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Annual coptic conference offers methods for spiritual guidance

Jennifer Sprouse • Apr 21, 2012 at 9:50 PM

People filtered into the Holiday Inn Saturday hopeful to hear lectures that would inspire them and also to stock up on materials that would send them in the right direction for their own spiritual journey.

The conference this weekend, called “The Emergence of a New Humanity: A Transformation into Unity Consciousness,” was hosted by Coptic Fellowship International and the Tri-Cities Metaphysical Study Group. People searching for answers and information about the New Age world were not alone as many wandered from vendor to vendor in the bookstore area.

Traveling from Charlotte, N.C., Kuniko Bufford was brought to the conference by an old friend who showed her a pamphlet of the events for the weekend. “I decided to check it out just to get some more insight, but what really drew me here was the bookstore,” Bufford said.

As someone interested in doing her own research, finding reading material on subjects like stones and learning to project yourself from your body was well worth her trip to Tennessee, she said.

“I hope that people do realize that the conferences are for information, but they’re not to solve all your problems,” Bufford said. “Eventually you have to look within yourself. But, they are here to help give you more information and more insight and meet other people that have the same questions as you.”

One of the people helping to answer some attendee questions was David Zimmerman, a retired General Motors executive from Michigan, who specializes in esoteric subjects and ideas.

Remembering vivid memories of his own death from a time he insisted was a past life, Zimmerman said it wasn’t until hearing a lecture from a college professor at Indiana University that he knew he wasn’t alone and began to research more.

“Within the first two minutes, I knew I was hearing what I had waited all my life to hear,” he said.

Zimmerman’s mentor and teacher, Dr. Douglas Baker wrote the books sold at this year’s conference and also founded Claregate College in England.

“I’m just trying to sell some books, trying to help my friends in England maintain Claregate College and continue the publication of these books,” he said.

Books ranging in subject from horoscopes to esoteric astrology were available. He said he hoped people at the conference would start reading the books and expand their consciousness to help answer their own questions.

“They’re looking for purpose and meaning,” Zimmerman said. “There’s not a human being on the planet, hardly, who isn’t looking for guidance or purpose and meaning in their lives.”

Finishing her lecture on “What’s your Dhamra? Discover the Vedic Way to Your Life’s Purpose,” Lissa Coffey, a lecturer from Los Angeles with a large online presence, said she was surprised to have people come up to her in Johnson City and say they had read her newsletters and books.

Her latest book, titled the same as her lecture, discusses the four paths of yoga and how each can lead to a knowledge of a higher purpose in people’s lives.

While it was her first time in Tennessee, she said she received a very warm welcoming.

“The people who come here are really wonderful and open-minded and loving,” Coffey said. “I’ve had a fantastic time.”

Other lecturers this weekend included Patti Conklin, Patrick Connelly, Patricia Cota-Robles, John Davis, Lee Hanks and Gisela Kroeger-Hoffman. The conference that started on Friday ends today at 3:45 p.m. with a closing ceremony.

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