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

Regina Troyer

I sent my poem a few days ago, but I'm sending it again at your invitation on Facebook yesterday. I appreciate your decision not to hold a public memorial for Ken. I never met him, but watching your YouTube videos of him teaching, and listening to his CDs—the presence he shared through himself has helped me so much! His focus on living this Course uncompromisingly, 100 percent! lets me know I can do it too. Thanks for offering us this way of showing appreciation.


I dedicate this poem to you Ken. Your sure understanding comforted me. Your words will always be a crystal clear wind that blows the smoke of confusion out of my mind.


I never left the peace of God to cross a dark abyss;
What God created shines in perfect unity and bliss.
A moment more I walk the-world in innocence and fun,
Till with a gentle smile illusions melt before the sun.

Thanks for your guidance, humor and your gentle smile.

Memorial Tribute by

Lisa Conaghan

Ken Wapnick is my most beloved teacher. I love him with my whole heart and soul. I would follow him anywhere he asked me to go. He took me through several seemingly impossible situations to a peace that I didn't think was possible. Without his help, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I could not have done it. For my part, I was totally willing, so he had something to work with.


I will miss many things about Ken the person: the plane rides to Temecula, the smell of La Quinta hotel, the Oreo cookies and green tea in the kitchen at break, walking alone down to the Foundation very early Sunday mornings just to be near him. But most of all, I will miss being in his presence. The love that he radiated was unbelievable; it was not of this world. It was truly a gift to have him as my teacher.


What does his death mean? For me, I see him almost literally in front of and a little above me. He is saying, "Nothing here matters. None of it.


Leave it all behind and come to where I am. It will make you so happy."


When I think of being in his presence-that love-I know the only way to have that again is to go to where he is. And so I continue on the journey that I started with him until one day I know that I am not separate from him.


Thank you, thank you, thank you, Ken. I love you.

Memorial Tribute by

Wade Alexander

After reflecting on what to write to honor Ken Wapnick I have realized that, personally, even though the seminars and workshops I attended are memorable, the most valuable part of his legacy for me is his writings. I cherish this memory of one of my first workshops at Roscoe. It was during the summer of 1992 and I asked Ken, "If God doesn't know about this, why do it?" He answered, quick as a flash, "Good question." He then continued his teaching, leaving me sitting there, questioning further, which I am sure was his intention. Over and above my memories of him teaching in person though is this: Ken's body of work when viewed in its entirety is truly breath-taking. His works should be known as were J.S. Bach's; the "Bach-Gessellschaft," (monument). Ken writings constitute a comprehensive and thorough presentation of the Principles and Metaphysics of A Course in Miracles. They are truly monumental; Ken's great bequest to us.

My favorite is "Absence from Felicity: The Story of Helen Schucman and Her Scribing of A Course in Miracles." It an extremely valuable historical document, because it is (not only for us but for readers for centuries to come), a full-fledged, valid, compelling, accurate genesis of the Course written by one who was deeply involved with Helen Schucman and Bill Thetford in developing the Course for publication.

I look forward to the staff at FACIM offering a chronological list of Ken's books; perhaps even some sort of boxed editions according to subject. Also valuable would be a bound set of his Lighthouse articles.

As I come to terms with Ken unexpected passing I will cherish his writing. In place of my joy at being able to listen to him lecture in person I will re-read and study them in order to broaden my understanding of the Course.

That way I need never miss him.

Memorial Tribute by

Paul J. Nelson


Notwithstanding a life story as a brilliant author with a prodigious and awe-inspiring literary output, at the time of his death he had a most modest public profile. A unique figure and role model for all who knew him, Dr. Kenneth Wapnick's legacy is not principally for our time.

All who tread this earth, at some level know that the ground we traverse cannot be real. Most of us espouse a belief in a higher reality, and still plod through our lives, paying nominal lip service to a notion that at life's end, we will 'move to a better place.' Ken, as he was known to his students, taught that there is no life's end, as there is no life's beginning. A dream, is a dream, is a dream.

His Teachings were founded on A Course in Miracles. In its own words, a text which purported to be a pathway to Knowledge; in form unique but in content parallel to literally hundreds of true spiritual teachings, any of which if faithfully practised would remove the student from the illusory trap of the physical universe.

