Our Center's History










The Center has deep roots that were planted over 40 years ago by Leo and Betty Stockman. Celebrations of Life have been conducted every Sunday since that time at various locations throughout the Capital District.

On May 29, 1969, Leo Stockman received a letter from Raymond Charles Barker approving his Religious Science Thesis.  Leo also received a letter from the  International Association of Religious Science Churches (IARSC) Board of Directors granting his request for Recognition as Society Leader of Religious Science, to lead a group in Albany, NY.  On September 16, 1969 a request had been made by the then acting Directors, Fred D. Shavor, Harris R. Gregory, Jr and Beverly B. Noord to have Leo V. Stockman be granted the status of “Licentiate Minister”.  They petitioned IARSC for a Church Charter since they now were a active group of at least fifty members over the age of 18 years, since they had been operating as a Religious Science Society since May 19, 1969.

On October 1, 1969 the “Albany Society of Religious Science” was granted their Church Charter and Leo V. Stockman was granted Licentiate Ministerial status as Pastor of the Albany Church of Religious Science.

Rev. Leo V. Stockman received a letter from Dr. Frank E. Richelieu, President of IARSC, on October 15, 1969 extending his personal congratulations upon the attainment of full Church status.  And so it began and on November 10, 1969 the Church of Religious Science of Albany was incorporated.

All of this came into being because of so many like minded people who joined together to study “Religious Science”.  Leo and his good wife Betty hosted study groups in their apartment on North Pearl Street until there were too many people to accommodate so they moved the meetings to the Tom Sawyer Inn.  For years they all readily listened to the radio broadcasts of Dr. Raymond Charles Barker (1911 - 1988) and wanted to be more involved with the teachings of Ernest Holmes (1887 - 1960) book Science of Mind first published in 1922.  Holmes also originated the international periodical Science of Mind magazine in 1927.

Dr. Barker opened the First Church of Religious Science in New York City in 1946, was President of the International New Thought Alliance (INTA) and a well-known minister, author and teacher throughout the New Thought movement.

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.

On March 31, 1975 Fred D. Shavor was unanimously accepted and approved as Interim-Minister after the demise of Rev. Leo V. Stockman.  October 29, 1976 Fred Shaver receives a letter from Raymond Charles Barker approving his work.  Fred is welcomed into the ministry of Religious Science by letter on November 9, 1976 and becomes Rev. Fred D. Shavor.  In a letter from Frank E. Richelieu written on November 9, 1978,  Fred is advised that he was granted full ordination as minister on October 31, 1978 by the IARSC.  Fred was ordained by Dr. Stewart Grayson on Saturday March 17, 1979.

Fred served as minister for until the early ‘90’s when he retired.  Frankie Timmers was minister for three years and sadly left us for another opportunity in Morristown, NJ.  Fred came out of retirement to serve this Center while we were again on the search for another minister.

Fred entered eternal rest on February of 2009.  He kept us all together for over 25 years and is sadly missed.

Two of our main slogans are "Change your Thinking... Change your Life" and "God in You, as You, is You". 

We strive to keep positive thoughts and ideas in our consciousness every Sunday morning when we meet. Sunday mornings at our Center we have interactive discussion group meetings with the expertise of several exceptional leaders who have studied elements of positive thinking.  Each one of them has led a life influenced by their beliefs in New Thought.