Unity Practical Christianity: Prosperity Part 1

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable. ~ William Pollard

Change is once again in the air! We see it in nature as the leaves are beginning their change in color and it is happening at Unity of Greater Portland, as well.

Our Prayer Chaplain program is evolving and the change begins with a new name. It will be known now as our Prayer Partner Ministry. Sue Vittner, who has been the team leader for the Prayer Chaplains for the last few years, is stepping away as her life moves in a new direction. We are so grateful for Sue’s leadership and the dedication and commitment she has given to us. With this change, we saw the program also was moving in a new direction. The changes are mostly internal, except for the name. You will not be affected at all. If you are receiving prayer calls, that will continue. And personal prayer on Sunday will be offered as it has been. The new leaders will be Barbara Kowalska and Jack Cole. From all of us at UGP, a hearty thanks to the folks who make up our Prayer Partner Ministry: Barbara, Jack, Lorrie Adams, Carolyn Sanford, Bonnie Grover, Mimo Otis, Karen Bailey, Christine Wolf, and Matt Purinton.

The series Unity Practical Christianity continued this week with the topic of “Prosperity.”

To know the real meaning of prosperity and to find out what true riches truly are, we must get away from the realm of appearances. In cleansing the mind of base ideas concerning prosperity, the first error to be erased is the belief that the possession of things constitutes prosperity.

True prosperity is the consciousness of abundance based on and steeped in the understanding of God as the inexhaustible infinite Resource always open to everyone. This quote says it all: “The Inexhaustible Resource of Spirit is equal to every demand. There is no reality in lack. Abundance is here and now manifest.”

One of the Attributes of God IS Substance and the manifestations of Substance are life and love and wisdom. Substance is omnipresent, all-penetrating, and is the foundation of the Universe, all things being formed from it. Substance is invisible to the eye of the senses, but is visible and tangible to the mind and is handled by thought. By our thoughts we form from it whatever we will.

Understanding of God as Substance forms the foundation for true spiritual prosperity. Those who know God thus have an assurance of unfailing supply.

We then have the law of giving and receiving and its relationship to Substance. We live, move and have our being in this sea of Substance, and there is a law that it must have both an inflow and outflow. This we call the law of giving and receiving. Substance flows into consciousness, where it is given form according to the faith and understanding of the receiver; then it must be given out in blessing in whatever form he is able to express it. People sometimes say, “I have nothing to give,” but they do not say it after they come into the understanding of Spirit-Substance.

Looking for something meaningful to do this Friday evening? Here it is: I am extending a special invitation to observe the Fall Equinox with Visionary Authors, Filmmakers and Futurists, Connie Baxter Marlow and Andrew Cameron Bailey for the Maine Premiere of the short film SEEDS OF FREEDOM: A Vision for America Liberty! Justice! Equality!

This new perspective presents a revolutionary look at the syntheses between European colonists and the American Indian in the evolution of the American democracy, mind and spirit.

Oh, did I mention that there is a potluck happening at 6 p.m. with Connie and Andrew?

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

Unity Practical Christianity: Healing

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey

Greetings to you. Our thoughts and prayers go out to families and friends in Florida. As we enjoy the beautiful weather here in Maine we do not lose sight of those who are experiencing the aftermath of Irma, as well as those in Texas still displaced by Harvey. As much as our electronic devices can be a hindrance in times like these, seeing a post or getting a text from a family member, friend or colleague that they or their families are safe is such a source of comfort.

This past Sunday I continued the series of Unity Practical Christianity lessons from the Unity Correspondence Course developed by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. The topic was healing. It was a very powerful message, of which the crux is that when we experience illness we all too often treat the effect and not the cause. Fillmore says, “The fault with all the healing systems of men lies in the fact that they have tried to cure disease without removing the cause of it. Causes are not remedied merely by dealing with effects. This is a simple proposition, and one that easily appeals to our reason. Then we shall go first to causes. If a cause is removed its effect disappears. This is the right and only sure method of wiping out the appearance of disease. And it should be remembered that disease is only an appearance. There is no power nor reality in it.”

He goes on to say, “Health is real, abiding, eternal, unchangeable. If mental and physical discords were real they could not be healed. It is very important to remember this, because the thought of man has so built up the belief in the power and reality of sickness and disease that they seem like impregnable fortresses of evil. This is especially true of those forms of error upon which the stamp ‘incurable’ has been placed. There are no incurable diseases. Every seeming ill has a cause, and that cause can be remedied; then the effect will disappear. The belief in the power and reality of disease is itself one cause of its appearance” (my emphasis here).

I ended the talk with an affirmation and I invite you to repeat throughout the day and week, “My body is the temple of the ‘Living’ Christ!”

Remember, you are blessed today and always because you are the living expression of the I AM. Claim It!

Next week we will look at what the Fillmores have said about “Prosperity.”

Join us Thursday evening for Unity’s 23rd World Day of Prayer at 7 p.m.

On another note: This Sunday your Board of Trustees, our dedicated Children’s Ministry teachers and our valued parents will be meeting at noon to envision a way forward for our future leaders and our children. If you would like to join us please feel free to do so. In support of this we are having a “trunk sale” on September 30 to seed the vision for moving forward.

This is an opportunity to declutter and support our children. You will be responsible for selling the items out of the trunk of your vehicle. This is a labor-free way for us to have a yard sale. All proceeds go to the Children’s Ministry expansion fund. Oh, and remember to bring enough cash so you can make change. In addition to the “trunk sale” there will be a bake sale, 50/50 raffle tickets, and the Book and Gift Store will be open.

Enjoy the fall and this beautiful weather!

