An interview by Rev Sandy Diamond with Rev Molly Rockey, Unity of the Oaks, Thousand Oaks, Calif.
I had not had the privilege of meeting Rev Molly Rockey before our phone interview earlier this year. But you know how you meet people (by phone, Facebook, email, text, online) and there is instantaneous resonance—when there is an automatic soul-connection—no matter the medium of introduction? That’s what took place that first day we met by phone. I think our soul-level link was forged right away when she said, “I love Unity. Go ahead, ask me anything!” She established her transparency as we opened the interview gate. I began by asking her about her spiritual background and how she found Unity.
Call to Ministry
Molly heard “the call” to ministry when she was in the third grade. She “noticed” things that other people did not see at all as she sought to comfort people early in life. Although she spent time on various paths (including the Quakers) and was ordained through New Thought Theological Seminary based in Atlanta, Ga. (no longer in operation), she ultimately landed in Unity. Her landing was facilitated by Rev Beth Ann Suggs as her first Unity minister. When Beth Ann said, “God said, ‘I created you to be happy,’ ” her life was transformed. She was going through a divorce at the time and was experiencing “frantic fear.” Beth Ann’s words went straight to her heart and she committed to Unity.
There was life before going into ministry, and during that time (early ‘70s), Molly was an exercise instructor at Jack LaLanne’s Health Club where she had to wear a short gold toga, black tights and high heels while teaching aerobic classes.
However, she considers her most impactful job in preparing her for ministry was working for The ALS Association, Greater Los Angeles Chapter. She started out as the Volunteer Coordinator, went on to become Director of Community Outreach and Advocacy, and finally Director of Patient Services.
ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. She credits that work with where she learned “to hold sacred space with the terminally ill, support family members during crises, and advocate for others with elected officials in Washington D.C.”
It was there that she first began to speak to churches filled with people at funerals, and created education programs for families and healthcare professionals. She knew it was time to leave The ALS Association when she realized she had been there for over 700 deaths. She needed to feel joy rising when she went to work. Spirit opened doors for her and she has been able to use everything she’s learned along the way … “except the toga and tights!”
Unity Path Training and Credentialing
Molly began her Unity training and studies in the LUT (licensed Unity teacher) Program and so much happened so quickly that the time whisked by and she missed completion of the process by two classes and her LUT clock ran out. She had to start all over again. Which she did! She took all of the LUT training twice. After a number of years of service as the spiritual leader at Unity of the Oaks, Thousand Oaks, Calif., she was ordained through the Ordination of Non-Unity Credentialed Leadership in Unity Ministries path.
Molly is currently enrolled in our new online education program at Unity Worldwide Spiritual Institute (UWSI) and is taking the classes right along with our new ministerial students. She says with her heartfelt honesty, “OMG! It’s so much work! But? I love it and I love getting what the new students are getting.”
We shared our mutual ministerial love, admiration and respect for Rev Robert Brumet as he is teaching in the new online curriculum. He continues to be a timeless gift to us all, affecting students past, present, and future. When I later spoke with Robert, I mentioned working on this article and Molly’s name to him. He said, “She really contributes a lot during class!”
Molly also serves our movement on the alternate ministry team, a sub-team of the credentialing ministry team. Her participation on the team and in the new online program keep her current and cutting-edge, in addition to her ministerial responsibilities.
She said, “Unity is the path of my transformation.… It is a gift to get people excited and enthused.… It’s the beauty of Unity.” She has a profound commitment to Unity teachings: “I so love Unity.”
Female Clergy & Geographical Backdrop
I queried her about being “female clergy” in today’s world to which she responded: “In California I’ve never felt questioned, but I once officiated at a wedding in Tennessee and a man said to me, ‘Who gave you permission to do this?’ ”
Although we both noted geographical location makes a difference, she went on to say that overall she does not feel limited by her gender.
Politics in Church
During the divisive election of 2008 (less divisive than the most recent one but divisive nonetheless) people began to show up at Unity of the Oaks with political buttons on their clothes and then began to sit with one another. (i.e. Obamas in this row and McCains in the other row.) After observing the presence of politics and division in the church being created, Molly gave one of her best Sunday talks. During that talk she said: This is a sanctuary. We set our politics aside. Our Sunday morning is one of Oneness. One Family.
She got a standing ovation! The next week the buttons were left at home.
No minister completely escapes challenges in their spiritual center. Sometimes they refer a candidate for ministerial school and that individual does not get accepted and then the minister becomes what I refer to as “the object of projection.” The person experiencing any profound disappointment will often blame it on the minister. It happens. We talked about the handling of those things, the importance of prayer, and the healing antidote that Love is.
Currently one of her challenges is that they have outgrown their space and with the high cost of real estate in California, they are working on developing their next step and space.
Molly believes that when a space opens up on the board there is no need to rush to fill it, to “just put anyone on the board,” but rather wait and identify the right people.
What She Loves to Do
Molly is passionate about helping heal the environment and her “little part” is by having a dedicated, registered Monarch Butterfly Waystation in her front yard. She and her husband Ed have created a welcoming space for monarchs by planting several kinds of milkweed and nectar plants. They use no pesticides and have invited their neighbors to create their own waystation by holding educational meetings and teaching them how to make their yards “butterfly-friendly” too!
As for Unity? She loves giving her talks and the talk preparation itself. She says to Spirit, “talk to me,” and the ideas just flow … and she is thinking (while simultaneously praying) “this will help someone.”
Molly also loves to teach—as she refers to it—“one Divine Idea at a time.” She loves the classroom experience.
Rev Molly enthusiastically belongs to and participates in the local Conejo Valley Interfaith Association. There are rabbis and cantors, Mormons, Unity, Science of Mind, Bahais and others. She did note though that there are “no Evangelicals involved.”
A Minister’s Heart
A minister’s heart is one of spiritual focus, love, compassion, and kindness. She is an amazing Unity minister with great passion and joy for Unity’s Truth teachings. It was clear to me that she embodies what we so often refer to as “a minister’s heart.” We are very fortunate that she was “called” in the third grade. That she found us; that we found her. She is a shining heart star in our Unity Movement.
So? If you find yourself halfway between Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, California, stop in, pay them a visit. I am confident the air will be charged with prayer, love, peace and … a minister’s heart.
[author: Sandy Diamond]