celtic God of the Dead, Samhain (which he pronounced "Sam-hane"). His story is suspect, because:
bullethis pronunciation of "Samhain" is incorrect;
bulletthe Celts never worshiped a God of the Dead;
bulletthere is no Celtic God by the name of Samhain;
bulletSatanists do not worship Celtic Gods, and
bulletthe Process Church no longer existed at the time of the Son of Sam murders.

In reality, Samhain means "end of summer." It was a Celtic seasonal day of celebration, and remains a Wiccan Sabbat.

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Rituals:

Assemblies were held in a room that had a Christian Cross on one wall and, on the opposite side of the room, a Goat of Mendes (a goat's head in a pentagram) which symbolizes Satan. The Process version of this symbol had the pentagram placed upright. The Goat of Mendes was later removed as part of Process symbolism. An round altar was in the centre of the room, covered with a Process motif. Candles were arranged on the altar pointing to the four cardinal directions; this symbolized their unity with all of creation. Frankincense was burned in the center of the altar as a symbol of Christ being at the heart of The Process. Members attending the ritual sat on cushions on the floor in concentric circles around the altar. To the rear was a music section usually with guitars, singers, sitar, piano and drums. Because Saturday was the traditional weekly Sabbath (Sunday being the Christian day of rest), the main service of the week was called the Sabbath Assembly. It was held Saturday Evening at 7 p.m. The Christmas Assembly was held on Christmas Eve. Weddings occurred in all Chapters. The Process married same-sex couples in the same fashion as opposite-sex couples (however registry's tended to differ on the legal part of same-sex weddings). Chapters were closed on Sundays and Christmas Day.

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Reference

bulletW. S. Bainbridge "Satan's Power: A Deviant Psychotherapy Cult", University of California Press, Berkeley, CA, (1978).

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Copyright 1998 & 2000 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2000-JUL-9
Author: B.A. Robinson

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