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 of Greater Portland. Just click or tap on a title to reveal the audio player and message.

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The I of the Storm: Wholeness

Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey —

It takes a talent show to see the talent we have in our community. Thank you to all who participated in the “Unity God Talent” Show and for all who donated to the children’s ministry. It was a very entertaining and successful event!

The message on Sunday was a continuation in The I of the Storm series. The focus was on “wholeness.” Here is a definition of wholeness from the book: the energy of communion, principle, purpose and nonresistance. Wholeness is not outside of us, or dependent on outside circumstances. The metaphor for conflict that is used is that of a hurricane.

When two weather fronts converge there is displacement, movement and friction. The forces within the system build in intensity as temperature, dew point, wind velocity, barometric pressure, jet stream, humidity and landscape combine to form a distinct rotation of influence – and thus a hurricane is born. This is what happens within interpersonal relationships: competing needs, wants and values – combined with misperception, defensiveness and the need to be right – converge to form a storm or conflict.

At the center of the hurricane is its eye – a single theoretical point in space where the forces of the storm are in perfect equilibrium. At the eye is peace, calm, clarity and stillness. To further the analogy, then, the storm of conflict also possesses a center – the I of the Storm of conflict is your wholeness and spiritual essence.

Unity’s core belief: There is only one Presence and one Power in the universe and in my life – God the good omnipotent. How does that square with no one or nothing is against me? Put this way, do you still believe Unity’s core belief? It is sometimes challenging when the winds of life start blowing, and it is easy to slip into old ways of thinking and forget God.

I tell the story of Navy Captain Gerald Coffee who was shot down in North Vietnam and was a POW for 7 years in solitary confinement. Coffee vowed that he would find a purpose in the adversity and pain he was experiencing. His personal mission in prison was to not just survive, but to go beyond survival and return home with honor.

He walked several miles a day in his cell – taking 3 steps, turning, taking 3 steps, turning, taking 3 steps and turning. With each step he vowed to come home better, tougher, and stronger in every way. His story is an inspiration; it is an example of the human spirit’s will to survive and triumph over the most adverse circumstances. Gerald Coffee faced our greatest decision: Will we be a victim, buying into the idea that people and things are conspiring against us? Or will we seek a different perspective? Will we be victim or victor?

On another topic, many people have asked for a daytime class, and I am happy to say it is going to happen. Beginning Tuesday, May 15 I will be facilitating The Artist’s Way. The class will begin at 10:30 and end at noon.

If you are interested in taking it, either email me or put your name on the sign-up sheet on the bulletin board. Please indicate if you will need the book – it is required for the class and we will be carrying it in the Unity Book and Gift Store.

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

Beads On One String

Dennis Warner

Dennis Warner

Sunday Message by Guest Speaker Dennis Warner —

Performing in over 100 cities each year, Americana/folk/acoustic musician and entertainer Dennis Warner captivates audiences with his smooth vocals and six- and 12-string guitars. He has also found a niche as a popular guest speaker at various community gatherings throughout the country.

• Ten CDs
• Featured in concert at The Kennedy Center, Washington, D.C.
• Author of Beads on One String, Sixth Printing
• Three-time Kerrville Folk Fest “New Folk” Finalist
• Radio, TV and more…

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey

Today I want to give a special thank you to Sunday’s special guest, Dennis Warner. Dennis contacted me a couple of months ago and asked if he might come and perform for us, as he was accompanying his wife Tammy to Maine for a conference. Through sermon and song, Dennis shared with us his signature work, “Beads on One String: We’re More Alike Than We Are Different,” which is in its sixth printing.

From Dennis’ website: What began simply as a song and book about our “connectedness” in the world has grown into a popular positive behavior and bully prevention program for elementary schools.

Picture a beaded necklace, where every bead is a different size, shape and color, but all held together by one string. This is the concept Dennis Warner visioned while creating a song that evolved into the beautiful book now utilized throughout the USA and other countries, showing kids and adults that we are all connected, like beads on one string.

