Sunday Audio Files

Sunday Audio Files

Listen here to previous Sunday talks or download and take them with you on your phone or tablet. Rev. Pat Bessey’s follow-up messages, published with the audio files, provide additional insights and news about Unity Center for Spiritual Growth. Just click or tap on a title to reveal the audio player and message.

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Gratitude & Thanksgiving Prayers

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

As you receive this on the eve of Thanksgiving, many hands will be busy peeling, cutting, baking and preparing to welcome family and friends for dinner tomorrow. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

This past Saturday and Sunday, this is what was happening at Unity Center for Spiritual Growth. With the able hands of Ingrid Avery and Dee Capoldo in our kitchen, along with many other helpers, we enjoyed an awesome Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday. I don’t have a final count; however, I believe over 65 people were served.

Serving lunch on Sundays is one way we fulfill our mission of creating community. It is here that folks get to know one another and share their spiritual walk. I am so grateful for our folks in the kitchen and if you want to play with a great group join their team.

The service on Sunday was outside the box for me and the community. It was the close of the Season for Inter-spiritual/Intercultural Celebration and, to highlight this, we had gratitude prayers from the major religions, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, Native American and Christianity. You can read them here.

At our last community meeting, there was a request to have a service where we had an extended period of “sharing the good news” so this Sunday was the perfect service to do that… the gratitude prayers were interspersed with sharing from our friends in the service.

Join me and others this Saturday as we transform the sanctuary into an old-fashioned Christmas. The time is 9:30 a.m., and I am told there will be an atmosphere of festivities, with hot chocolate and hot cider along with Christmas cookies. Come and get into the spirit of Christmas.

Advent begins on Sunday, and as we celebrate each Sunday, we will be taking a “Trip to Bethlehem” based on a book written by Unity author Hypathia Hasbrouck. The basic assumption of the book is that the traditional Christmas story is based on the fact that Jesus actually lived. In Unity, we believe there was such a person, and that he did, indeed, walk this earth.

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

How to Pray Without Talking to God – Part 3

Sunday Message from Rev. Pat Bessey

This week the Tuesday morning book group will be having the last gathering of 2019. We will be concluding the book by Mirabai Starr, God of Love. This group of men and women have done a deep dive into their own spiritual journey along with Mirabai. We will be doing another book yet to be decided in January. If your schedule is such that you are free on Tuesday mornings, I invite you to join us.

Speaking of joining us, this Sunday will be our traditional Thanksgiving lunch… come and have lunch with your family. I will guarantee that you will have great food and, more importantly, great conversation with great people.

This series from the book How to Pray Without Talking to God by Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett concluded on Sunday. The focus was on the importance of having a daily prayer and meditation practice. What are the obstacles to a daily practice? For most of us, we think we don’t have enough time. Rev. Linda has this to say, “Once our eyes open after a night’s rest, most people begin a cycle of thinking and doing for the next 16 hours or more.” Sound familiar…  is it really true that we don’t have time to pray or meditate?

I tell a great story on Sunday of the young man who didn’t have time to sharpen his ax and almost lost his job. He had been working too hard and couldn’t take time. How about you? Have you been too busy, too hard at work to sharpen your ax? Prayer is the hone that gives you that sharp edge. Without it, the more work you do, the duller you’ll get.

The late Billy Graham said, “We are slaves to our gadgets, puppets of our power, and prisoners of our security. The theme of our generation is: “Get more, know more, and do more,” instead of “Pray more, be more, and serve more.”

Cultivating a consciousness of wholeness is important to understand. ”We pray with wholeness in mind. We do not pray for healing. The need for healing is a thought based on the false possibility of brokenness. Healing is the activity of recovery, repair, and restoration, correcting a consciousness that had veered away from wholeness. In other words, we heal ourselves by cultivating a consciousness of wholeness.” — Rev. Martella-Whitsett.

Here is a prayer prescription to bring you into a consciousness of wholeness…

• Daily meditation
• Daily education
• Daily introspection
• Daily inspiration
• Avoid negative news or shows that are violent
• Spend time in the silence
• Choose people who are positive to be around
• Bring laughter and levity in your day
• Do something out of the ordinary in your day

There is far more that was covered in the talk about prayer… please take the time to listen.

Next Sunday we will be talking about “gratitude” as we prepare for Thanksgiving later in the week.

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

How to Pray without Talking to God – Part 2

Sunday message by Rev. Pat Bessey

A shout out to Rev Elizabeth Peterson for organizing the Unity talent show after the service on Sunday. It was the BEST! The talent varied from original poetry to great singing and an original guitar selection. We laughed and had moments that were jaw-dropping because the performance was so incredible. The common comment that I heard was I didn’t realize how much talent we had within our community. Thank you to all the performers, we love and appreciate you!

The message on Sunday was Part 2 from the book How to Pray Without Talking to God written by Rev. Linda Martella-Whitsett. The focus was on denials and affirmations.

