Our History
Hank Roche and Anne Harrell



After meditating together informally for a couple of years, Anne Harrell and Hank Roche contacted the Self-Realization Mother Center in the fall of 1984 to ascertain if there were enough devotees in the area to start an official meditation Circle. Several people responded to SRF's inquiry of interest and contacted Anne; the Ann Arbor Meditation Circle was born that fall.

The Circle, with an attendance of between two and six devotees, met on Thursday evenings at the Harrell residence on Ann Arbor's northeast side until Dave and Anne Harrell moved to Scio Township (Dexter) in 1989. Meditations continued at the Dexter location on Thursday evenings, and sometimes on special commemorative days, for the next ten years. Occasionally, services were also held at the homes of Hank Roche and John Hood.

In the spring of 2000, in a very serendipitous unfolding, an accessible office space was found for sublet in Ann Arbor. In an office building at 1829 W. Stadium Blvd., realtor Sally Kelley was offering a section of her office, just the right size for the Circle's services, at an affordable rate. Moving to this space allowed the Circle to begin to offer services on Sunday mornings and on all of the Commemorative days. Member John Hood created a beautiful wall altar perfect for the space. In late summer of 2001, founding member Hank Roche passed away, and the Circle held its first Memorial Service.

The combination of excellent parking in a central location and the increased service offerings resulted in a tripling of the Circle's membership by 2002; the sublet office space had been outgrown. Again, in a spiritually significant manner, a larger office space was discovered at the needed moment, right in the same building.

Members of the Circle were able to increase their pledges and donations to cover the monthly costs of the larger space, which includes a room for fellowship and book/media offerings, as well as a large storage space. In addition to the refrigerator, microwave, and furniture which were donated, a full-size altar was received from the newly-merged Oakland County/Detroit Center members, who had it in storage. The Ann Arbor Meditation Circle continues to enjoy this space, its "chapel", leased from an excellent landlord, Al Raymond of Ann Arbor Financial Services.