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NEW AGERS DIG TO PRESERVE WORLD ORDER

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A New Age group wants to dig up a historic church graveyard in hopes of finding a vault it says contains writings that can save the world and prove that Sir Francis Bacon wrote the plays of Shakespeare.

The Ministry for the Children, based in Santa Fe, N.M., contends that if the writings thought to be buried at Bruton Parish Church aren't found by the year 2000, world order will collapse."I was born with a mission and I believe this is it," said the Rev. Marsha Middleton, leader of the small group of believers.

The Episcopal church where George Washington and Thomas Jefferson worshiped obtained a restraining order against the group after members entered the cemetery at night Sept. 9 and dug a big hole to look for the vault.

Members were not prosecuted, and a judge set a hearing Oct. 29 to consider extending the order.

The New Age group - Christians who espouse such things as clairvoyance and reincarnation - believes Bacon's lost writings were buried at the church along with such treasures as the original translation of the King James Bible.

The group says the writings outline Bacon's plan for a perfect society, a world united and at peace. The writings also will prove Bacon was the real author of Shakespeare's plays, the group says.

"We're really innocent bystanders in the way of this controversy," said the Rev. Richard L. May, whose 1,500-member church was founded in the 1670s. "It's taking an awful lot of time and energy."

The church's governing board is considering paying for a professional archaeological excavation to put an end to the claims it says are based on mystical calculations without scientific or historical basis.