The congregation – including our children – were actively engaged with Dennis, singing the chorus with him. Our children made necklaces and bracelets of beads on one string, which brought a broad smile to Dennis when he saw them. Lastly, we do have copies of the book and the “Respond With Love” bumper stickers in our Book and Gift Store.

Sunday was also Earth Day, and if you stayed for lunch you would have seen each table had a bowl of dirt with the reminder to reduce, reuse and recycle. Thank you, Maria, for your creativity. Speaking of dirt and the three R’s, I will again put out a call to serve on the Season for the Earth team. If you are interested, please contact me.

Another opportunity that we would like to offer you is a chance to have a small garden by adopting a raised garden in the back yard of the church. You would take it from the planting to the harvesting and all that is required in between. In exchange, we would ask that you share some of your bounty with us to serve on Sundays. Let either me or Steph know if you are interested.

This coming Sunday I will be sharing the next I of the Storm talk on “Wholeness.” Following lunch will be the Unity Talent Show, which will prove to be a great event. The proceeds for this event go to outfitting our children’s cottage with furniture and accessories that make it a beautiful space for our beloved little people. Even if you can’t attend, you might consider giving a donation for it. Look for the poster board that will show some of the items that they are requesting.

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

I of the Storm

Note: Because there was a power outage during our service, there is no audio file for this Sunday.

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey: On Saturday we held our annual Sacred Service Brunch. This is the event where we honor those who are in service to our community. The Team Leaders selected the theme, which this year was “Bearers of the Light,” and the Board of Trustees provided the food. We are so grateful for the service of every one of our Sacred Servers, for without them this ministry could not provide the level of excellence that we do in all our services, programs and classes.

On Sunday – even though we were thrown a curve ball – we carried of the service like nothing even happened. If you weren’t there, here is what the curve ball was. It was just 10 a.m. and the lights went out in the building, so no AV, no mics, no keyboard, no lights in the children’s classrooms, no heat, and most importantly, no water. The service and children’s program went off without a hitch. Deana moved the music to the grand piano and the service went on. The power came back on at noon.

The I of the StormSo because of the power outage there will be no message to listen to this week. However, here is the crux of what I talked about. I am beginning a series using the book by Rev. Dr. Gary Simmons, I of the Storm. To many of you this is not new, and a review is always good. We are in very turbulent times in our world, and the winds of change are swirling. Simmons uses the analogy of a hurricane to describe what we often experience in our personal lives. It is a time when two air masses collide, causing friction… the makings of a hurricane. If you have lived through a hurricane, you know that at the center is a place of perfect balance, peace and calm.

Consider a recent turbulent time in your own life, possibly in a relationship when there were swirling emotions and the opposite of peace, calm, balance… how different the experience would be if you knew that at the center is a place of perfect balance, peace and calm. This is what this lesson teaches us. How to be in the I of the storm.

From the book, one of Simmons’ teachers said: The future can only be regarded as possibilities floating on a sea of infinite possibilities. What makes us so predictable is that attention and awareness continuously reframe the present moment in the context of past influences. Who we are today is what sets tomorrow’s stage.

Consciousness is poured into the creative framework of attention and awareness to set into motion the forces that organize the manifest universe. If consciousness is in bondage to the past or if attention is mesmerized according to ingrained patterns of awareness, the future is simply an extended line from here into tomorrow – that’s what makes the future predictable.

That was an eloquent way of saying that the ‘stuff’ we’ve stored in our minds will affect our future – because we are always interpreting what is happening now based on our past experiences and beliefs. When what we think, speak, feel and believe isn’t in alignment with those spiritual truths, then what we create in our lives doesn’t look like heaven.

If we want tomorrow to be better than today – if we want this to be the best year of our life, then today we must find a way to embrace and realize these spiritual truths in a greater way. If we want to change our awareness, our perceptions and our ability to experience heaven, then we will need to find our way to a changed consciousness.

