On an October afternoon in 2016 I (Sandy Diamond, SD) picked up the phone to call Rev Pat Williamson (PW) and just as I was dialing, the electricity went out at my office. Quickly I got my cell phone and placed the call from there. Fortunately, we still had the first of evening light to work with. I told Pat we were meeting by candlelight. He said, “How romantic!” He loves romance and I easily recognized his heart-centered self.
The topic of my interview was to inquire about how their mission, vision and values impacted their center in Minnesota. How did and do they align their actions with these structural touchstones?
Pat and I proceeded in discourse about these three foundational cornerstones of Unity Minneapolis, Minn.
We are a vibrant, inclusive, prosperous spiritual community, inspiring and empowering full expression of the Divine within, through prayer, education and service.
PW: We developed our current mission statement last year when about 80 people showed up. Rev Toni Boehm led us in that process and it was powerful. I deliberately had the word “prosperous” added to our mission as I want us to be constantly reminded that we are in fact prosperous.
SD: How do you know when you are off or on mission?
PW: If I/we are “off mission” it wears me/us out, the zip is gone, there is no excitement, and it’s draining and so on. But if we are “on mission,” we are centered in Spirit. The atmosphere is vibrant, exciting, energizing. Our community is currently living into our mission.
PW: We affirm our core values of loving, transforming, welcoming, Spirit-filled, prosperous and joyful each week during our services.
21st Century & Technology
This community’s vision:
Centered in Spirit, we celebrate a world transformed by love, peace, and compassion.
PW: As for our vision … I learned some time ago, from Rev Mary Morrissey’s book Building Your Field of Dreams, if you can fulfill your vision, step by step? It’s not big enough. The biggest vision is not Minneapolis, not just Unity Minneapolis—although they are currently the container of it. It’s something far, far greater.
PW: In order for us to even consider fulfilling our mission and vision at Unity Minneapolis and for the Unity movement itself, technology must play a significant role. Author Jim Collins in his book Good to Great wrote that in this 21st century, in today’s world, we must use “technology to support strategy.” Unity Minneapolis is doing exactly that.
Rev Pat also referenced our vision at Unity Worldwide Ministries: “A world powerfully transformed through the growing movement of shared spiritual awakening.” He further commented that there is no way we could even entertain this vision without the backdrop and support of current technology.
PW: At Unity Minneapolis, we are experiencing good growth within technology via livestreaming. This is our third year and it continues to increase and we continue to build the program and also support it financially. As an example, we started out small with just one camera. Now we have three. Livestreaming is exciting and we offer it to our people when they cannot be here, in addition to reaching our “streaming congregation” as we refer to it. Of course, we had necessary initial expenses but our income increases through this every year.
PW: We measure the prosperity of that program and it comes up higher each year. By way of this connection of technology, we are growing the message which houses our mission, vision and values. Our total reach on a Sunday morning is 500+ which creates a positive psychological impact on us all.
PW: Sunday is still sacred, but our entire Unity movement knows … church is not the same as it used to be. There is a new norm now which includes the various forms of technology including Facebook, Twitter, texting, livestreaming, etc. It’s all part of “church” these days.
(SD) As part of my research, I listened to a segment of his Sunday service following the presidential election called “Decision 2016.” His topic was “The Golden Rule” and the service contained music, meditation and message. They have a bodacious choir. And, as Spirit would have it, Rev Pat’s topic was simply perfect to remind people of our oneness and our responsibility to treat one another by the Golden Rule, regardless of our political stance.
At the close of our appointed time I asked (minister-to-minister), “How is it going, really?”
PW: As a minister, you know: over-worked, over-scheduled. And yet? It is still a glorious calling. Sometimes you feel inadequate as a minister … a sort of “who me?” feeling. But we must press on … the need is so great. I am just amazed as I continue to “do the work.”
SD: How long have you been the senior minister at Unity Minneapolis?
PW: In May of 2016 I celebrated my 10th anniversary.
At present his spiritual guidance has signaled for him to press on to the high calling at this particular spiritual center.
Post note: I thanked his assistant Connie for her help in setting up this interview. I told her it went well. She said, “He is kind of special.” I thought, “Indeed, that he is.”
Addendum: The 2016 Presidential Election had not taken place when Rev Pat Williamson and I had this early evening interview. After that election process was completed, Pat’s words of “the need is so great” for ministry came echoing back to me. Yes, the need is now greater than ever. We are fortunate to have souls such as Pat who have responded to the glorious calling.