For those who knew Ken, his greatest gift was not the brillance of his intellect, nor the depth of his writings. His greatest gift was the love without judgment which flowed through him, at all times, in all situations, for all people—even unto all things. He many times said, quite seriously, "Be kind to the chair." The meaning beneath the words is that love or kindness is a state of mind that simply knows no limitation. The mind of the dreamer is in reality part of the One Mind. This is only completely understood when all judgment is forever surrendered as both meaningless and a noose for the judge.

Over decades, centuries and millennia to come, Ken's gift to humanity will be better understood than it is today. For those of us who wish to embrace it now, we have much work to do.

Copyright 2014 - Paul J. Nelson

Memorial Tribute by

Stella Pilon

Dearest teacher Ken,


This looks like my last letter to you in this form. I will miss you a lot and also all our brothers and sisters! But your friendly voice will still surround me as it always has almost every day for the last 17 years when translating most of your workshops in French.

I just finished translating" "Taking the ego lightly" and I believe you are this funny little man whom you are describing with your usual wonderful humor, who is tapping on my shoulder wanting to tell me the funniest joke there is!

"It is a joke to think that time can come to circumvent eternity."

I finally integrated what you were trying to teach me since so long—repeating and repeating with so much patience—and finally all the misery of depression and needless suffering went away for good. This dream became a "happy dream" and a real blessing because of your presence in it. No other teacher was able to succeed in doing it as you did. Your way was without any compromise, as Jesus taught, but it has certainly functioned miraculously for me!

What a relief to live this way!

Your personality was so dimmed, that greatness was radiating through you very easily. Please watch over me until we meet again!

Much love and gratitude from your 82 year old joyful parrot puppet.

See you soon...

Memorial Tribute by

Marianne Alexander


Papa is very mad at me. I left the barn
door open and all the ducks flew to the wintr creek.
They frooz. Papa cut them out of the ice with his ax and I carred
the boy duck. The cow pastur is long and there
are bigsnow piles and not a path. My teeth wer jumping
and it was dark but I could see way in front the kerosun
lantrn in papas hand. I was a hundred miles from crying.
I nevr cryed but that yellow light was like love in the snow.
Ana, age 8, 1939.

Ken's reply" "Perfect love is all there is, everything else is borscht." Is that not a treasure?

Memorial Tribute by

Marisa Cuenin

Dear Gloria and FACIM staff,

Thank you for inviting our personal tributes in honor of our treasured friend and humble, loving teacher Kenneth Wapnick.

To teach is to demonstrate, and Kenneth was among the finest demonstrations of love in this world. I am grateful for having him as my teacher and friend, even if it was only for a brief two years.

His energetic, and sometimes even frisky vitality was irresistible; love poured, extended, lived through him. We students couldn't help but grin as we'd feel him impishly sneak from behind and deliver a smacker in surprise. We were enamored; he brought us with him from the ego domain, reminding us where we are supposed to be. We were like moths to a flame.

So this is what love looks like. To our dear love: it is you who straightened our path! You who brought us nearer our One True Self. Even in our mistakes you were kind, showing us that it is in our mistakes that we can find our innocence and learn, and grow and "see" and that seeing is not done with our eyes. And mostly, because you forgave them.

Love never changes. It stays the same. Thank you, Kenneth, for reminding us every day, every moment that forgiveness is an earthly form of love. Thank you for remembering for us and teaching us to remember too, what we are in truth.

With utmost gratitude and love,

Memorial Tribute by

Jim Schulte

Years ago, when the Foundation was still in upstate New York, my wife and I stopped by the old FACIM location. That was the first time I met Ken, for just a few minutes. I told him I worked at a Catholic school founded by an order dedicated to Mary. He said to me then something which took years to understand, "Jesus and Mary, really two symbols for the same reality." So when I read and re-read the last Lighthouse essays, I appreciate that like the Course, he led me in spirals, revisiting old lessons with new insights.

In the years that followed I attended a few workshops in Temecula and wrote him every other month or so. In his responses he taught me to call him "friend." He saw that I needed to do that before I recognized it myself. And slowly I recognized that any advice he ever gave me was just a rewording of something in the Course.

