First Center History

Louise Hay’s life work began in 1970 where she attended meetings at the Church of Religious Science, now called The First Center of Spiritual Living. She began ministerial training here. Her teacher was Dr. Raymond Charles Barker, who was the founder of the church. Dr. Barker was an ordained minister who met Religious Science founder Ernest Holmes, and through their connection, Dr. Barker founded the First Church of Religious Science in Manhattan, New York. Dr. Barker was a leader and author in New Thought Spiritual Movement.

Louise Hay spoke and counseled clients at the church, and through her experiences, she compiled a reference guide detailing the mental causes of ailments which led her to writing a book entitled Heal Your Body, which became the basis for her bestselling book called You Can Heal Your Life which sold 65 million copies.

Louise Hay had a traumatic childhood and adolescence which led to her leaving home and coming to New York City. It was when she was diagnosed with cancer that she developed a program of:

· Affirmations
· Visualization
· Nutritional Cleansing
· Psychotherapy

Within six months, she cured herself of cancer.
In 1985, she began an AIDS support group called The Hayride. She then wrote the AIDS Book, Creating A Positive Approach.
She also started a publishing company and millions of books and products were sold worldwide.

Established in 1927 by Ernest Holmes (1887–1960) as a spiritual, philosophical and metaphysical religious movement within the New Thought movement.

The term “Science of Mind” applies to the textbook, while the term “Religious Science” applies to the teaching. Ernest Holmes stated “Religious Science is a correlation of laws of science, opinions of philosophy, and revelations of religion applied to human needs and the aspirations of man.” He also stated that it is not based on any “authority” of established beliefs, but rather on “what it can accomplish” for the people who practice it. One of his students at the Institute of Religious Science and School of philosophy was Raymond Charles Barker. Dr. Holmes appointed him to establish a center in NYC. Barker had grown up in New Thought, being trained at the Unity Training School, and prior to his election as INTA president in 1943, was minister at the Unity Center in Rochester, New York. He was later to affiliate with the Church of Religious Science and became the leader of the First Church of Religious Science in New York City and president of the IARSC. Below is a picture of Dr. Raymond Charles Barker, Rev Joyce Frantz and Dr Robert Bitzer at the occasion of the chartering of the Long Island Center in Hicksville, NY 1974.

Dr. Raymond Charles Barker, The founder of the First Church of Religious Science in Manhattan and was its minister from 1946 to 1979, he died February 1988. His pulpit was taken over by Rev. Stuart Grayson, and then Rev Wade Adkisson. Both Dr. Barker and Rev Stuart Grayson taught the principles to Louise Hay. Dr. Greg Harte assumed the title of pastor on the passing of Wade Adkisson in 2018.

Rev. Dr Greg Harte
Dr. Kenn Gordon and Rev Wade Adkisson


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