Read about three forum participant’s experience.
Excitement, nervousness, and curiosity were swirling around within me as I embarked on my flight from Newark, New Jersey in January. These are just some of the feelings I was experiencing that are associated with journeying into a new life experience. I was on my way to my first forum at Unity Village as a lay leader serving on Unity Worldwide Ministries’ Board of Trustees.
During the barren, bitterly cold month of January, seeds of possibilities were sprouting within the meeting rooms of the Spiritual Life Center as our facilitator, Doug Krug, masterfully led those who had gathered through exercises that would help capture a vision for Unity. Spirit’s presence was palpable, for as small groups began to share their thoughts with the group at large, common themes rippled throughout the room. Although numerous ideas emerged, the desire for Unity World Headquarters and Unity Worldwide Ministries to come together working to answer the call to love and serve the world during such rapidly changing and challenging times, generated a joyous and enthusiastic call to action.
As the forum came to a close, the boards from both organizations were engulfed in a sea of love as all joined in prayer to show appreciation, support, and commitment to the work before us. I was filled with an overwhelming sense of gratitude, humility, and dedication—knowing I have been given a sacred opportunity to serve.
When I first came to Unity Village many years ago it was stunning. My parents’ lives had been changed once they found Unity and as children we noticed the difference. Unity Village was an oasis of beauty. Just stepping onto the grounds we felt the sacredness of prayers being spoken for a different way of being, of putting God first and knowing the still, small voice inside was a constant source of wisdom and guidance, no matter what the outer appearance may be. The grounds were beautiful and people from all around the world came to share ideas, learn more about each other, and simply be.
The Village Chapel was packed, with Jane and Sig Paulson as ministers. My parents ran the retreat program for fifteen years and we were blessed to have many spiritual leaders come to our home to share ideas, food and laughter. May Rowland was still the head of Silent Unity and we shared wondrous times of prayer and celebration that remain with me today. I call this time the Camelot years because the joy I experienced as a teenager watching the movie, with its beautiful cast and wonderful songs, reminded me of Unity Village.
During those years, everything was exciting and people were spilling all over the beautiful grounds. People’s lives were transformed, and in gratitude they came back whenever they could to experience the sacred grounds and the consciousness of prayer and meditation. We heard the powerful messages of unlimited possibilities, of healing, of abundance and the flow of divine ideas. I heard amazing talks by leading spiritual leaders of the time.
I watched many of our great ministers as they came on grounds to attend ministerial school, their eyes filled with joy and enthusiasm. Unity was a radical movement at that time and I loved it for that. We stood for practical Christianity and I loved the encouragement to take action on my dreams, vision and intention.
I love Unity even more today. I love the harmony being found between science and spirituality. I love learning all the ways we can communicate even more effectively with each other. I know it begins with me being clear about who I am and being willing to dismantle beliefs that separate me from knowing my oneness with God and every sentient being. It is exciting to be a part of creating a new story that will be told through the years, and to leave a legacy for future generations. I am willing to dance on the edge, knowing it’s all God and so all is well.
This year’s Forum had a vibe going on like I had never experienced in such a Unity gathering. There was pure excitement, openness and a true sense that those who were there wanted to progress forward, even if we were not necessarily clear what forward meant. There was a consensus weaving among us that the time was at hand to do something bigger, better, and more progressive than we have ever done and we were ready to do it. I love this kind of willingness because it literally empowers me to dream larger, to think more outside the box that others may have created, and to be open to hearing the thoughts and visions of those who are older, younger, quieter, and even louder than another. As I looked around the room I was amazed at how colorful and different and yet so alike we all are. Unity in Unity was right before my eyes, and I was deeply moved and extremely proud to be a part of this movement. I knew that this was the creative process at full throttle and transformation was unfolding.
There are those who love to share the stories of what was, and some of those stories are incredible to hear for those of us who are the newer generation in the movement. The days of Charles and Myrtle, May Rowland and James Dillett Freeman mesmerize me when Dorothy Pierson brings them so vibrantly to life. Or, when Carla McClellan tells of what growing up on the grounds of Unity Village was like, and dinners in their home with spiritual innovators such as George Lamsa and others. I could listen attentively for hours.
There is something very sacred about honoring our past and this newer generation. I believe, we understand just how important this is to our future. Kelly Isola at one point in the closing of the forum stood up and shared that we are ready to create a new story in our history and that it is time that we stop talking about doing these wonderful things, and actually begin to do them. Her comments received great applause and support from everyone in the gathering. As one of the younger ministers active in ministry, I can’t wait to see where we are heading and the powerful work that is taking place and will take place in the days ahead.