July 9, 2011

Town's opposition to spiritual center ends up in court

A woman finds her plan for an interfaith retreat in Virginia is not welcomed by the community.

By SUSAN KINZIE The Washington Post

(Continued from page 1)

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Laura George envisions her property, above, as a spiritual retreat with up to 10 cabins and visiting ministers – but that doesn’t sit well with townspeople in Independence, Va., below.

Photos by Jared Soares/The Washington Post

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"I didn't think it would be this tough," she added.

George was a lawyer in Leesburg, Va., when the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks occurred. They shook her up. "I saw what was coming -- what is here now -- is what we call a great cusp ... a period of turmoil which precedes a major paradigm shift," she said at home.

Sept. 11 "is a symptom of a larger conflict going on spiritually around the globe," said George, who has long black hair and was barefoot and wearing jeans and a tie-dyed peace sign T-shirt. The polarization of different religions is worsening, she said. "I just saw that things were coming to a boiling point."

So she began writing a series of books and planning the "Peace Pentagon."

It would fit into a clearing by her home in Independence, which she moved into last year when her son finished high school. Ten cabins for visitors and classes (including exploration of past lives), meditation, hiking and kayaking would be available.

"Our dream is to have ministers from all five of the primary religions here on alternating weeks," she said.

If she wins the suit, George said, she would start building right away and open as soon as possible for classes and events. Then she laughed a little, saying, "If anybody comes!"


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Laura George: “I really think this is an area that needs to be exposed to some alternative belief systems.”


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