Editor’s Note: As Unity Worldwide Ministries is focusing on our 50 years of evolution, we wanted to share information about how our partner organization Unity World Headquarters at Unity Village has also evolved during this time. This broader perspective helps us to have greater understanding of our Unity movement, its development, progress and accomplishments in the last half century.
Unity has always been quick to utilize new ways and means of expressing and radiating the abundant life of Spirit and of spreading Christ’s glad message.… New knowledge, new understanding, and modern equipment and machinery, the result of the amazing inventions of the past 50 years, all these spell progress, and they have been gladly used by Unity in its work as soon as the way is opened to make this possible.—Dana Gatlin, The Story of Unity’s Fifty Golden Years, 1939
Today, just as it was in 1939, Unity World Headquarters (UWH) at Unity Village is poised to continue the tradition of innovation in our ministries. “Whether we are talking about the move from pen to typewriter to computer for letter-writing, or the change from hand-drawn art to digital media for a magazine cover, technology has always been a key component of our growth,” says Gae Lennan, UWH Director of Information Technology.
She adds, “Technological enhancements have reshaped our workplace, changing the way we work and the way we communicate, and given us many new ways to communicate with constituents and collaborate with each other. Although we still use written correspondence and telephone, we now also connect using email, web, text, mobile apps, and many social media platforms.”
UWH archivist and minister Eric Page agrees: “During the past 50 years, the organization has used technology to spiritually support people in living fulfilling lives. Although Unity originated with a small magazine in the 19th century, our recent history includes The Word radio-television program and audiovisual products.
“The launch of unity.org in 1996 began an extensive Internet presence,” he continues. “Today, people access online resources for prayer, Daily Word®, downloading radio podcasts, and much more. Spirit remains our guiding light as we strive to make the world a better place.”
Some of the most significant technological advancements to shape UWH during the current half-century include:
- 1969—The Unity radio-television program The Word launches. (The last broadcast aired in 1992).
- 1970—The Unity Cassette Department begins.
- 1996—UWH establishes a home page on the Internet: unityworldhq.org.
- 2003—The Unity home page on the Internet, unityonline.org, is expanded as a full-fledged ministry, including a Spanish version, unityenlinea.org.
- 2004—Unity creates a new website, officeofprayerresearch.org, after the formation of the Office of Prayer Research, an offshoot of Unity participation in the Parliament of the World’s Religions in Barcelona, Spain.
- 2005—The online community of dailyword.com launches.
- 2006—Unity Village Hotel and Conference Center opens as one of the nation’s first certified “green” hotels and is awarded silver LEED—Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—certification by the US Green Building Council.
- 2007—Unity Institute® and Seminary introduces its first online class, History of New Thought Christianity, during the spring term. Unity.FM, now referred to as Unity Online Radio, begins offering daily live programming and program archives.
- 2008—An enhanced online resource for parents and children is introduced: unityfamilymatters.org (discontinued in 2012). Special events are featured online, beginning with Eckhart Tolle’s interview at Unity Village and Jesus and the Awakening to God-Consciousness, a conversation between Deepak Chopra and Rev Wendy Craig-Purcell.
- 2009—A jointly sponsored website, unity.org, is launched by UWH and Unity Worldwide Ministries (formerly the Association of Unity Churches). A digital edition is created for dailyword.com. Unity and Daily Word outreach expands to include the social media platforms on Facebook and Twitter. A new computerized phone system is installed in the Silent Unity® prayer room. The new “IP telephony” allows Prayer Associates to provide greater service because of the improved functionality.
- 2010—A new website is launched, unityvillage.org, for those interested in attending or hosting events at Unity Village.
- 2011—UWH offers online spiritual resources for LGBT audiences on unity.org/resources/lgbt. Unity Books® (formerly Unity House) offers titles for e-readers. A mobile edition of Daily Word is created for smartphones.
- 2012—Spanish-language constituents begin logging on to the completely redesigned Unity website, unityenlinea.org.
- 2013—The Myrtle Fillmore Collection launches. A kiosk in the Tower lobby (now home to Awaken Whole Life Center) helps visitors identify and locate family paver bricks and other memorials.
- 2014—UWH unveils the Charles Fillmore and Eric Butterworth collections. A free mobile prayer app, uPray, extends the outreach of Silent Unity. Unity Magazine® enters a new phase with a digitized edition.
- 2015—The Daily Word website, dailyword.com, broadens its reach by sharing content through the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) social media platforms.
Internally, computerized systems in areas such as order fulfillment, magazine production and mailing operations have also increased productivity and service efficiency. The same technology that enhances communication with constituents also serves to equip employees with the tools they need to remain productive.
In addition, the Internet has helped make prayer resources, educational materials, podcasts, and other content accessible to anyone, anywhere, at any time. According to Lennan, social media and the web have dramatically reduced prayer response times for Silent Unity.
“Through the Internet, we have access to tremendous amounts of data, which allows us to be responsive to constituents and our changing world,” Lennan says. “We are able to share information quickly and at a much lower cost than ever before, and we can still offer a personal connection with our constituents.”
Lennan adds, “As technology transforms our world, we’ll continue to adapt to it to remain relevant and grow our constituent relationships.”
Through technology, UHW manifests the truths derived from Spirit.