Center for Spiritual Living, Santa Rosa

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Edward Viljoen

ev for edu.jpgRev. Edward Viljoen, D.D., found his way to northern California and the Center for Spiritual Living on January 4, 1994. Dr. Edward was born in South Africa where he lived for his first quarter of a century.

He attained a BA in music composition, served in the South African Air Force 2 years, and taught music at an all girls school for a time. In addition, he played freelance flute and piccolo for various orchestras in South Africa. He was the winner of a National Composition Competition and a composer of Children's musicals. He is the youngest child of Madeline and Edward Senior; he lost his older brother Garry in 1985. He was named for his father and for St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music, and was raised in the Roman Catholic faith.

Although he loved music and excelled at it, he longed for spiritual knowledge and searched every where for it. He visited as many churches and other spiritual centers as he was able, looking for answers to life's questions. Eventually, he decided to move to the United States and ended up in Burbank, California. On his way to the airport to make his initial voyage to the US, he had picked up a book called New Design for Living by Ernest Holmes. He read it once between South Africa and Europe and again between Europe and the US. This book, that seemed to summarize and organize the different spiritual ideas he had been collecting over his years of searching, captivated him. In Burbank, he discovered quite by "accident" that he had moved in around the corner from a Center for Spiritual Living! At the first service he attended, before the offering was ever requested, this South African young man decided to offer himself to be a minister. He says it was when the minister was speaking, that the familiar feeling of being Home gently overtook him.

During his ministerial studies, he worked in the movie market research industry. He would work all day, go to classes in the evening, and attend three different services on Sundays.  Not wanting to wait until he had an official credential as a minister before he started serving, he enrolled himself as a volunteer in a number of organizations providing support and services to people with life threatening diseases. He also established a meditation hour at his home church and a Toastmasters group. When he did graduate as a minister from the Ernest Holmes College of Ministry in Los Angeles, he became the Staff Minister at the Burbank church, in charge of Pastoral Care.

Dr. Edward first heard of the Santa Rosa Center at Asilomar, site of the national conference. Santa Rosa was putting out the call for a new minister. A friend dragged him to the open house where he, along with several others, met the Board President. He had ZERO expectations and had gone along merely to appease his friend. One thing led to another and he found himself candidating for the position of senior minister in Santa Rosa, which he was offered, surprising him greatly.

When asked to identify the most powerful lesson he has learned from this teaching, he replied, "My day to day responses in life are not fixed or predetermined. Rather than endlessly reacting to life's events, I really do seem to have choice and flexibility in how much of a channel for Spirit I will be at any given moment." Regarding the aspect of his job he loves the most, he commented, "I love teaching. I love watching people's faces light up when they realize who they are."

Dr. Edward is co author of the book Seeing Good at Work with Dr. Joyce Duffala and broadcasts a weekly radio program “Spiritual Living” on KSRO 1350 “The Voice of Sonoma County.” He has served the United Centers for Spiritual Living as Chair during the organization’s evolution from a hierarchical model to its current Global Heart model. For his work in this transition and in service he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity.

He wrote the Guide to Reading the Science of Mind Text Book which is now included in new publications of the text book by Tarcher-Putnam. He has served as the chair of the National Summer Conference planning team for United Church and the Community Spiritual Gathering planning team. He is co-facilitator of the Ongoing Ministers Education Conference which has twice received the Golden Works award from International Centers for Spiritual Living as well as funding from the Hefferlin Foundation and United Centers for Spiritual Living in recognition for the work done to support ongoing education for ministers. He founded and administers the New Thought Ministers on line discussion group and is a Board Member for the Sonoma County Law Enforcement Chaplaincy.

Dr. Edward is a voracious reader, and loves to snorkel, garden, and be near the ocean. He lives with his cat Andrew and 17 guppies.

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Last Updated: Friday, 25 June 2010 08:42

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