Kenneth Wapnick Memorial Tributes

"From the heart, may it go to the heart."

The following tributes and expressions of gratitude were submitted to the Foundation following the death of Dr. Kenneth Wapnick. While Kenneth's physical presence is no longer with us, his wise, gentle, and loving spirit will forever remain with the Foundation, and with all those whose lives he touched.

February 22, 1942 – December 27, 2013

Memorial Tribute by

Sue Mistretta

I am still shocked and feeling very sad to know that Ken is no longer with us in physical form as our teacher and mentor of ACIM at the Foundation. I am aware that I am not alone with these feelings and he will be greatly missed by countless students, friends and family. Ken Wapnick may very well be the most significant and influential person I have had in my life. Being his student for 25 years, his profound understanding of ACIM and his clarity in communicating what it says along with his unwavering demonstration of the principles stands like a shining light in the darkness. Ken would remind us that Jesus would say that we seem to only drink from the ocean of Love in small increments because of our fear of Love. My experience was that Ken's presence and teaching methods provided an ever growing vessel from which I learned to drink. His warm dark brown eyes were filled with light and often when I sequestered him with my "urgent" questions they would simply disappear in his presence ..... Hmmm ... after a while I realized I just wanted an excuse to sit with him. Another way I resonated with Ken is through music. I too have found music to be a very powerful symbol for me on my journey and I loved and resonated with his usage of musical metaphors. On a sadder note, I must admit that I am feeling a bit anxious now that he is not here to talk with and learn from and in some way for me he played the role of a buffer to soften the blows of the ego's antics. As I have been listening more deeply through my grief, it seems that a message to me (any maybe for many of us?) is to "step up to the plate" with my forgiveness practice. Why delay a deeper acceptance of Love? I keep hearing from others that I have spoken with, that the lesson in our collective classroom is for us to realize that Ken lives within us and I truly hope that I will open to accept and embrace this on my Journey without Distance.

In deep gratitude and sadness,

Sue Mistretta

Memorial Tribute by

Patricia Peabody

Ken has been my teacher since he and Gloria recorded a set of audio tapes for Nightingale Conant many years ago. Ken's books and recordings since then have become a bright beacon of light in the world. The clarity of his explanations, his humor and his gentle guidance have given me a place to grow in the awareness of love's presence. I am deeply grateful for the thoughtful attention he devoted to his writing and recording over these many years. His love will indeed live forever.

Memorial Tribute by

Hugh Magee

I first met Ken in 1987, when he & Gloria kindly met me at Kennedy Airport (on the only afternoon available to us), following my arrival there from London. After much conversation, climaxed by a pleasant supper on City Island, they delivered me to my destination in Westchester County.

Ken always commended kindness as a suitable ACIM "virtue." At this first meeting, I felt completely surrounded by kindness. So I knew early on that Ken & Gloria both practiced this virtue themselves.

Such kindness has not diminished over time. Ken has been exceptionally helpful to me during my subsequent work with the Course. And his willingness to review my first book, making one or two suggestions (seemingly minor ones, but important nevertheless) led to his pithy conclusion that my book was "kosher"!

Earlier, in a short note he commented on the fact that I had not yet written the above-mentioned book, despite the fact that I had been discussing it with him for a long time. He finally wrote to me in what must be the shortest letter I have ever received:

"Write the goddamn book!"

Over the years, Ken has been the Course teacher I have found myself able to fully trust. One reason for this is that, as well as being a wonderful teacher, Ken was a scholar. Of all the Course teachers I have known, he alone had what I regard as a credible knowledge of Christianity, along with other contemporary thought systems—his magisterial Love Does Not Condemn is a masterpiece of erudition and remains the first really scholarly book about the Course (hopefully others will follow as ACIM gains wider acceptance in the academic and ecclesiastical worlds).

Ken's brilliant Course scholarship has been extremely helpful to me personally. As a practicing Anglican (Episcopal) priest who has been committed to the Course teachings for over 30 years, I have come to realize that ACIM and Christianity are essentially incompatible (some will disagree)—again, Ken put it best with another pithy admonition:

"You can't have it both ways, Hugh!"

This advice literally changed the course of my entire ministry in the Church.

Memorial Tribute by

Yvonne Magee

As a student of the Course and a study group leader for many years, I have always known there is a source of completely reliable information and guidance on ACIM. Ken's incisive grasp and living demonstration of the Course and clear, brilliant scholarship have never failed to help unfold the depth of my experience. His legacy of writings and videos holds us all in a safe embrace as we proceed.

Some years ago, I was blessed to spend an afternoon with Ken and Gloria, along with my husband Hugh, in Roscoe, New York. I fell in love with Ken and his sense of humor within seconds of meeting him, as his opening words to me were (pointing to Hugh): "Don't believe a word this man tells you!"