Rev Sharon Connors, author of Adventures in Prayer: Praying Your Way to a God You Can Trust (Kindle Edition) says: Denial erases, dissolves and releases. Affirmation claims, plants and builds.

Spiritual denial is disidentification with, renunciation of, and elimination of thoughts and beliefs that we realize are contrary to spiritual truth. Spiritual denial is not the same as psychological denial. Psychological denial is when the ego is in denial of facts and avoids any feelings. Psychological denial leads to self-delusion as well as unconscious action and inaction.

An affirmation is a positive statement of Truth. By the use of affirmations we claim and appropriate that which is ours in Truth. An affirmation is the “yes” action of the mind; the act of affirming; the declaring of Truth; the mental movement that asserts confidently and persistently the Truth of Being in the face of all appearances to the contrary.

Denials and affirmations are “handles to power.”

Apply denials and affirmations in any situation where you notice you are having a feeling you do not want. You deny that it has any power over you and you then claim a realized Truth and affirm it both in thought and in feeling.

Here is an example of a denial and affirmation:

The denial is: This anxiety, confusion or fear is powerless to take or keep my good from you.

The affirmation is: Divine love now dissolves and dissipates all anxious, confused, or fearful thoughts, and I am peaceful in Mind and heart.

I use the analogy of a garden to explain denials and affirmations.

Next week will be the final talk, Part 3, which will include the practice of daily prayer and meditation and realize wholeness through prayer.

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

When God Calls, Say Yes

Rod Chelberg, MD

Rod Chelberg, MD

Sunday message by Rod Chelberg, M.D. (audio)

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey:

It’s good to be home! I am sure you can relate to this if you do any traveling. Rev LeRoy and I went to Maryland and Virginia and had a wonderful time visiting with friends and I did a couple of board trainings with Unity ministries in those areas.

I am grateful to have excellent speakers to step in when I am gone. This time it was Rev. Barbara Kowalska, Rev. Matt Purinton and Dr. Rod Chelberg. To listen to Barbara or Rod’s talk visit our website and scroll down on the home page and you will find them.

I have always seen November as gratitude month and this year is no different. I have already expressed gratitude for the speakers, however, there is more that I am grateful for. I am grateful that the months of August and September we ended in the positive column for our Ministry Funding Plan (budget). It looks like October will end up in the positive column as well. I tell you this because we had been running in a deficit for the first seven months of the year and with these three positive months, we are making our way closer to positive territory.

On Sunday mornings if you attend the 10 a.m. service you hear testimonies from folks during “Sharing the Good News” how working the Unity principles in their lives has dramatically improved the quality of their life. It isn’t uncommon to hear that a family relationship has been restored and it is attributed to prayer, meditation and knowing that everyone is inherently good. That a situation they had no idea would be resolved was because God is everywhere present and when they were willing to surrender, let go and let God out of the blue the solution was made visible.

I am so grateful for our children and our teachers. It warms my heart when the little people come in and share with us what they learned in their time together. When their lesson was to go outdoors and find paper cups upside down and uncover a light under them and know that the light is within them and not to hide it.

I am grateful for our dedicated folks in the kitchen who prepare a banquet for us each week. I heard one of them say I love cooking here because I get instant feedback and love for what I enjoy doing. I praise the kitchen crew because they make it possible for many in our community to sit down to a meal with other people and engage in great conversation. Many of you eat your meals alone all week and look forward to breaking bread with others on Sunday.

I think you have a sense of the importance that Unity Center for Spiritual Growth has in the lives of so many. My role and that of the Board of Trustees is to ensure that it is well funded so it continues to be a beacon of light for all who are seeking a spiritual community in which they can foster relationships and deepen their own spiritual walk.

Here is where I am going to ask you to help ensure this…there are several ways you can do this. You can set up automatic giving where you tell us how much you want to give on a weekly or monthly basis and provide us with a credit card and it will be automatically charged according to your direction (cards for this are in the seatback pockets).

Most banks have a free bill pay program where you tell them who to send a check to, how much and how often and it gets taken care of by your bank. This is the option that Rev. LeRoy and I use.

You can give by using your phone. Download the app for QR Reader and you will find in the seatback pockets a laminated card for giving and it has a QR Code on it. Just scan it to your phone and it will automatically take you to our donate button on our website. If you don’t have a QR Reader and don’t want to bother downloading it then just go to our website www.unitygreaterportland.org and click on the donate button and you can do your transaction there.

Of course, checks and cash still work as well. By taking one of the electronic options you are supporting this ministry with regular giving whether you are there every Sunday or not. The latest data on church attendance is that most people attend only twice a month. By enrolling in one of our automatic giving programs you can be sure you are seeding the future for those who are looking for a spiritual home and to find what you have found here already.

So please hold with me that before December 31, 2019 rolls around that we will have our deficit covered with extra to spare. If you have any questions you know I am always available, as are the Board members.

This Sunday I will be doing Part 2 from the book How to Pray to God Without Talking to God.

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