Symbols of Growth

Sherri Mitchell

Sherri Mitchell

Sunday Message by Guest Speaker Sherri Mitchell.

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey:

A unique view of the current reality from an Indigenous spiritual perspective, and an opportunity for us to consider how the signs around us all point to the growth and evolution of our consciousness.

Our co-founder Myrtle Fillmore heard Spirit asking this question, “Who will take care of the children?” Of course, her answer was “I will!”

We have been asked that question at Unity of Greater Portland and we have answered “we will!” We have purchased a portable classroom that will serve our children well. It has been used as a portable office in its previous life and needs a little TLC to freshen it up inside and out. We are calling for your help in doing that. If you would like to make a donation to the Children’s Education Fund, that would be greatly appreciated. If you can volunteer some time, there will be a signup sheet on the bulletin board for you to let us know you are available. More details will follow.

This past Sunday we had as our guest speaker in the Season for Interfaith Intercultural Celebration Sherri Mitchell. Sherri has a resume that is as long as my arm and did she ever “wow” us. She is an indigenous person from the Penobscot Indian Reservation and is the Founding Director of the Land Peace Foundation, an organization dedicated to the global protection of Indigenous rights and the preservation of the Indigenous way of life. Her work is being featured in an upcoming documentary film titled Dancing with the Cannibal Giant, and her first book, Sacred Instructions, will be in print in February of 2018.

I invite you this Sunday to come to the prayer workshop, “Come Apart for Awhile.” In this workshop you will learn some prayer methods that will support your own needs, and also learn how to pray with and support others. In this critical time that we are living through, prayer is essential to living a more peace-filled life.

This workshop is also an introduction to what is involved in becoming part of our new Prayer Partner program, formerly known as the Prayer Chaplain program. Come on Sunday and learn more about it.

This coming Sunday I will be continuing the series on Unity Practical Christianity and the talk from the Unity Correspondence Course is “Demonstration.”

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

A Salute to Fathers

Rev. LeRoy Lowell

Rev. LeRoy Lowell

Father’s Day Message by Rev. LeRoy Lowell

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey:

We are nearing the end of June and school is out and summer officially kicks into gear today. Rev. LeRoy and I returned from the Unity People’s Convention in San Antonio, as did our Board President, Matt Purinton, and we had a great time. It is extra special when we have members of our community at the convention with us. Mark your calendars to come with us next year to Unity Village and Olathe, Kansas from June 11 – 15, 2018. If you can’t make that, then you might want to come to the Eastern Region Conference this fall at Ashworth by the Sea in Hampton, New Hampshire from Sept. 25 – 28, 2017.

A huge thank you to Steph Plourde and Rev. Amy Cousins for sharing their messages with you on June 11. I got several comments of how good the messages were. This is always music to a minister’s ears when they are away.

Sunday Rev. LeRoy spoke and the Father’s Day message was about his relationship with his father. He shared how our perception of how we think people should act keeps us from the love that is always there for us. He shared about doing the forgiveness work that was necessary for him to reach out to his father, whom he had been estranged from for several years.

There is a lot I want to share with you; however, I also know that this needs to be brief, as I will lose you if too long. The theme for this year’s convention was “Keep Unity Wide Open: Freed by Truth, Moving with Spirit.” The keynote speakers were Rev. Sylvia Sumter from Unity of Washington, DC; Fr. Gregory Boyle from Los Angeles, CA; and Sharif Abdullah from Oregon.

Each of these speakers called us into service. They called us to get off the sidelines and take action to bring into creation a world this is spiritually transformed and works for all.

Rev. Sumter is noted for her uncanny ability to take the most fundamental teachings and principles of spirituality, and many of life’s experiences to develop her messages. Her call is to inspire individuals to transform their lives through an awareness of their innate divine potential.

The Rev. Gregory J. Boyle is the founder and executive director of Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, the largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world. The website is www.homeboyindustries.org.

