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

Let’s Get Real About…Life

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

Another week has rolled around, and the temperature is now feeling more like fall. Just a reminder that we have a policy in place for winter storms: If the weather bureau issues a winter storm warning, that is an automatic closing for our ministry. What this means is if it is during the week and there is a class or event scheduled, that it is canceled. The same applies to Sunday services.

Rev. LeRoy Lowell

Rev. LeRoy Lowell

Many of you knew that Rev. LeRoy and I were planning a trip to New Zealand and would be gone for a month. That trip is canceled, as Rev. LeRoy is experiencing some physical challenges and it is not a time to travel. I will be taking a couple of weeks off and use the time for spiritual renewal. I am shamelessly asking you to please attend services as you would if I were there. We have great speakers for both the 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. services on November 19 and 26. I will be back on December 4. During this time off, I will not be answering emails or phone calls, so if you need to speak with someone, call the office at 893-1233, and the prayer line is checked daily.

It is interesting how the Universe has such a sense of humor. The series I am doing is called “Get Real.” This past Sunday it was “Let’s Get Real About Life.” Life has a way of turning things around and going in directions we weren’t expecting, such as not going to New Zealand. We looked at life from the lower case “l” and the upper case “L.”

Charles Fillmore in his book Talks on Truth wrote this: “We find that life is a principle; that it is inherent in Being, everywhere present at all times; that it is manifest to consciousness through vehicles; that these vehicles are animated by life according to their capacity or power to express it; that that capacity or power of expression is governed by the idea of life that is infused into it by the generative energy of the I AM.”

I shared a parable about a beautiful young river that became obsessed with chasing clouds and how that affected her life. It is a wonderful parable and has a great deal of meaning for us all.

Here are three points from the parable of which you might want to listen to get the full appreciation of these points…

  1. We are born with purity, beauty and innocence. We come into this life having that beautiful connection to Source, to Life (upper case “L”), to the ocean in our parable — innocent and pure, beautiful, playful, joyous. — And then we learn about clouds! All those things in life we want but do not have.
  2. We Chase After Clouds. The message our river is bringing us is that in this human life, we can get so caught up in chasing our clouds — whatever that looks like — and being unhappy about not having them we lose sight of everything else and become unhappy, desperate and resentful — in other words, we suffer. — But when we quit chasing it and open ourselves up to the beauty of life (the sky, the moon), then peace and happiness occur, and the clouds take on a whole new meaning.
  3. Return/Surrender to Source… to Life. Surrender here doesn’t mean white flags, giving up, conceding. I once heard the spiritual practice of surrender defined as: Having a belief that as deeply as we are willing to let go, Spirit is willing to fill us up.

So this is what this journey in life is about: realizing who we are in God, returning to center, returning to Source, returning to the ocean of Life itself.

The parable of the river’s journey helps us get real about the interplay between lower case “l” life and upper case “L” Life.

As a reminder:

  • We are born pure and innocent and beautiful and magnificent because we are born of Life;
  • We lose our footing and sometimes our way in this life when we chase after what we want and don’t have, rather than loving it into being; and
  • Our greatest, deepest satisfaction in this life occurs when we are in conscious union with the invisible, the ineffable, the eternal Life.

Next Sunday’s message will be “Let’s Get Real About Personal Transformation.”

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

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