A Shift in Culture
by Darby Neptune
Unity of Panama City has always taught and believed in fostering a spiritually mature and evolving community. With the Transformation Experience, we are living and demonstrating these values more fully. We have developed a healthier, vibrant culture from the best of our past and our new skills.
For example, we are like most spiritual communities that have defined core values. The difference today is how we focus on actively living these on a daily basis.
In late December 2011, we realized that tithes and gifts were drastically below usual and that the money available could only cover the mortgage, insurance payment or salaries but not all of these. The board quickly met and their response was astonishing. We did not panic as so often happened and instead immediately moved to our core values to guide how we would approach this. Everyone was very calm as we reminded ourselves that we are spirit-centered and operate with love and authenticity. Our path was clear as we planned how to share this challenge with our members on January 1.
After sharing the “facts” in our relative world, we were met by members with joy that this was an opportunity to recognize and change our old story of “not enough” that showed up periodically and to deal with this as a whole system. (Really? Yes, really!) We affirmed our faith in an abundant universe, our mission and the organization we created. We talked lovingly and honestly.
From this approach, deeply rooted in using our values to guide our conversation, it quickly boiled down to a few key issues: how much do we regularly need, how much do we need right now, and what does that mean on a “per person giving basis”? The result was several large gifts that same day that covered all of the January needs, and numerous increases in tithes and giving since that day. In addition, we are improving how we communicate based on the suggestions made by members.
We still have moments of human anxiety of “not enough.” I am then relieved to find so many people will hold the “high watch” of knowing the truth and living our values. The board and staff are not alone in this mission, which uplifts me as the minister. Even our newest members are upbeat and proactive as they “walk the talk” of spiritual transformation and maturity, even with our finances! This is merely one example of our increasing shared ownership that is making a positive difference.
Following are excerpts of congregants’ experiences.
You can read the stories in their entirety in this PDF.
A Shift in Participation
by Jean Kenerson
During our challenging times in the past, I remember the triangulating conversations, complaining, and general air of discontent. To put it mildly, many of us were not living our Unity principles. And, as is common in many communities, a very small number of members were carrying the load for the majority with decisions, financial support, and actual effort.…That has changed! This past year, over 60% of us have been involved in significant ways. Our membership is not only increasing, but stepping up right away to become “doers” and leaders.
A Shift in Self-Discovery
by Linda Arrington
I was recently blessed in completing the new Spiritual Gifts Discovery program that was rolled out in our third year of the Transformation Experience. In this small group program, I found myself on a journey of self-discovery that was one of the most positive and supportive I have ever experienced.
I now feel much more connected to Unity.
A Shift in Leadership
by Jennifer Wilson
It has been rewarding to see a model from my workplace (coordinating major groups) be a vital construct in our spiritual community at Unity. Knowing that our three-year Transformation Experience (TE) would end September 30, 2012, we have spent the past months moving from the TE Leadership Group (15 people) to a new model with an even broader base with our new Leadership Council (24 people).
A Shift in Me!
by Heidi Fowler
I am a completely new person. Just ask my husband who keeps acting delightfully surprised at how much I have changed since coming to Unity! Or ask my co-workers who now look to me for mentoring after seeing my growth from Unity classes.
One aspect of the Transformation Experience that made a difference is taking one of our core classes, “The Art & Practice of Living With Nothing and No One Against You” (which we call The Q Effect for short). During the 21 days of worksheets, I was calmer with less drama and hyper behavior. I was seeing events differently and reacting less often.
Seven Leadership and Ministry Resource Guides have been developed from the Transformation Experience program. Unity ministers and ministries may download them for free. Learn more on the Leadership and Ministry Resource Guides page.