Shariff Abdullah is a consultant, speaker, author and advocate for societal transformation. His mission is to bring currently dysfunctional systems and structures into alignment with our common human and spiritual values, to create a world that works for all living things. His website is www.commonway.org.

Although each speaker had a different message, the underlying theme was we must awaken and become spiritually mature. We are in the most interesting of times and we must keep our minds and hearts open to walking our talk as Truth students. What was interesting was to hear a call to action in ways that we at Unity of Greater Portland are already doing.

Here is a joint statement on Social Action Position between Unity Worldwide Ministries and Unity Worldwide Headquarters: “Any proposal or action that seeks to discriminate against individuals or classes of individuals based on prejudiced, stereotypic profiles of national origin, class, creed, race, ethnicity, physical ability or sexual orientation is in opposition to the core beliefs and values established by our founders.

We choose Unity. In harmony with the divine Spirit we stand, so we may live in a spiritually awakened world that is continually evolving. This is our prayer and our decree. Through our actions, we let it be.”

It was nearly four years ago that we began implementing the Season for Non-Violence and that was followed by the Season of Interfaith and Intercultural Celebration and then the Season for the Earth. Each of these Seasons are designed to inspire, educate and create a larger community experience. They are also aligned with this recent joint statement from UWM and UWH. So, my friend, you can see we are ahead of the curve. It is my greatest desire that we continue evolving and educating our community so we are recognized as a beacon of light in the Greater Portland community.

Fr. Boyle said, “Our kinship with each other quenches God’s thirst.” Let us work together in our little corner of the world to make it a place where we are “freed by truth and moving with Spirit.”

Join me on Sunday as we continue with this theme of community and teachings from the book The Altar of the World written by Barbara Brown Taylor. We will explore The Practice of Encountering Others: Community.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

I Am the American Flag

flagsSunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

In just a few short weeks it will be officially summer, and I don’t know about you, but I haven’t seen spring! I am writing this on Monday, Memorial Day, and it is cold and gloomy. I did get some annuals planted yesterday, and the beauty they create in my yard always makes me happy. However, it wasn’t without help from the black flies and mosquitoes!

Memorial Day is a time for us to remember those who sacrificed their lives in service for our freedom. Many of us have family members or close friends that we have lost, and we have the opportunity to honor them on this special day.

Memorial weekend also kicks off the summer season for many. It means opening up summer cottages and camps, gearing up for vacations, and attending graduations and weddings. And those of you from my generation will remember this — it is now appropriate to wear white shoes (smile).

On Sunday I chose to do a reading called “I Am the American Flag.” It has three requests of each of us.

The first is to “be proud of our country.” There is so much about her that is beautiful, compassionate, tender, powerful, yet gentle.

Second is to “be humble.” Look not at the mistakes that still remain. Settle for nothing less than to make a commitment to what you can do, where you are, with what you have to clean up the error and the shame.

And the third is to “be renewed.” Yes, renew your faith in God. Renew your pledge to follow the spiritual path.

The American Flag has a lot more to say. so I invite you to listen to the message.

I am very excited to meet and learn from our special guest, Coleen O’Connell, this coming weekend. We are celebrating the Season for the Earth, and Coleen is perfect fit for us. Here is a little bit about who she is and what she’s done.

O’Connell, director and founder of Lesley University’s Master of Science Program in Ecological Teaching and Learning, has been named 2013 Eberhard Thiele Environmental Educator. The award, bestowed by the Maine Environmental Education Association, recognizes her distinguished work and enduring contributions to the environmental education field, and lauds her creative and innovative approaches to environmental education programming.

“Anytime you’re recognized by your peers, it’s a wonderful thing,” said O’Connell, whose career in environmental education and ecology studies spans 30 years. “In a sense, this award really recognizes that commitment and that passion of the last 30 years of my life.”

You do not want to miss this on Saturday. This is a critical time in our country’s history, as well as that of the planet. We are being called into service — Coleen will help guide us as to what we can do in our corner of the world. Lunch will be provided. The cost is $60 for the day; however, we never turn anyone away. Whatever you can contribute will be accepted. She will be speaking on Sunday morning and doing a two-hour presentation following lunch on Sunday.

