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Wilsonville conference attracts hundreds on spiritual journey

By Shelby Oppel

WILSONVILLE — Brenda Perry traveled from New Zealand to be in Wilsonville on Saturday for simple yet daunting reasons.

“Just the constant barrage of things that aren’t working in the world,” explained Perry, a slim 45-year-old dressed almost entirely in purple, from eyeliner to flip-flops. “Wanting to see it be different, and believing that it can be.”

For Perry and about 1,100 others, from as close as down the street to as far as Japan, a conference held this weekend at the Living Enrichment Center in Wilsonville was the latest step in a spiritual journey that has little in common with traditional organized religion. For most, the journey began with a series of books by Ashland author Neale Donald Walsch, called “Conversations With God.”

Walsch, a five-times-married former radio host, hit the New York Times best-seller list in 1996 with the first book in the series, which he says contains God’s revelations directly to him. Seven years later, he is attempting to recruit a “Humanity’s Team” of self-appointed delegates to spread what he calls the “new spirituality” to an even larger audience.

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