50 Years and We’re Just Getting Started!

Published on: January 6, 2016

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This year the Association of Unity Churches dba Unity Worldwide Ministries begins its yearlong anniversary celebration of 50 years. The times have changed, but the heart of service to Unity members and the desire for a greater expression of our potential remains constant.

Today, more than ever, our membership is engaged with one another through a shared identity and a shared commitment to advancing the movement of spiritual awakening and transformation through Unity, a positive path for spiritual living. This is possible because we live in an age of instant mass communication through technology. UWM’s staff and membership connects with one another, and those beyond, through our website , The Path e-newsletter, Unity Leaders Journal which is interactive, Conversations with Unity Leaders webinar dialogue calls, Facebook, videos for YouTube, etc., … and yes, the telephone and snail mail.

Unity Worldwide Ministries is humming with many new 21st century programs in the works and on the horizon. We are thrilled and excited to be where we are today, and we know we are here because of the collective efforts of those who went before blazing a trail for Unity teachings. Person to person, at the central office and in the field, we have passed the Unity torch so our light could become a brighter beacon for those seeking the truth we offer. Through the unifying and harmonizing love we feel, we are weaving a network of collaboration and co-creation so that Spirit may use more of our potential to serve the world.

Who has stood at the helm of this organization through the years? Here are the names of ministers who have served in the capacity of president and CEO, although the title changed from time to time:

Robert Sikking 1966–1977
 V Stanford Hampson  1977–1980
 R Scott Sherman  1980
 Alan Rowbotham  1980–1981
 Charles Neal  1981–1983
 Al Tilton  1984
 Paul Cook  1984–1985
 Glenn R Mosley  1985–2005
 James Trapp  2005–2012
 Donna Johnson  2012–Present

 

Pictures of our CEOs, along with pictures of our board of trustee chairs, are hanging in our UWM office building in Lee’s Summit, Mo., which was purchased, with help of Rev Catherine Ponder’s matching funds, in the spring of 1991. We are very blessed to own this building, unencumbered by debt, and, as many of you know, we are in the process of exploring moving back to Unity Village, Mo., (4 miles away) to occupy the current education building. If this occurs, options for the disposition of our current building will be thoroughly explored to determine our optimum course of action.

 

Central Office Staff

Over the years, many staff people have made service to Unity Worldwide Ministries their personal ministry. Rev Joann Landreth served the longest term of employment to date with 35 years in various capacities, most notably, in church employment and expansion. Rev Young Bae served 28 years as chief financial officer. As CEO, Rev Glenn Mosley served the greatest number of years with 20.

Regarding current staff, in May of this year, Connie Waitley—the sweet voice you hear answering the phone—will have served 26 years, and Debbie Allen, LUT, 19 years. In September of this year, Deb Ball will have served 25 years, and Rev Carl Osier 20 years. These people have been here a while, not because of the luxurious pay and copious benefits but because they love Unity and they love each other. There is no greater benefit than that.

Along with this longevity is a healthy mix of new staff who bring new energy, new insights, and new creativity. During the past year and a half, we hired Rev Carrie Kenyon in employment services, Kevin Forrester in administration, Rev Diana Kennedy in technology, Martin Dowman as compassionate social action and IYOU event coordinator, Rev Jacquie Fernandez-Lenati as media production coordinator, Andy Waggoner as media specialist, and most recently, Laura Carl as graphic designer. As I write this, today is her first day (January 5, 2016). Many of these new hires were made possible by grants from the John Templeton Foundation for the use of media and technology in disseminating our message.

We know there are more staff to join the UWM central office team as the year progresses and as we launch our newly-formed Unity Institute Worldwide education department in September. And there are a number of us who fall in the mid-range—here more than two years and less than 18—and a lot has happened over the years. For a thorough review of the first 40 years of history of UWM, read Association of Unity Churches International:  Its Beginning, Its Evolution, Its Vision for Worldwide Service by Glenn Mosley and Rebecca Dunlap. Here you will find a treasure-trove of historical information and documentation.

As we celebrate 50 years of the life of this organization, let us remember Unity Worldwide Ministries is so much more than the staff at the central office. It is each of us, worldwide, doing what we do each day through the application of the spiritual principles taught by Unity that have changed our lives. It is each member of our spiritual centers, each volunteer, each spiritual leader, each teacher, and each minister who has made the commitment to serve an awakening world. Without all of us, there would be none of us who could say, “I am Unity Worldwide Ministries.”

We are an association… a collective … that has existed 50 years. We are our own best resource, and by allowing Spirit to use each of us for the expression of the greater source, it is a certainty we will no longer be referred to as the best-kept secret, but rather, the best-kept spiritual conduit for the discovery, exploration and expression of the Spirit within!

Joy is love shared, and it is my joy to serve Unity Worldwide Ministries. May 2016 be a grand and glorious expression of love for you personally, and for the whole Unity movement.

Donna Johnson
Rev Donna Johnson is the President and CEO at Unity Worldwide Ministries.

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