Born: March 22, 1861, Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Died: March 14, 1945, Denver, Colorado, United States
Lived: First Church of Divine Science, 1400 N Williams St, Denver, CO 80218, USA (39.73874, -104.96557)
645 Lafayette Street, Denver
Buried: Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Denver County, Colorado, USA, Plot: Blk 2
Find A Grave Memorial# 33130165
Books: Short Lessons in Divine Science, In the Light of Healing: Sermons by Nona L. Brooks, Mysteries
Church: The First Church of Divine Science in Denver is located at the northeast corner of 14th Avenue and Williams Street, just north of Cheesman Park. Now known as the Althea Center for Engaged Spirituality, the church and its Denver congregants were important in the development of Divine Science.
Address: 1400 N Williams St, Denver, CO 80218, USA (39.73874, -104.96557)
Phone: +1 303-322-7738
Founded in 1885 in San Francisco by Malinda Cramer, the Church of Divine Science moved its headquarters to Denver after the 1906 San Francisco earthquake. Cramer first visited Colorado in 1887 to lecture on Divine Science and found an attentive audience in Denver, particularly in the Brooks sisters of Pueblo. By 1898, Cramer’s followers founded the Colorado College of Divine Science, and a year later they founded the First Church of Divine Science in Denver. From what I have read, Divine Science has similarities to Christian Science, but more information about the faith can be found here. The First Church of Divine Science building was constructed in 1922 to accommodate the growing congregation in Denver. The church has a circular colonnade at the corner entrance, which is flanked by two wings, both with a series of columns supporting a decorative frieze. Large windows between the columns allow light into the sanctuary and offices. The church was designed by Denver society architect, Jules Jacques Benois Benedict, often known as J.J.B. Benedict. Benedict was a talented architect who also had a reputation for being moody and difficult to work with despite his creative genius. He designed numerous residences for Denver’s elite, including the (demolished) Belmar mansion for May Bonfils Berryman. He also designed commercial buildings and several structures for Denver’s city and mountain parks. According to the National Register nomination for Benedict’s completed buildings, the First Church of Divine Science was Benedict’s first church commission. The main body of the church is buff-colored stucco textured with small pebbles. This is ornamented by beautiful buff and pale-blue glazed terra cotta at the rounded colonnade and on the flanking wings. The National Register nomination refers to a 1923 article in Architectural Record noting that the congregation requested classical ornament rather than more overtly religious symbolism.
Who: Nona Lovell Brooks (March 22, 1861 – March 14, 1945)
Nona L. Brooks, described as a "prophet of modern mystical Christianity", was a leader in the New Thought movement and a founder of the Church of Divine Science. Brooks was born in Louisville, Kentucky, the youngest daughter of Chauncey and Lavinia Brooks. At a fairly early age, her family moved just outside Charleston, West Virginia, where Brooks graduated from the Charleston Female Academy. Due to the collapse of her father's salt mining business, the family moved again, this time to Pueblo, Colorado where he entered the metal mining business. He died shortly after the move, when Brooks was 19. In 1890, with the aim of becoming a teacher, Brooks enrolled at Pueblo Normal School, which was followed by a one-year stay at Wellesley College. In 1887, encouraged by her sister, Althea Brooks Small, Nona Brooks attended classes taught by Kate Bingham, proponent of the New Thought philosophy. While attending these classes, Brooks "found herself healed of a persistent throat infection" and shortly thereafter Brooks and Small began to heal others. In December 1898, Brooks was ordained by Malinda Cramer as a minister in the Church of Divine Science and founded the Denver Divine Science College. Shortly thereafter, she inaugurated the Divine Science Church of Denver, holding its initial service on January 1, 1899 at the Plymouth Hotel in Denver, in the process becoming the first woman pastor in Denver. In 1902, Brooks founded Fulfillment, a Divine Science periodical. During this period, she also served on several Denver civic boards, including the Colorado State Prison Board. After World War I Brooks succeeded her sister Fannie James as head of the college and in 1922 Brooks aligned the growing Church of Divine Science with the International New Thought Alliance. In the early 1930s she moved to Australia, where she established several Divine Science organizations, returning to Chicago in 1935 and then back to Denver in 1938. Nona was described by many who knew her as warm, gentle, and "motherly", but with "a strength that came from conviction". She lived at 645 N Lafayette St, Denver, CO 80218, and is buried at Fairmount Cemetery (430 S Quebec St, Denver, CO 80247, USA).
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