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Lawrence G. Newhouse, 1910-1963
Cofounder of The Christward Ministry
Within every man or woman is a wellspring of Living Waters which has as its source the Reservoir of Divinity. This ever-flowing stream will never run dry. Its supply can never be exhausted.
Universally, people who knew Lawrence described him as the most selfless, giving, Christ-like man of integrity, love, kindness, and devotion they had ever known. He was a man who had a profound impact upon their lives.
Lawrence applied the spiritual principles of a Man—the need for discipline to live the Christed life. He was a gentle soul, a Christian disciple, and a valiant warrior of Light. Every aspect of his being was wholly dedicated to Christ and to God.
Lawrence George Newhouse was born on July 18, 1910 in a suburb of Chicago. After graduating high school, Lawrence came to California on his own, on an impulse and for adventure. Lawrence stayed with a family that had been his neighbor in Chicago, Frank Dryka, who got Lawrence a job at his printing business (the Pacific Manifold Company), where business forms were produced. Lawrence worked up to being trusted with sales and would travel in Southern California selling business forms. It was on one of these business trips in San Bernardino, California, where Lawrence would meet his future wife and life partner, Flower A. Newhouse.
Since arriving in Southern California in November, 1924, Flower was often an invited guest lecturer at churches and lecture halls. In May, 1933, Flower was scheduled to speak in San Bernardino, CA. Her hostess that she had planned to stay with during her speaking engagement, suddenly became unable to host her. This person then asked another member of her group that Flower would be speaking to, if she would be able to host Flower for the night. That woman agreed to host Flower overnight.
This woman happened to have a boarder at her house, Lawrence. He was in San Bernardino selling business forms during a business trip. Lawrence was outside mowing the grass when he first saw Flower as she walked up the front walkway to meet her hostess for the night. As they would later describe, it was an immediate recognition of each other on a Soul level, a recognition that would soon see them joining together in a life partnership of devotion to serve the Christ.
I think, in my own experience, one of the finest examples of a person who was able to live between these two worlds was our own beloved Lawrence. Lawrence Newhouse had that remarkable quality of being very effective and very successful by anyone else's standards, but he would never take credit for this for himself. If he was involved in something that came out quite well, Lawrence's remarks again and again were, "Well, how fortunate we are that we have the overshadowing Father to guide us through." He would always give credit to the source of God creatively through himself or the group to win a victory or achieve some objective. And that's the ideal we need to keep in mind spiritually.
Dr. Stephen Isaac, The Prime Importance of Humility
The next several months saw the relationship between these two blossom. On October 31, 1933, Lawrence and Flower decided to come together in partnership and marriage in her life's work for Christ. Flower was invited to speak at a lecture engagement in another town, but she did not have a driver. Knowing they were to be together this life, she and Lawrence got engaged, eloped, and he accompanied her during her speaking engagement. A few months later they had a public wedding, in April of 1934.
The couple lived in Glendora, California upon their marriage. Lawrence worked for the Glendora Press as a printer about the time of their marriage and continued to do so until they purchased Questhaven. After the purchase of Questhaven Lawrence worked for the Vista Press at times, as well as a firefighter on Camp Pendleton during World War II.
Lawrence had a wonderful way of letting go of any personal mission he might have desired to pursue and gave his full life and support to Flower and the mission that was streaming through her in the founding of Questhaven and The Christward Ministry. He would accompany Flower on her many speaking engagements throughout Canada and the United States, traveling to well over 100 cities—many of them several times over—with Flower being an invited lecturer. They often traveled on faith alone, with little or no money, but they were always provided for. Flower would offer the message while Lawrence would be the host, run the book table, and be the contact for people.
We should all search for the treasure that lies within each person we meet. Though often concealed by negativity, darkness, and evil actions, a treasure lies within. It is like a treasure hunt with each that we meet.
Lawrence and Flower searched for five years throughout Southern California trying to find the perfect home to become their base for the Christward Ministry, a training center of esoteric Christian mysticism. In January, 1940, the wilderness area later to be known as Questhaven was purchased by Flower and Lawrence for $4,250 dollars—less than ten dollars an acre. The property was formally dedicated "to the Lord Christ forever" on August 4, 1940.