Speaking of lunch… this week will be Potluck Sunday, so your contribution to providing a treat to share will be greatly appreciated. And lastly, I want to extend a special thanks to the angels who gifted us with a brand new grill. This will be perfect for our vegan BBQ potluck on June 30.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey

The Practice of Getting Lost – Wilderness

Rev. LeRoy Lowell

Rev. LeRoy Lowell

Sunday Message by Rev. LeRoy Lowell

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey: A big shout-out to all who brought food for the potluck on Sunday. Although I wasn’t there to enjoy it, I heard it was outstanding. The intention for the potluck on the first Sunday of the month is to give our Kitchen Team an opportunity to catch their breath. They are in service to us at least three Sundays a month, and this is our chance to say, “Thank you and we love and appreciate you” by providing the food. Well done!

I am so blessed to have a husband that not only supports me in my personal life but also supports me by speaking on Sunday when I am off playing! This past weekend was my semi-annual cousin’s weekend. It is the time when my first girl cousins on my father’s side of the family get together for the weekend. It is always a fun time, and this was no exception. There were eleven of us and we laughed and cried together as we shared stories from our childhood right up to where we are today.

Rev. LeRoy’s talk was from the book An Altar in the World written by Barbara Brown Taylor. He talked on “The Practice of Getting Lost.” Just an aside here — this is not new territory for him. I am the type of person who sees the quickest way from point A to point B and that is the route I take. Not LeRoy: He loves to explore, and often times it results in us getting lost.

Meanwhile, back to the message on Sunday: The author first issues an invitation to admit and accept that there will be times when you will be lost. It may be physically being lost because you took a road that didn’t lead to where you wanted to go. However, the type of “lost” that is more disconcerting to me is the feeling of being lost, of not knowing what I am expected to do next or what it is that seems to be hiding itself from me.

The second invitation she makes is to move from accepting being lost to actually choosing it when it happens. This is where my learning really needs to come into play. I must choose to not resist it, see that I have chosen it, and then follow the next sign in front of me.

wooded pathThe author writes: “At this advanced level, the practice of getting lost has nothing to do with wanting to go there. It is something that happens, like it or not. The advanced practice of getting lost consists of consenting to be lost, since you have no other choice. The consenting itself becomes your choice as you explore the possibility that life is for you and not against you, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary.”

After accepting that getting lost will happen, and then daring to choose it, Taylor invites us to stop fighting the prospect of getting lost and to engage it as a spiritual practice. In essence, to see it not as a detour, but as the path; not just a wound, but as a gift; not a place where God is absent, but as a place where God is.

She says: “God does some of God’s best work with people who are truly, seriously lost.”

“Popular religion focuses so hard on spiritual success that we do not know the first thing about the spiritual fruits of failure/loss. When we fall ill, relationships fail, lose our jobs, we alienate or are alienated from loved ones, we are left alone to pick up the pieces. Even if we are ministered to by brave friends it can be hard to shake the shame of getting lost in our lives. Yet when we look in our lives to see what changed us for the better, a lot of those times would be wilderness times. When the safety net has split, resources are gone, the way ahead is not clear, the sudden exposure can be frightening and revealing. We spend so much of our time protecting ourselves from this exposure that a weird kind of relief can result when we fail. To lie flat on the ground with the breath knocked out of you is to find a solid resting place.”

To hear of Rev. LeRoy’s experiences, I suggest you listen to the talk.

plantingOn another note, if you haven’t noticed, the Season for the Earth team is starting their work and can use your help. There is a signup sheet on the bulletin board offering different opportunities for you to serve. It is the intention that the raised gardens will bear fresh vegetables and herbs for the use for our Sunday lunches as well as vegetables to share with the community. If you can give a couple of hours a week to planting, weeding or watering, please sign up and a member of the team will contact you.

You are a blessing in my life,
Rev. Patricia Bessey