White Stone Ceremony

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

I know that we Mainers are tough and many of you proved it on Sunday by showing up when the temperature was well below zero. As I drove down River Road on my way to the 8 a.m. service my car thermometer was registering -24… yikes… but you all showed up!

What may have motivated you was the service which is always the first Sunday of the new year, the White Stone Ceremony. I love this service because it is a reminder that we have a clean slate in which to create our life… it represents freedom.

This is a quote from John Selby’s book, Seven Masters, One Path: “We can’t hold one thing tightly in our grasp, and at the same time reach out and take something new. We must let go of and put aside what we are grasping, in order to be able to receive something that we want or need much more. All spiritual and psychological growth requires a letting go of a limited belief in order to open up and receive a more expansive belief — or even better, a direct experience of reality that makes all beliefs unnecessary.”

The Burning Bowl ceremony we do on New Year’s Eve and this ceremony set us up to release and then receive or take in the wonders of life.

This ceremony evolved from the book of Revelation 2:17. It reads, “Let anyone who has an ear listen to what the Spirit is saying to the churches. To everyone who conquers, I will give some of the hidden manna, and I will give a white stone, and on the white stone is written a new name that no one knows except the one who receives it.”

The source of the white stone is from the time of Jesus. When a prisoner was released he was given a white stone to symbolize his freedom and to prove that he had been let go from prison. As long as he had his white stone, he was assured his freedom. It is a symbol of overcoming adversity or an external challenge. And when we overcome there is a shift in consciousness — we grow, we change, and our lives become richer. We become blessed and nourished by new things. A new name is written on it — our experiences of life will be changed because of our new intentions and our new thoughts and beliefs — our shift in consciousness.

If you were not present on Sunday, you can pick up a white stone this Sunday and find your new name.

Listen; listen to what your Spirit is telling you to write on your white stone. What are you hearing or feeling or knowing? What are your intentions? What if Spirit was writing on your white stone? What is it that Spirit will write? Ask, right now. Ask what would be the most helpful name, or what would be the most helpful word to take into this New Year?

Once you receive your word keep this stone as a reminder of this moment and your choice to be free. God bless you and have a new year of renewal and freedom.

Before I end I want to bring to your attention to the Heart-Based Meditation workshop on Thursday evening from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m., facilitated by Dr. Paul and Sandra Dugliss. They are returning by popular demand. I look forward to seeing you there.

The following Tuesday evening, the Women Empowering Women group will go in a new direction using the material in the book Traveling with the Turtle. This is an opportunity to deepen your spiritual life and to live a nonviolent life. It will meet the third Tuesday of the month from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. for 13 months. Please join me and others who are on the journey traveling with the turtle.

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

World Peace Meditation

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

Happy 2018! Although the thermometer is registering below zero, my heart is warm as we wrap up 2017. It was a wonderful year and holiday season! As we begin a new year, I find it fitting to recognize our dedicated staff. The staff at Unity of Greater Portland make my job easy and keeps everything running smoothly.

  • I want to give a shout-out to Steph Plourde, my assistant and the go-to person that many of you bring your questions to — she either has the answer or knows where to get it.
  • Jan Strout handles the finances as well as the Unity Book and Gift Store. If you haven’t been in recently, you are missing a treat. She has been a part of this community for a couple of decades and carries much of the history of Unity of Greater Portland.
  • And to Deana Gurney, our music director extraordinaire. She is the one who week after week selects just the right music to complement my message. She is unflappable!
  • Our newest team member is Andrew Williamson in the AV booth — already I can see he is up to the task.

Now a look at our volunteer staff.

  • Christine Wolf plays a dual role as office support to Steph and creates and puts out Heart Thoughts every week. She readily says “yes” whenever asked to take on an extra task.
  • Leah Rush is doing an outstanding job leading our Youth Education Department. She is the idea person and has so much passion for supporting the teachers and the children.
  • Maria Lundy — we all know Maria and her passion to feed us. She can be found in the kitchen with her strong team making sure everything is ready once the service is over; she knows many will head for the food! She can be found long after everyone is gone doing little extra things in the kitchen to make it easier for her crew and more enjoyable for all of us.

Our attention turns toward the new year and we see great events and programs already on the calendar. We begin with two new classes. The first one will be led by Mindy Rosseland, “The Ultimate Catch and Release: Living Life Passionately.” The second class, kicking off the Season for Nonviolence, will be facilitated by Jack Seery and is titled “Way to Peace.” Visit our calendar to view all that is happening.

And ladies, this one is for you: I will be facilitating a new program for Women Empowering Women. This will be a once-a-month group that will focus on spirituality and nonviolence. It is based on the book Traveling with the Turtle. The first group will be on Tuesday, January 16 from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Mark your calendars right now!

Don’t miss being with us this Sunday for our annual White Stone Service. This is where we celebrate who we are and our new freedom. See you there!

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

Christmas: A Season of Love

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

The countdown is on! Only four more days until Christmas Eve. We have a special service planned for 10 a.m. and our traditional Christmas Eve candle light service at 7 p.m. There will not be an 8 a.m. service, and following the 10 a.m. service coffee and tea will be provided and you have an opportunity to share with us some of your favorite holiday cookies and pastries.

