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Rev Mario Schoenmaker:

Religious Revolutionary

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Photo: Rev Colin Read (left)
and Rev Mario Schoenmaker

churches (and I was part of the whole church system) there was the conflict, and consequently I had to learn, first of all to keep silent, not only about my beliefs but also about my inner experiences - my experience of my own previous lives. Also the way I could help other people in discovering their own lives. And later on I had to justify or come to terms with the Christian Bible and how the Bible could be interpreted in such a way that it certainly allows for reincarnation!”

It was Colin Read who helped him to do this. These two together were a dynamo. Within a year Mario had formed a new church - the first to be born on Australian soil. It happened when the Congregational Church was invited to join the Uniting Church, but the Victoria Park parishioners voted against it. So it was that a new church was born. Six years later it all became official. The Australian Government officially recognised the new church founded by the Rev Mario Schoenmaker in 1975.

Mario at last was free to present the teachings in the “Western Spiritual Tradition” within a church setting. He had always been a charismatic and vibrant speaker, and he attracted hundreds of people, who were thirsty for real spiritual knowledge. He wanted the teachings to make sense and have a practical application in people's lives. He claimed the traditional churches had removed 'reality' from the pulpit, and replaced it with 'dogma'. Dogma had no relevance to spiritual life. He said that people must be free to think for themselves and act for themselves, and to realise beyond everything else, that divinity lies within. “Christ in you - The Hope of Glory”.

He set to work creating all that would encompass this. People were ordained, and the church spread worldwide. His worldwide Spiritual Readings Ministry also flourished. His deepest love was (what he called) the Priesthood. Like his church it was no ordinary priesthood! By the time he died on 12th January 1997, he had ordained over forty people. Perhaps his greatest joy was when he and Colin introduced a New and 'Free' Expression of the Priesthood - this meant 'free' of the structure and church confines altogether. This was the real revolution, and it happened in September 1996 - three months before he died.

Rev Mario Schoenmaker had gone from orthodox minister to First Minister of his own church, to eventually creating a new and relevant expression of the priesthood within the world, and outside the church walls. He ordained people who were fully engaged in a professional life. The New Expression of the priesthood allowed for a musician, doctor, lawyer, psychologist or any vocational person to be ordained. The only stipulation was that they had to 'train' with him. Some of us did this for many, many years! After ordination these professionals would be a silent power in their vocation and work.

There is much more that could be said about the life and work of Rev Mario Schoenmaker. There is a paper - presented by Lyne-Melody and John Rawson, to “Alternative Expressions of the Numinous”, University of Queensland, August 2006. It outlines in précis, the entire history, in five thousand short words. Learn more at:

www.marioschoenmaker.com

Melody Rawson

The challenge for Mario was to find a suitable vehicle through which he could impart real spiritual knowledge. As stated earlier, his training for the ministry began in the Catholic Church. But by the time he was a mere twenty-one years of age he was already disillusioned with it. Thus he burned all his theological books and with them their dogmas. He wanted to make the change from orthodox Christianity to Mystical Christianity.

The road was not an easy one. The pathway eventually opened up for him. He converted to Protestantism through the Salvation Army, and later went on to become an itinerant preacher within the Congregational Church. Whilst not yet ordained, he was a minister, at the Victoria Park Congregational Church in Western Australia. In 1968 he was ordained into this church. It was from there that his journey towards “religious revolutionary” began.

Mario's spiritual understandings were vastly different from the orthodox church. Because of this and his earlier experience with clairvoyance, he became once more frustrated with orthodoxy and dogma.

In an interview I conducted in 1983 he said:

“As a Congregational Minister and actively engaged in my parish work, I came across an immense amount of suffering, pain and sorrow - it was at that stage that I started asking myself. 'Why does God allow suffering; why does he allow pain? 'Of course the usual Christian answer is that you have to suffer silently and God will reward you when you get to Heaven!”

Mario said this made no sense to him, and so it was that his questioning brought for him dramatic changes within. Certain mystical experiences occurred for him. A chance meeting with Colin Read - who became his closest friend and co-worker - assisted him to make the changes outwardly. Colin said to Mario “Why don't you teach what you 'see' instead of what the congregation wants?” With that advice came the courage to do exactly that. From then on Mario started teaching reincarnation and karma, and interpreting the Bible on the allegorical level within the Congregational Church.

In the same interview of 1983 I asked Mario:

Q) “As you were actively engaged in the Congregational Church at that time, did you ever feel any conflict between the acceptance of reincarnation and the teachings of that church?”

A) “Yes there was. In Congregationalism it was not so difficult, because in the original congregational teachings there was the freedom from actual dogma … except the dogma of believing in Jesus Christ. But in other

Rev Mario Schoenmaker:
Teacher

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