Memorial Tribute by

Lucille Pica

Dear Gloria and family, and Foundation Staff,

It was with a heavy heart that I learned of Kenneth's passing. My deepest sympathies and love are extended to you and your loved ones and the Foundation staff during this time.

Many of us have "grown up" with the Course through Kenneth's teachings. He led the way up the ladder and always with great clarity, love, gentleness and laughter. He was Christ's messenger as we all shall become. In truth, he lives on eternally in our hearts and minds. He is as near to us as the Christ, a mere thought away.

He demonstrated the greatest lesson of them all in his passing—that we cannot die. In my mind's eye, he teaches us still.

I, like so many others, am extremely grateful to you and to him for the incredible groundwork you laid in creating the Foundation.

With deep love and gratitude for the legacy of his teachings, I wish you peace, love and the comfort of God's angels. You are never alone.


Lucille Pica

Memorial Tribute by

Virginia Hart Nelson

Dear Gloria and Foundation Staff,

Monumental thanks to all of you for being there. Words are inadequate to convey the breadth of love & teaching that Ken's life offered, but I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation and gratitude for Ken's shepherding of the teaching into the larger world—of how to apply the lessons in our daily lives; for his integrity, never wavering from the truth of pure non-duality; for his humour; and for the beautifully written, literate essays which made the Light brighter every quarter.

He's left a tremendous body of work. His Light still shines.

Merci. Thank you so much.

Memorial Tribute by

Connie Wernet

Ken helped me to understand the Course.

I am so grateful to have attended many of his Academy classes and am thankful he left for us all a treasure of books, articles, Lighthouse newsletters, DVDs, CDs and MP3s. His explanations and examples enabled me to dive deeper into the Course's profound Truth.

And I appreciated his dedication to keep the Course pure, unalterable.

And to be in Ken's presence was an object lesson in what the Course teaches: kindness, a sense of humor, acceptance and forgiveness. He was an embodiment of the Course.

Ken's teachings changed my life, and I only hope I can demonstrate that he, like Jesus, never died, but that he lives in me, in all.

In deep gratitude,

Connie Wernet

Memorial Tribute by

Cynthia Quast

I first met Kenneth in 1990 at the retreat center in Roscoe, NY. I was brand new to ACIM and I went there with a friend as a vacation. I knew very little about the Course, the center or its teachers. It was a week-long workshop on special relationships and I didn't have a clue what was going on that week. But I did know one thing, Kenneth demonstrated a love and a light that I longed for and I knew I wanted to return.

In the years since that first encounter, I came to love and respect him more and more. He always encouraged me gently but consistently in my work with the Course; continually clarifying the teachings while reminding me not to take everything so seriously. I have observed his interactions with many people over the years and he always demonstrated love, impartiality and gentleness. He taught by example, demonstrating the teachings of the Course by his words and actions. To say that he has changed my life is an understatement. When I first began my studies of the Course I found it extremely difficult and I don't believe that I would still be practicing it without Kenneth's guidance and encouragement.

His death has come as an incredible shock to me as I am sure it has to everyone. I am very grateful to the Foundation for this opportunity to try to express my appreciation and gratitude for the work that Kenneth and the Foundation have done for all of us. While he made it look so easy, I think his life's work was challenging for him and yet he did it lovingly, giving of himself so generously.

When I read the quote that accompanied the announcement of Kenneth's death, "Teach not that I died in vain, teach rather that I did not die by demonstrating that I live in you," I was deeply touched. That quote struck me as the best possible message. I definitely think it would be his message to us now and as I go through the rest of my life I will strive to remember and live by it.

With love and gratitude,

Cynthia Quast

Memorial Tribute by


Ever since I went to your workshop for the first time, writing and receiving letters from you had been the greatest source of comfort and support for me. All the time I wanted to write about so many things but at same time I had no idea about what to write except a cry for help. So my letters always ended up with short, kind of matter of fact with what I had been doing. Your letters back to me was exquisite. Just short lines, full of humour, but I could really feel the love, support and all the guidance I needed. It was the perfect example of the true music behind the notes.

Your early departure was a shock to me. I always knew it would be a forgiveness lesson for me, but it was much too soon. However at the same time I really feel your gentle smile in my heart all the time. I know that you haven't really left us.

From the bottom of my heart, thank you Ken. I will love you forever. God bless you.

Memorial Tribute by

Jack and Arnette Cookerly

We are forever grateful to our friend, Ken, for preserving the integrity of A Course in Miracles while deepening our understanding of it through his inspired teaching. And, as important as his life's work was to him, it was always secondary to any opportunity for him to show kindness to others. He was a perfect example of how to live in the world and not of it, and we will miss him tremendously.

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