This past Sunday, “Love” was the word for advent — and both services were filled with love. Our children performed a play titled “A Celebration of Interfaith Traditions,” which was both entertaining and educational! I want to give a hearty thank you to Elizabeth Peterson for writing and directing the play and to our Youth Education leaders and parents for supporting the rehearsals and making it such a memorable experience.

In keeping with the theme of love, here is an acronym for you to apply in your day-to-day life and especially during the holidays. It is a gift that keeps giving:

L – LISTEN intently to the people with whom you are interacting with… Listen deeply; it is a great gift.

O – OPTIMIZE the time you have with your loved ones. The truth is, we do not know our last hour; don’t postpone giving your love.

V – VALUE the people in your life; really notice their goodness.

E – EXPRESS your gratitude, appreciation and praise.

Along with living the acronym for “love,” here is another practice for you from New Thought writer Joel Goldsmith from his book Practicing the Presence: What is the principle? “Love they neighbor as thyself.”

In obeying this commandment, we love friend and foe; we pray for our enemies; we forgive, though it be seventy times seven; we bear not false witness against our neighbor by holding him in condemnation; we judge not as to good or evil, but see through every appearance to the Christ-identity – the one Self which is your Self and my Self.

This holiday season and clear into 2018, let us see the Christ in every person we encounter!

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

What Is a Peacemaker?

winter roadSunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, as snow is falling and it is chilly out. We are less than two weeks before Christmas day. Just a reminder about our Christmas services: there will only be the 10 a.m. service on December 24 and then our Christmas candle light service at 7 p.m. It is a perfect service to bring family and friends.

At the 10 a.m. service we will have coffee and tea and we invite you to bring baked cookies and other sweets that are family favorites to share with your spiritual family.

I want to give a shout out to Bonnie LePage for the years of service she has given to providing us with excellent audio/visual for our Sunday Celebration services. This Sunday she will be handing over the reins to Gary Wane and Andrew Williamson, who will continue giving us the best support any minister could ask for. Well done, Bonnie! Please take a minute to thank her for her good work.

This past Sunday was the second Sunday of Advent, and the word was peace. The focus of the message was taken from the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons (and daughters) of the God of peace.” What is a peacemaker? Good question!

Let’s first look at what a peacemaking is not.

Peacemaking is not the absence of conflict. Peacemaking is not the avoidance of strife. Peacemaking is not the appeasement of parties. Peacemaking is not the accommodation of issues.

Peacemakers instead are pursuing all the beauty and blessedness of God upon another. William Barclay (writer of biblical commentary) translates this beatitude as, “They are people who produce right relationships in every sphere of life.”

Peacemaking is divine work. And Jesus is the supreme Peacemaker. He came to establish peace; his message was the demonstration of peace.

There have been many peacemakers in our lifetime, and one that I quote extensively in this talk is Fr. John Dear, who has been actively working for peace for 35 years. To hear more about Fr. Dear, listen to the Sunday message.

Another peacemaker that we are all familiar with is St. Francis of Assisi. Here is his famous prayer:

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace
Where there is hatred, let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon,
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is darkness, light
Where there is sadness, joy

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek
To be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love

For it is in giving that we receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life. Amen.

This Sunday the 8 a.m. service talk will be about Love in honor of the third Sunday of Advent. At the 10 a.m. service our children will be presenting a Christmas play.

Awakening To Hope And Faith: The Christ Consciousness

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

My heart is full to overflowing after the wonderful reception that both LeRoy and I received yesterday from this amazing community after having been away. It felt so good to be back!

The sanctuary is dressed to the nines for the holidays, thanks to Patti Lacombe and Randall Sawyer.

Please note that there will not be an 8 a.m. service on Christmas Eve morning, as we will be having a play put on by members of our community.

Advent began this past Sunday with the message of Hope and Faith. The focus of the message was that we are the light to dispel the darkness that seems to be surrounding us. Jesus, our elder brother and wayshower, came into the world to awaken within us the indwelling Spirit.

John 1:9 reads, “The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.” The spiritual image and likeness in which we are all created is the I AM, the Christ, our own true Self or, as the Apostle Paul said: “. . . Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

The Christ is not “born” in the sense that something comes into being that did not exist before. The birth of the Christ is really an awakening or enlightenment that takes place within our individual consciousness. It is an awakening to the divine nature expressing as the true, spiritual, higher Self. God’s perfect idea for humankind has always been, and will always be, for it is eternal.

Our greatest awareness is reached when we realize that Christmas is really our story — the story of the birth of the Christ in us! Let your true Self be revealed to you as never before… let it be born in the manger of your heart.

Here is an affirmation to carry with you this week: “I AM the Christ, an expression of the living God.”

As it’s been said, “Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, if He is not born in thee, thy soul is still forlorn.” We are reborn as we awaken to this Presence!

As you go through your week, whether at your job, Christmas shopping, or in the sanctuary of your own home, remember to let your light shine brightly. Scripture tells us, “And the Light is shining in the darkness, and the darkness did not overtake it.”

Next Sunday is the second Sunday of Advent, and the theme is Peace. See you there!

Following the service next Sunday, plan to stay for a heart-based meditation workshop with Paul and Sandra Dugliss. Here is a great opportunity to do self-care through the holiday season. The following Saturday, December 16, will be the next Silent Saturday again, another opportunity to unplug from the to-do lists and deadlines that this time of the year tends to overload our calendars with.

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