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Tribute to Louis Richard Batzler
I am honored to respectfully share this tribute to Rev. Dr. Louis Richard Batzler (1922-2016), who I contacted in 1980. Richard was a serene, selfless and considerate person, who cared and had love and compassion for others. He made a significant difference to my personal development during my transformative spiritual journey.
Richard was educated in the USA and received his MA and PhD degrees in History, and also graduated as an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ. His ministry included many roles, such as a pastor of churches, chaplain in colleges, hospitals and hospices; teacher and counsellor; and, service roles in industry and federal government.
He was a Past President of two notable interfaith organizations: Spiritual Frontiers Fellowship International, and its academic affiliate - The Academy of Religion and Psychical Research. Richard was also the author of 11 books; a poet of about 1,500 poems (published after 1995); and, a truth-oriented researcher who produced numerous journal articles, book reviews, and audio-cassettes which dealt mainly with the spiritual life, health/healing, suicide, death and grief. Obviously, Richard was a very busy man.
When I first contacted him, I was going through a very difficult spiritual journey, since I was having an intense and prolonged kundalini energy experience (1968-89). I desperately appealed for help to many clerics of different denominations and health professionals (psychologists and psychiatrists). Richard, however, was the only non-judgemental samaritan who listened to my plight and helped me to survive. He saved my life, and kindly treated me thereafter as his own son.
In 1990, I created Spiritual Frontiers Canada (SFC), an open-minded educational forum to explore the frontiers of religion and science. Without Richard's assistance, however, SFC would not have lasted for too long. SFC prospered because he fully supported my initiative, by sending me boxes and boxes of books/materials, which in turn contributed to SFC's development, promotion and success. Richard travelled from North Carolina to Ottawa Ontario twice to present public talks/workshops to SFC members. He counselled me over the years about my research on "Truality"(www.truality.ca), up to the remaining months of his life. He also did all this without any thought of financial reward.
In addition to helping me create SFC, Richard made a difference in that because of his thoughtful and sanguine advice, I was able to lead SFC successfully for about a dozen years. One indicator of the success involved was that during the 1990s, over 10,000 persons attended SFC public talks, workshops and socials in Ottawa. Presently, SFC is still active, (www.spiritual frontiers.ca), and I continue to participate in its activities.
Relative to my personal passion for music, Richard also made another much-appreciated difference in restoring my self-confidence that still continues. Although I was trained as a classical piano-accordianist for ten years, my zeal to play music declined during the kundalini experience, Richard enthusiastically encouraged me however to share my music again. As a result, I returned to and still actively musically play my happy piano-accordian to lead singalongs with those in hospitals, nursing homes, senior citizen retirement residences, churches, synagogues, veterans' groups, and various ethnic groups. Overall, I have been doing so for over sixty years in about a dozen countries.
I feel that Rev. Batzler was, is, and always will be the most genuine spiritually-minded person I ever met. In retrospect, I am still amazed that it did not matter to him what my religious background was, since he never asked me whether I was raised Catholic or Protestant. I am grateful that I was blessed by the Creator, who sent a remarkable angel in human form to be a role model of service to me when I most needed it.
George J. V. Kokich. Founder, Spiritual Frontiers Canada
© George J. V. Kokich 2017