The original 440 acres (later to become 655 acres) was very primitive and undeveloped. The only structure on the property was an abandoned small stone house in disrepair. There was no electricity (and wouldn't be until 1948), no phones until 1951, and only a windmill for a small well that was dry. Lawrence would later build the first chapel on the property, Chapelito, in 1950, as well as several other structures.
I just keep taking one step at a time. How can I not always be happy when I'm married to an Angel.
In those early years at Questhaven, Lawrence's pioneering work kept him busy. Lawrence would typically work 16-18 hour days—always full of energy and purposefulness. He and Flower planted by hand most of the trees found on the retreat grounds, and hand-carried pails of water long distances to water them.
Lawrence gave his life to the creation of Questhaven Retreat. His hands helped to forge it; he gave form to Flower's message, and he made it available in print. He sustained and supported Flower, always. His spirit infills this retreat, as well as the peace and Christ Spirit you feel here.
James Hulbert, Reflections on Lawrence Newhouse
Besides working to develop Questhaven's wilderness with his own hands, his work consisted of being the editor for all of Flower's writings and books. He edited, printed, and published the Ministry's work with an old manual printing press at Questhaven. He would conduct the administrative work required for the Ministry and the retreat. He would also greet visitors coming to the retreat, as well as speak during Sunday services as Flower's chairperson, or give Sunday service lectures from time to time.
Lawrence was a staunch, fearless, and tireless defender of Flower and the Christward Ministry. This became most evident during several challenges that presented roadblocks to Questhaven's future. This included the formation of a municipal water district to block a larger water district's positioning to control and tax us out of existence. Another challenge surfaced when a man owning an adjoining property tried to bulldoze a road through the middle of Questhaven to create his own right of way. Lawrence arranged for lawyers, planned and coordinated the Ministry's response, and often went to court to fight for Questhaven's rights. He even took on the role of private investigator, gathering all the needed information to help him and the lawyers be victorious in the courtroom.
Man’s Potential Divinity
Reverend Lawrence G. Newhouse, Inspiration Magazine, 1946
Lawrence exemplified such discipleship. We feel a great distance behind in our own stature and unfoldment. He was a finer reality, a true warrior for the Light. We accept his entrance into God's greater reality.
Dr. Stephen Isaac, a memorial lecture
Lawrence and Korean Orphans
In 1956 after being moved by the plight of Korean-American orphans in Korea following the Korean War, Lawrence and Flower worked to adopt several of these orphans for themselves, as well as for families of Questhaven. At the time, there was a quota placed by the American government on the number of Korean-American children who could be brought to the United States for adoptions. Lawrence flew to Washington D.C. and met with President Eisenhower's advisor Sherman Adams. He was so impressed with Lawrence that he rapidly convinced the president to raise the quota limit, allowing for additional adoptions to take place.
Lawrence was always serving. His entire life was service. But above that he was totally devoted, dedicated, and consecrated to a higher calling. He answered a higher call and completely gave himself over to it. Lawrence wasn't serving just to be serving, but he was answering to a call of what needed to be done for Christ, a call he heard within himself.
With the quotas raised, Lawrence then flew to South Korea on more than one occasion, to arrange for the adoptions for his own family, as well as for other Questhaven families. Eventually, about a dozen Korean-American children were brought back for adoptions, including three that Lawrence and Flower adopted as their own — Christopher, Melodie Athene, and Galen.
In 1956 Lawrence organized a men's group named the Questers. It was a group of about 30 who were dedicated and committed to working together to live the Christed life as spiritual men. He formed this group on Sunday, January 29, 1956, and would die seven years to the day later.
Whereas God, Who created man, is urgently needed in our world affairs as well as in our individual lives, and Whereas God can influence and direct this world through consecrated men and women; We Hereby resolve to unitedly and individually consecrate our entire beings to God the Good, and dedicate our hearts, our heads, and our hands to Christ, our Lord.
