Circle of Atonement

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Circle of Atonement

The Circle of Atonement is one of several groups to emerge from the larger community of students of A Course in Miracles (ACIM). The Circle was founded in 1993 in response to the teaching activity of Robert Perry. Perry had begun teaching at the Miracle Distribution Center in Fullerton, California, a primary structure for communication between the many diverse ACIM study groups around the country. He authored several widely distributed books, An Introduction to A Course in Miracles, The Elder Brother: Jesus in A Course in Miracles (1990), and A Course Glossary (1995). Joining Perry in the formation of the circle was Allen Watson. He and Perry have coauthored several texts, and Watson went on to write a number of volumes, all published by the circle.

The circle was designed around three programmatic thrusts. The Teaching Wing facilitates the study of the Course 's idea; the Transformation Wing encourages the practice of the Course 's teachings and their application in daily life; and the Healing Wing attempts to extend the healing and forgiveness so central to the Course 's approach beyond the members of the circle to the larger community. Only the Teaching Wing was in operation as the new century began.

The Circle of Atonement became the focus of attention above the many other ACIM groups at the end of the 1990s when a lawsuit developed between the circle and the several entities who had an interest in the copyrights of A Course in Miracles, including the Foundation for Inner Peace, the Foundation for A Course in Miracles, and Penguin Books. When A Course in Miracles was first published, the Foundation for Inner Peace held the copyright, but in recent years assigned that copyright to the Foundation for A Course in Miracles headed by Kenneth Wapnick. In the meantime, the publishing rights were sold to Penguin Books, who has brought out a commercial edition of ACIM. In the wake of its agreement with Penguin, the Foundation for A Course in Miracles has moved against several groups that have in the past published portions of ACIM either as separate booklets or as part of a larger work commenting upon ACIM. The foundation specifically denied the use of ACIM material in an as yet unpublished item by Perry and asked that several of the Circle of Atonement's publications be withdrawn from publication.

Unable to resolve this matter, the circle has filed a lawsuit against the two foundations and Penguin, claiming that it is the circle's belief that ACIM is a divine revelation ultimately authored by Jesus and as such it cannot be copyrighted. The lawsuit has also been extended to include additional works, also the product of Helen Schucman 's channeling, ascribed to Jesus. This lawsuit, one of several contemporary suits over channeled material, remains in adjudication and attempts to revisit the issue of the status of materials ascribed to divine authorship and channeled material in American law.

The Circle of Atonement is headquartered at P.O. Box 4238, West Sedona, AZ 86340. It publishes a correspondence course and a newsletter, A Better Way. It has a website at


Circle of Atonement. April 24, 2000.

Perry, Robert. A Course Glossary. West Sedona, Ariz.: Circle of Atonement, 1995.

. The Elder Brother: Jesus in A Course in Miracles. West Sedona, Ariz.: Circle of Atonement, 1990.

Perry, Robert, and Allen Watson. The Answer Is a Miracle. West Sedona, Ariz.: Circle of Atonement, 1998.

. Bringing the Course to Life: How to Unlock the Meaning of the Course in Miracles for Yourself. West Sedona, Ariz.: Circle of Atonement, 1999.