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How Richard Emmanuel became reverend of a church with a mission but no members

GLOUCESTER – If you remember the Sixties, it’s been said, you weren’t really there. Richard Emmanuel remembers the Sixties, though. Vividly. Not only was he there — man, was he there — but in 1968, when he was 22 and the counterculture was in full freak-flag-waving bloom, he founded his own church in Gloucester, the blue-collar fishing town where he’d spent summers as a youth.

The Church, as it became known, has been many things — meeting house, art gallery, counseling office, meditation center — to many people for the past 44 years. Now, threatened with foreclosure by the bank, it may soon join Ken Kesey’s Merry Prankster bus as a mothballed relic of the flower-power 60s.

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