I grew up in the area of Syracuse, New York. It is located just east of the Great Lakes. This causes “Lake Effect” snow in the winter, giving the city an awesome average snowfall of more than 10 feet. Suffice it to say, slippery roads are pretty common in the winter. When I was in my late teens my roommate and I were driving home on a pitch-black wintry evening, and we encountered a car on a lonely section of road. It had slid off into the ditch. The car was canted sideways with one rear wheel off the ground. Being well brought up and burly teenagers, we stopped to render assistance. We found a woman alone inside the car who appeared to be in her early to mid 30’s. She was well and truly stuck, with a long cold walk ahead of her on a shoulder-less country road to a phone booth. My friend and I offered to try to push her back onto the road, a task which we were successful at.
The obviously relieved woman offered to give us $20 for our trouble. This was a lot of money back then, probably the price of the tow truck. At the time, it would have taken me almost 6 hours of work to earn that much. We turned her offer down with words to the effect of “Oh it was no trouble” or some such thing. To this day I don’t think I have ever seen a more crestfallen individual. That reaction is why this life event has stuck so strongly in my memory.
As we drove away, I puzzled over her reaction. I knew without a doubt that she was extremely grateful for the assistance. For us it was no big deal, but it was a really big deal to her. I then realized that we were happy to give, it felt good, but we had not given her the opportunity to give in return. She drove away feeling deeply in our debt with no way to return the favor. Paying it forward and random acts of kindness were not “things” yet. We hadn’t even exchanged names.
I’ve since realized that sometimes the best gift you can give is the gift of gracious receiving. Have you had the experience of someone handing you a nicely wrapped Christmas gift and your first thought is “I didn’t get them anything!” Is your reaction embarrassment? Do you say things like “You shouldn’t have.”? You have a chance to give back right then and there. How about a huge smile and opening the gift like a 5 year old would? How about adding bright-eyed thanks and a big hug (if appropriate)? You not only walk away with a cool gift, you walk away with the glow of making someone else happy. How cool is that?
Chair, Board of Trustees
As we enter the beautiful holiday season, we are reminded once again of the annual message of peace on earth, goodwill toward all. What can each of us do to manifest a vision of creating a world that works for all? Especially when it seems that the world is in such turmoil right now, and isn’t working for many on this planet, including people, animals, and the environment.
Looking around at the violence and divisiveness that seems to be running rampant, you can’t help wondering what on earth one person might do in order to help make a world of peace a reality. What can be done to transcend the current climate of discord?
The truth is that peace in the world can only come through peaceful hearts. The work begins within. This vision can only be realized as each one of us stands up and says yes to being peace in action and choosing to be the change we seek in the world. A simple daily practice can help to engender a coherent internal state that starts us on the road to being a peaceful presence.
That simple practice is gratitude.
Spend 5-10 minutes daily in the silence focusing on the breath while activating a feeling of appreciation for someone or something. Let the feeling continue to expand and radiate from within you as it emanates beyond the body. It may be a simple process but don’t underestimate its effectiveness. This practice has been shown to counterbalance the detrimental effects of stress, settle the nervous system, activate the deeper intelligence of the heart and create a coherent energetic field.
A new year is on the horizon beckoning us into a closer walk with the Divine. In 2018, Unity Spiritual Center is putting out the call to every person who has a desire to step into a deeper expression of who they have come here to be. Just imagine if we were on the cusp of a new paradigm of cultural evolution. What is the role of New Thought spirituality in bringing forth an emerging paradigm of cultural, social, and evolutionary change? What do our Unity principles offer in helping to bring it forth? On Saturday, January 13 from 9 a.m. to noon, Rev. Jane will be exploring that question and presenting how we as a community can help to facilitate individual and collective transformational growth.
Blessings, Gary and Jane
Our foundational message, paraphrased from Unity’s All Together Now curriculum, is that God is everywhere present, the source of all there is, the awareness behind all experience, God is life. We express that life through living. God is love. We give expression to it by being love. God is Divine mind and its Divine Ideas. We teach that God is total oneness, the very life behind each breath we breathe and thought we think, rather than an entity separate from us.
Since God is not a being, entity or person, God cannot judge, punish, withhold our good or teach us lessons. God is simply the name we give to the unnameable essence of Absolute Good, Infinite Wisdom, Divine Love. Words and images describing God are merely metaphors to describe the indescribable, pointing to the mystery beyond our human understanding.
Sometimes language infers God is outside of us or God is doing “to us” instead of existing “as us”. Concrete thinkers may construct a mental picture of God as a separate being, made in our image – a cosmic Santa Claus. This concept can be difficult to “un-think” later in life. While we don’t want to teach about God being a separate entity, at the same time, we want our young people to commune with the God of their Being and experience the comforting, loving, guiding presence of Spirit in a personal way.
To understand and have a personal experience of God, we shift to simple, clear language to feel the comfort and unconditional love of God, listen for and hear God’s wisdom and guidance, look for and find God reflected in every pair of eyes looking back at us. We write prayers, affirmations and story questions in ways that affirm the inner divinity of Spirit and reflect the spiritual principle of One Presence, One Power, as well as incorporate practices that connect us with our hearts in order to feel God’s presence.
Whatever words are used for God, such as Divine Essence, Divine Presence, etc. or the powerful words, “I Am”, we invite connecting with Spirit within by adding the word “within” to our prayers, putting our hands over our hearts and feeling gratitude and compassion, as the words of prayer or affirmation are spoken.
Do you wonder what else is shared? Ask. There is more.
Save these Important Dates!