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

Unity Practical Christianity: Silence

First in a series of Sunday messages by Rev. Pat Bessey

As I write this, my prayer is that you are enjoying a happy Labor Day Monday. We know that once Labor Day arrives we say goodbye to summer and welcome fall. With fall comes new classes at UGP, including two Unity classes beginning soon. They are Bible Interpretation: Hebrew Scriptures with Rev. Airin and The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity from the book written by Rev. Edwene Gaines, being taught by Steph Plourde. I encourage you to enroll in one or both as they will feed you spiritually.

I have a couple of shout-outs from this past Sunday. The first is to all who contributed to the potluck. What a beautiful array of delicious food. Thank you! And the second is to the Healing Service team. This team has been meeting for several years now and they quietly do their mighty work. The Healing Service takes place the first Sunday of the month, and in the words of someone who attended this past Sunday: “I felt cherished and bathed in the love in that room.” If you haven’t experienced their healing touch, I invite you to next month.

Charles & Myrtle Fillmore

Charles & Myrtle Fillmore

I have begun a new talk series based on the teachings of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. I am calling it “Unity: Practical Christianity.” These talks come from what was the Unity Correspondence Course. This correspondence course came from a request, and here is some of what was written by the Fillmores to describe this course:

“In response to a wide-spread demand we have arranged to give lessons in Christian healing and the true science of Christianity:

  • This teaching is not theology, nor is it founded on any written authority. It is the Science of Mind and when once understood reveals to the student the Truth lying back of all religions.
  • The teaching given by this school is called Practical Christianity and Jesus Christ is the head and only Leader.
  • The Spirit of Truth is recognized as the one authority.
  • Truth may be recognized in two ways – in intellectual understanding or spiritual understanding. The intellect gets its knowledge from without, from books, from teachers. It merely stores facts up. But spiritual understanding comes from within, the Spirit quickening the intellect, illuminating the whole consciousness with an inner knowing. It is the object of these lessons to quicken the spiritual understanding and those who study them in prayer and spiritual meditation will find the light within.
  • Hold this thought daily: “The Spirit of Truth quickens my understanding and leads me into all Truth.”

Sunday’s message was on the “Silence.” Here is my favorite line from the talk: “Silence gives thought discipline.” Leading up to this line was the following:

In the Silence we feel after God, and great is the blessing when we get so still that we feel his presence filling and thrilling us with his life and love. We will then care little for the things of the world. They lose their seeming importance and we know what is meant by the command and promise, “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” – Matthew 6:33

And then following the line: “Silence gives thought discipline” is this: “power to direct and control thought comes not from the personal will, but by centering within, in I Am. Thus, poise and self-control are attained.”

Next week we will look at what the Fillmores had to say about “healing.”

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

SisterHeart: The Story of an Indian Nun and Maher

Sister Lucy Kurien

Sister Lucy Kurien

Sister Lucy Kurien, Founder of Maher Ashram, spoke at our 10 a.m. service and presented a workshop at noon.

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey:

I want to give a high five to the awesome team that keeps Unity of Greater Portland running while I am away. Special thanks to Steph who did triple duty: speaking at the 8 a.m. service, facilitating the Prosperity Plus II class, and keeping all the ducks moving in the right direction.

Rev. LeRoy and I had an incredible time at Chautauqua Institute. We were the Unity representatives for the week. Chautauqua Institute has been in existence since 1874, when it was founded by inventor Lewis Miller and Methodist Bishop John Heyl Vincent. It was started as a teaching camp for Sunday school teachers. It has developed into a 9-week season of programs that offer lectures and classes in the arts, education, religion and music.

We represented Unity of Chautauqua by speaking at their Sunday service, holding an 8 a.m. Daily Word Meditation each morning, and doing a one-hour class on Wednesday night. There were so many wonderful offerings it was difficult to decide what to partake of. We have already made a commitment to go back next year.

This week many of our children and teachers head back to school. Our love and prayers are with you all as this is a big adjustment.

Now on to Sunday — what a powerful service we had with our special guest, Sister Lucy Kurien.

Here is some information about Sr. Lucy and the Maher organization:

  • Sister Lucy is an Indian nun dedicated to service to the destitute, abandoned, abused of India. “Love is my religion. … It is not we who do seva/service, rather the Divine who does service through us.”
  • Founder of Maher (which means “Mother’s Home” in local language) despite no formal training, no funds of her own (she lived in convent) – a living example for what one person can do with Love as your only resource.
  • Maher celebrated 20 years of service this year, has directly helped over 4,000 women and 3,100 children, many living at Maher for all their years of schooling, and/or continue on as staff, in 3 states of India.
  • Maher was recently awarded the coveted “Consultative Status” at the UN.
  • Inaugurated “Maher Interfaith Association” during World Interfaith Harmony
  • In addition to homes for women, children, mentally disturbed, and the aged, Maher organizes local self-help groups (mostly micro-finance) and does Village Outreach on topics ranging from hygiene, value of educating girls, alcoholism, anger management, AIDs awareness, and much more.
  • Maher is a values-based organization: steadfastly interfaith, caste-free, no bribesever, supporting the environment.
James Dillet Freeman

James Dillet Freeman

In the 8 a.m. service the topic was prayer. I closed with the long version of the Prayer for Protection. Most don’t know this version exists. It was written by James Dillet Freeman, Unity’s Poet Laureate, for all soldiers during World War II. I think it is just as relevant and powerful today as it was when written.

“The light of God surrounds me,
The love of God enfolds me,
The power of God protects me,
The presence of God watches over me.
The Mind of God guides me.
The Life of God flows through me.
The Laws of God direct me.
The Power of God abides within me.
The Joy of God uplifts me.
The Strength of God renews me.
The Beauty of God inspires me.
Wherever I am, God is.”

Next week will begin a short series, “Unity Practical Christianity: The Silence.”

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