Tuesday, January 3, 2017

GSO , New York City

It began as Work’s Publishing. It’s a  special destination for writers if only given the number of books sold.  There are tours daily and 17000 people visitted last year. I asked if I could take pictures in the Archives and was told that was okay.  I love the history.  I have been blessed to have chatted with Ernest Kurtz who wrote Not God and the Spirituality of Imperfection with Ketcham.   I loved both books.  Dick B is another of my favourite historians. I’ve been blessed to communicate with him as well.  It was great to see his histories of the books that the originals read and books from their libraries at Stepping Stone and in the Archives.
I loved learning about Works Publishing.  I want to come back to New York if only to visit 17 William Street in New Jersey and 30 Vesey Street, New York.   We actually walked by where the offices had been on Lexington.  I’d love to go to Calvary House 61st East 21st Street New York City.  It was where the Oxford Group met. I’m not sure if it’s anything today.   We did get to a most uplifting meeting near there in the Chelsea area last night. The first meeting in Canada was in Toronto.  Now it really is international and there’s an International desk in the GSO to address all the correspondence and communication from all around the world. Another desk was the conference desk, this aiding with divisional conferences ,as well as the world service one, the next being in Detroit.
We learned at Stepping Stones there was place in Vermont where you can stay in one of the historic houses.  Akron is definitely a place I really want to go.  I’d just love to see where the Mayflower and hospitals were.  I loved hearing Bob and Anne’s son Smitty at the North Shore Round Up talking about being a kid with all these strangers having coffee in his kitchen.
The tour of Central Office was informative and most enjoyable.  I certainly wish government ran with such apparent modesty and efficiency. A hundred are employed and given the millions touched it’s so very worthy.  When I asked Jocelyn who showed us about if that was the Hudson River, she said, yes and added that some of the people there had seen Scully’s plane landing.  Prayers and miracles.
I learned that when they first approached Rockefeller he refused their request for $50,000, a huge sum in the day, but gave them $5000 for basic support.  He gave Bill a living subsidy for a while too.  Bill got a royalty for the sale of the book but it wasn’t until the famous articles Morris Markey and Jack Alexander wrote that sales increased.
The building the GSO is in is called the Interchurch Building and was developed by Rockefeller as an interdenominational location. The Riverside Church which he was a member and benefactor for was next door. It’s inter racial and inter denominational. A picture of the founding pastor, Rev. Harry Emerson Fosdick was on the wall alongside John D. Rockerfeller’s picture in the Archives.
I loved seeing a picture of Rev. Shoemaker, Dr. Leonard Strong and Henrietta Sieberling. I’d read about all these people but loved seeing photographs of them in the Archives.  They have the most amazing things in the archives, newspaper clippings going back to the 30’s.  I’d seen pictures of Sister Mary Ignatia who worked with Dr. Bob but loved seeing these again.
I  first learned of Hank and the Honor Dealer’s at Stepping Stones. Bill’s  “Wits End” desk ,with it’s cigarette burns along the edge, came from Hank’s. Their secretary Ruth Hock was a really beautiful girl and was quoted as saying the Big Book ‘wouldn’t have been written without Bill, and it wouldn’t have been published without Hank.”  There are just so many important people in this whole story which so often gets reduced to the two founders.  Roland and Ebby are just another couple of characters in the whole long line of participants in this great story, called the miracle of the 20th century.
Having just been to Stepping Stones Laura and I enjoyed seeing the picture of Bill with his violin and Lois at her piano.  There were so many great pictures.  We loved it.  Everyone was so friendly and helpful too.
After we left the Interchurch Building we went next door to the Riverside Church which is really a great Roman Gothic edifice. In the Gethsemane Chapel there is a famous picture of Jesus praying.
It certainly was an afternoon of history and spirituality.  Spiritus contra Spiritum.
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