It’s no wonder that I’m asked “What is The Soul-Esteem Center (SEC)?” whenever The SEC gets mentioned around someone unfamiliar with it. You may be wondering how to answer that question when someone asks you. So, since this is the beginning of a new year, and one that has stirred a lot of energy around change, fear, uncertainty and various other consciousness confusions, it’s the perfect time to let people know that there is a place which teaches people how to Practice the Presence of God in their lives and that beyond appearances, all is well.
When I’m asked what The SEC is, I often start with, “We’re an independent spiritual center, or church, focused on the practical application of spiritual principle in our everyday lives. We like to teach people to be true instruments of the Divine.”

I like to describe The SEC as “the common ground upon which people, at many different stages on their spiritual journey, can meet in an atmosphere of love, non-judgment and acceptance. The aim is to keep each other moving on the spiritual path as we deepen our realization that we are one with God and with each other.”

Sometimes I get asked the more difficult questions like “Is The SEC Christian?” or “Does The SEC believe Jesus is our Lord and Savior?” My answers to these questions get mixed reactions depending upon how close-minded the inquirer might be. My answer is usually something like, “We are based in, and have evolved out of, the Christian tradition, but we integrate into our ministry the Truth that runs through all spiritual practices worth their salt. With respect to Jesus, I consider him to be my brother, the Way-Shower, a change-agent and my best friend. Since I honor the five major evolutionary and revolutionary teachings that he brought to the planet and aim to demonstrate them in my life, then I guess I could describe Him as my Lord and Savior. But he himself said, ‘The Father lives within you,’ and ‘The works that I do, you shall do and greater.'”

If you’re wondering what the five major teachings are, here’s an acronym to help you remember: Jesus is ENUFF. E=Eternal Life; N=Non-judgment; U=Unconditional Love; F= Forgiveness; and F=Father Within. Try answering questions with this – everyone likes it – and it reroutes the mind of the one who wants to nail you to the cross with hardcore dogma and doctrine.

We have jumped out of the dogma/doctrine box at The SEC. That means everyone is welcome, we’re inclusive, and our objective is to empower the individual rather than disempower him or her as having been born in sin. How could a creation of God be anything but perfect, whole and complete at the level of Soul? Our goal is to remember this and demonstrate it in our human experience. This means living as one who is healthy, youthful, energetic, creative and prosperous, and sees that everyone’s primary purpose in life is to give, love and serve.

I hope this helps you answer your own questions, and especially in responding to the questions of others. And remember: I’m always available to assist with your questions, to pray with you, and to help you trust that God’s Presence will never let you down.

Rev. Phylis Clay Sparks is the Spiritual Director and Founder of The Soul-Esteem Center, now in its twentieth year. She is a speaker, teacher, spiritual counselor and author of SOUL-ESTEEM: The Power of Spiritual Confidence and most recently, FORGIVENESS … It is NOT what you think it is!