The Questers Sacred Pledge
"In the Presence of the Power of Almighty God, and before His witnessing Host, we unitedly and individually dedicate ourselves through this sacred pledge. 'I pledge myself, to the best of my ability, to live the Christward life and serve the Christ Cause—so help me God!' "Together we can accomplish much toward building a permanent Christian Retreat for God and the Christ Hierarchy to use for the blessing of the world. Together, let us be about our task of building! We are reporting for duty, Lord. Use us as Thou Wilt!
The Questers seek to emulate these three keynotes: Reverence for God, Consecration to Christ and His Cause, and Responsiveness to the Holy Spirit.
The Questers aspire to promote and provide active purposeful service through self-giving. They believe that men have a distinctive contribution to make to group achievement through their wholehearted dedication to service in action. Like pillars of the temple, they lend strength and stable support which are trustworthy and reliable. Men may give direction to group activity by adding their unwavering faith and devotion, their wise, practical planning, and their cooperative action.
In the early 1960's Lawrence was diagnosed with what was described as terminal lung cancer. He courageously fought for life, with the cancer being in remission several times—but it would return. Lawrence would finally succumb to this disease on January 29, 1963. His doctor was extremely impressed with his patient and spoke at his memorial.
Lawrence's Oncologist, Dr. Carson, said Lawrence changed his mind 17 times about the finality of his disease. Lawrence demonstrated the strongest will to live that he had ever known.
You don't need to tell me anything about this man's goodness. I have never seen anything like him. Besides being good, he is a miracle. I have never, in all my medical history, seen anything like his strength, his stick-to-itiveness, his guts in resistance to this disease.
Dr. Carson, Lawrence's Oncologist
To someone who helped Lawrence become a little more comfortable during his long illness, he would look up lovingly, saying, Bless you, you are an Angel of mercy.
When a friend, after a particularly difficult day said to him, "I don't know why the best people have to suffer so," Lawrence answered, The benefits are indescribable. God works in mysterious ways.
Letter of Appreciation to His Doctors
Reverend Lawrence G. Newhouse
Towards the end, when Lawrence was admitted to the hospital for the last time, he was heard to say: I thought I had given up all of self before, but, I hadn't. Now I have given everything, everything. There isn't anything left that I haven't given over to God, even to the last breath!
I have never had such a wonderful patient. He has left a tremendous impression upon me. He is a powerful man. Many times I have signed him as near termination (17 times). Don't ask me about this man. Only God knows!
Dr. Carson, Lawrence's Oncologist
Flower was alone with Lawrence in the hospital room when he quietly crossed over into God's World. It was eleven-thirty in the evening, January 29, 1963. He went like a climber disappearing into the mists near the summit of an Everest, giving with his life for the victory.
Peace filled the room. He had fought the good fight. Looking at his resting face, thin and drawn by the body's tortured ordeal, Flower blinked aside tears, then said to him in the farewell of her thoughts, "Well done, thou good and faithful servant."
Lawrence completely gave himself to God. When with him, or when he spoke at service, you were taken away into a higher awareness, lifted up. You were inspired by just being in his presence.
The impact that Questhaven has had and continues to have on all those who come here is the story of Flower and Lawrence. Because of them, Questhaven is a place for people for all posterity to have their Soul catch on fire—to become a purer vehicle for the Divine Spirit to use. The Christward Ministry and Questhaven is what it is today, due in great part to Lawrence. Throughout the building of Questhaven, he gave his personality self over to the greater demands of the Spirit. Through this selfless act, Questhaven emerged. One can still feel that call walking these sacred grounds today.
Lawrence Remembered by Flower in Life at Questhaven
Reverend Flower A. Newhouse
This quote from Disciplines of the Holy Quest seems to sum up the life of Lawrence:
The great and flaming need is to learn to love, to worship, to give oneself to God before all else—before even the pleasure of one's own commitments. For this reason, that which stands in the way of genuine and wholehearted humility for all channels is usually the focus unknowingly of interest in themselves, their lives, and their approaches. These have to be swept out. Discipleship can come much more readily when an individual learns just that simple point—to be in love with God more than centered within himself or outwardly engrossed in activities and love of others.
Reverend Flower A. Newhouse, Disciplines of the Holy Quest
Video: Lawrence on Great Souls 04:31
Reverend Lawrence G. Newhouse