Rev. Dr. W. John Murray
Divine Science minister
1865 - 1925
Rev. W. John Murray founded the Church of the Healing Christ in New York City in 1906.
Dr. Murray had an unusual background. A man of short, square build, with black hair, a frank, open face and a very forceful, positive delivery; there was yet an air of gentleness and spirituality about him.
He had been a Catholic priest but left the Church of Rome to educate himself in spiritual sciences. He also had studied with Emma Curtis Hopkins and had been ordained by Nona Brooks [Divine Science] before undertaking independent metaphysical work in New York. He attracted a large number of people who came to him for healing, and it is said that he was so intent on study that he read books as he walked on the sidewalks of New York. In the early days of his work, the metaphysical movement was subject to hostility from the medical profession, and on one occasion Dr. Murray was arrested and put into jail for practicing without a medical license.
He had moved some years earlier from small halls and midweek meetings in his own home into the great ballroom of the Waldorf-Astoria, which was filled to capacity every Sunday morning. On Sunday evenings he took the train to Philadelphia and spoke in the ballroom of the best hotel.
"His Waldorf lectures were taken down in shorthand and became the substance of many books, and it was reported that ministers of evangelical churches frequently attended in the effort to learn his method of reinterpreting the Scriptures." (Holmes, pp. 185-186)
"In the summer of 1917 [Nona Brooks] gave part of her vacation to help with a center that had been started in Buffalo, New York. She had planned to go on east from there, and down the coast to West Virginia, but when she received a telegram from W.John Murray in New York City, asking her to occupy his pulpit there in order that he might have a much needed vacation, she consented at once. Nona loved New York, and at Dr. Murray's request the center there has been given permission by The Denver College to be called The First Divine Science Church of New York City as well as its secondary name, The Church of the Healing Christ." (Deane, pp. 151-152)