I know what it feels like here in St. Louis to know Ken is not with us as he was. I cannot imagine what it feels like there. He was such a good friend and so much fun. If there was anyone who ever taught me not to take myself so seriously by smiling at it all, it was Ken. I'm pretty grateful for that lesson, learning not to make the mistake real. As I look back over his notes and remember his comments, my tears turn to smiles. Every day I hear him say, "Keep it simple, Jim." Okay, then, Ken—thanks for all. That should be simple enough.

Memorial Tribute by

Tomáš Koloc

On that day it was my 36th birthday, and I was sitting with my fellow from the translators' team of A Course in Miracles, Martin Karlícek, and the typographic designer of the Czech version of the Course, Jarda Svoboda, in my new flat I moved in just a week ago. Martin was showing us his photos from the ACIM Translators' Gathering and from our journey to the United States. Me and Martin were telling Jarda about our experience from America because he was the "alternate candidate" for our trip who should have travelled instead of one of us in case anything unexpected happened (but as he doesn't like travelling he was quite happy to stay at home after all). We ended up speaking about Ken whom I, Martin, Karel and PK immortalized on many photos in Tiburon. As usual we were thinking about his surname which in the Old Czech meant "limestone" and which is up to now commonly used in Slavonic languages in Eastern Europe as a family name or a city, village or castle name. Already before our gathering in Tiburon we considered Ken to be a descendant of our fellow countrymen and we haven't been far from the truth–in Tiburon Ken told me that his family probably came from Wapnik, a small town in Poland which is only a few kilometers far from the historical town Königsberg, the birthplace of Immanuel Kant. (Ken himself was well acquainted with our part of Europe; during his lecture in Tiburon I was pleased by the fact that he knew that Sigmund Freud was born in our country, in today's Czech Republic, in the town named Príbor.)

Unlike some of my friends who had known Ken's books and listened to his lectures before, I knew Ken only as a "man on the other end of the line" who was answering dozens and dozens of my questions concerning the meaning nuances of the individual phrases in the Course. Later on we spoke about that on the board of the boat Empress, and I was pleased by Ken saying: "I remember your questions. They were clever. I realized that you are the right guy to do this job." There was one more thing which we had in common and which we spoke about. I don't know why but it just happens that if the Holy Spirit wants to send me a friend He sends me an Italian, thanks to which I have a special relationship to the Italians. One morning during breakfast in Tiburon I told this to Isabella Popani, and Ken who happened to be passing by leaned down, smiled and said: "I have it like that, too!", and he hugged his Italian wife Gloria.

I watched Ken from the beginning of our visit to Tiburon and I have to say: the main genuineness of his healing love was in something else than in his words (which surprised me because I knew he is a psychologist and a teacher who usually heal with words). Ken's love was in touching. During the few days in Tiburon I was watching dozens and dozens of cases when Ken approached someone and touched them; he usually put his arm around their shoulders, hugged them or took them by hand. I felt that the Holy Spirit is healing people through Ken's touches. I personally felt that during my "touching encounters" with Ken all my mental blocks were falling from me and I was getting closer and closer to myself. I experienced the last holy encounter of this kind on the board of Empress, and after that I felt all mental blocks falling from me which partly manifested itself by a burst in tears which some of you who were there maybe saw. It was also my last encounter with Ken.

Thank you, Ken, for your hands.

Memorial Tribute by

Debby Rushton Fleischer

When I was first introduced to the Course, I knew it was mine though, really, I had no idea what it said. Enter Kenneth Wapnick and the Foundation for A Course in Miracles in Roscoe, New York. Here it was explained to me. I went to New York, I visited California. I listened to tapes and CDs. Slowly I got it. And, yes, it was still mine, even as I grasped exactly what it says. Then Ken's teaching seemed to become more practical: he told us how to do it. This is how you practice this course in your daily life. This is how you forgive. "Yes, I hear what you are saying, Ken. Thanks for the information and I am so glad to know what to do. I'll do it tomorrow."

Well, tomorrow finally became today. I did practice periodically. Now it is different. There was something about his form disappearing that felt like a kick out of the womb directly to adulthood. Now. Now, I must do this. The presence of this teacher, this guide is not at my side anymore and it is time to do this. No fooling around. I'm left without a visible crutch and I must now stand with an invisible pillar beside me. "The time is now and we will carry this forward, Ken, with your continued thoughts. We will practice. We will forgive each instant and then forgive again, trusting this process you helped us understand. And we will do it with gratitude and a light spirit. That is what we will do. Thank you."

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