NW YOU Rally April 20 – 22 for 9th – 12th grade
NW Unity Uniteen Unitreat June 18 – 23 for 6th -7th 8th grade graduates
NW Unity Kids Camp June 24 – 27 for age 7 – 11
NW YOU Rendezvous July 21 – 24 for 9th – 12th grade
NW YOU Retreat October 12 – 14 for 9th – 12th grade
NW Unity Uniteen Unitreat November 10 – 12 for 6th -7th 8th grade
For information about our local youth ministry program and opportunities to serve plus our regional youth ministry events and eligibility to participate connect with, me, Jackie on Sunday or email email@example.com.
This quarter, we are exploring greener investments. One of our board members, Susanne Croft, has been meeting with our investment manager, looking for investment opportunities that emphasize a “triple bottom line” philosophy. Triple Bottom line is an accounting framework with three parts: social, environmental (or ecological) and financial. These three divisions are also called the three Ps: people, planet and profit.
We are dedicating our Foundation to being both good stewards of our donated funds and of our planet!
The world around me is radiant in golds, yellows, reds, rusts. The wind sifts the leaves out of the trees and I think of cooler weather and the gaunt bareness of winter. If I were to vote, I would name the life giving seasons as my favorite, yet fall and winter have heart stopping beauty of their own. Since retiring I am content to live at the pace of the seasons. Their predictability allows me to wake each morning secure with a sense of order. Within each season are events that mark our lives: holidays, birthdays, transitions, accomplishments, milestones. They come at regular intervals, a collection of stories that define who we are. Half of our time here is spent collecting stories, possessions, and positions. Then the seasons shift and we spend the rest of our time letting go.
In January of this year, we received a letter from the directors of the Tree of Sharing (TOS). This is what it said:
“The TOS welcomed the opportunity to once again partner with Unity Spiritual Center to fill gift requests from the often forgotten members of our community during this holiday season. This year our 57 participating agencies requested almost 7,500 gifts, the most ever. The membership of Unity provided 30 of these needed gifts. The support and thoughtful gifts provided by your members made a happy Christmas possible for many individuals and families.”
Well, we are doing it again this holiday season, and this year will be the TOS’ 36th year of sharing. On November 6, Joan McConnell, one of the co-directors, will be at our center dropping off 30 more gift tags for us to fill. Will it be another record-breaking year for TOS? I don’t know, but I do know that our congregation will again give generously to help TOS fulfill their mission of providing modest gifts to those often forgotten brothers and sisters in our community.
Our incredible team of volunteers is faithfully, lovingly and inspirationally committed and prepared to greet our younger Unity family members each Sunday morning. Collectively the 23 of them have served from a year and half to way over 20 years and conservatively have been part of approximately 2,820 Sunday mornings! They are ready for you to join them. Share the joy of opening your hearts and minds to our younger spiritual family members while accelerating the growth of your awareness of who you have come here to be.
UniTot Team ( infants – 5 years of age): Bob Luthmers, Elizabeth Herrin, Jessica Sleight, Joan Syverson, Sarah Ramos, Sharol Sanders, Sue Terry, Randy Sleight
UniKids Team (Kindergarten – 2nd grade): Mary Ladwig, Michelle Broeckling, Marlene Lock, Lois Green, Zach Supon
UniFriends Team (3rd – 5th grade) Hank Broeckling, Cheryl Miller-Arndt
Uniteens Team (6th – 8th grade) Joan Broeckling, Karen Dahl-Darling
Y.O.U. Team (9th – 12th grade) Cristy Lapke, Jeremiah Supon, Judi Jamison, Ray Clarry, Sandy Schilling, Scott Jamison
There are openings waiting to be filled. For information about the variety of ways to serve on one of our youth teams, contact team members and Rev. Jackie Green on Sunday mornings or email Rev. Jackie: firstname.lastname@example.org..
Am I contributing to this divisiveness with my own thoughts and actions?
What can I do to change my behavior in a positive way to change the world in a positive way?
In Unity we believe that thoughts are things that generate the reality of our world. I also personally believe that the things we speak into the world, give physical voice to, have even more impact than our thoughts.
I have set a personal goal to strive to eliminate thoughts and speech that add to divisiveness. For me this is not an easy task. I further have committed myself to bringing the attention of those around me think about what they can do individually and collectively to change the world in a positive way (hence this article). I know that many of you are involved in this already as members of the Transformation Transition Team. For the rest of us, I just ask you to stop and think, or meditate and pray on this. Then take action.
David Leinweber, President, Board of Trustees
Singer/songwriter and producer Daniel Nahmod is best known for his passionate, stirring live performances, and an award-winning catalog of powerful, insightful, inspiring pop songs! And he’s coming to our center on Sunday, October 15th at 7 pm! We are blessed!
Daniel has performed his profoundly moving songs of peace, compassion and connection for most of the world’s major faiths, including Catholic, Christian, Buddhist, Bahai, Muslim, Mormon, Hindu, Jewish, Unity and interfaith audiences. Daniel’s poetic and evocative message of peace, love and compassion across all nations, cultures and faiths has found overwhelming acceptance wherever he has performed. He has been featured on numerous cable and radio broadcasts in over 90 countries; at cultural festivals, interfaith and environmental fairs, workshops and conferences, youth rallies, 9/11 services; and as a keynote musical presenter at benefits for such organizations as Habitat For Humanity, Operation USA, Achievable and Anti-Defamation League. Daniel has also performed for various U.S. governors and mayors, and for congressmen in Washington, D.C.
$15 in advance, $20 at the door.
Purchase tickets on Sudays or Tuesday-Thursday from 10-3. Or call 509-838-6518 to order tickets over the phone.