In the Bible, we are invited to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Today we are here to claim our divine inheritance as a beloved creation of God and start living the truth we teach here at Unity.

Join me on April 29 as we continue, and the topic will be “Wholeness.”

This Sunday at the 10 a.m. service we will be hosting singer/songwriter Dennis Warner as he delights us with sermon and song. Our older children will be in the service during his talk, as his music and message is for all ages.

Speaking of our children… next Sunday, April 29, there will be a talent show at noon featuring our Unity talent. The proceeds for this event goes to outfitting our children’s cottage with furniture and accessories that make it a beautiful space for our beloved little people. Even if you can’t attend, you might consider giving a donation for it. Look for the poster board that will show some of the items that they are requesting.

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

Walking In Circles: How a Spiritual Leading Called Me to Civil Disobedience

Rob Levin

Rob Levin

Guest Speaker Rob Levin

— For Quakers, a ‘leading’ is a sense of being called by God to undertake a specific course in life. A leading often arises from a concern. What does your faith call you to do in the world? How do you discern when you are following God’s path, or following your own ego? (And what if it’s some of both?) What kinds of fears and doubts hold us back when we feel impelled to turn our faith into action? Explore these and other questions with Portland Quaker Rob Levin. This workshop promises to provide more questions than answers, but it’s in the questions where the richness of life lies. Learn more

Message from Rev. Pat Bessey:

I know you can relate to this — someone comes into your awareness and although you don’t know them you have an intuitive thought this is someone who has a powerful message to share. Back in early December I got an email from Rob Levin telling about a vigil he was organizing that would take place on December 11 called 196 Rounds: A Walking Vigil for Climate Hope. I received subsequent emails that piqued my interest in this man and reached out to him to ask if he would speak to our community of his experience. I want to share one sentence from his email when he accepted my request: ”I had a powerful faith experience, and I think I have something useful and interesting to share with others.”

After hearing him speak yesterday we concur that he has a great story of faith — and doubt — to share with us. He walked to the edge of the cliff, jumped and found a solid landing place. He is not advocating that we get ourselves arrested for civil disobedience; however, he is advocating for everyone to follow their individual call. There were many take a-ways from Rob’s talk and one that I really liked was what he called his Clearness Committee. This was a group of Friends that he confided in and shared his ideas and listened to their thoughts on his ideas. He said “I wanted to know if I was really crazy or that this could be a good idea.” I hope you are intrigued enough to listen to Rob’s complete message.

The calendar moving forward has some fun things for all of us. On April 22 we will have Dennis Warner doing sermon and song at the 10 a.m. service. Dennis performs in over 100 cities each year as an Americana/Folk/Acoustic musician and his passion is teaching kids about the negative effect of bullying and the positive effects of recognizing our connectedness with each other. Beads on One String is what he will be sharing with us.

On Sunday, April 29 is our Unity God Talent show. This is the opportunity for talented people in our community to entertain us. Thank you, Elizabeth Peterson, for organizing this and designating the love offerings to our Kid’s Cottage. They have a wish list of items they would like to have in their new space. Here are a couple of things on the list: a new table that has a surface that is also a chalk board, and a large-screen TV so they can watch DVDs and YouTube videos to complement their curriculum.

Stay tuned for more to come…

This coming Sunday I will be starting a new series on I of the Storm. The first week is focused on “One Presence and One Power.” See you then.

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

Walking the Way: Following the Nonviolent Jesus

Easter Sunday Message by Rev. Pat Bessey —

Easter as always is a very special day on the Christian calendar. And, since every Sunday at Unity of Greater Portland is special, we make Easter a little more special. A great big thank you to Bonnie Dalrymple, Christine Wolf, Jaclyn Ashla, Patti Lacombe and Randall Sawyer who helped to make it special by acquiring and preparing the flowers for the flower ceremony.

Easter was early this year, and now our focus turns to Spring and hopefully warm weather. It also is the time to think of the earth, planting and new life. For the calendar at Unity of Greater Portland it is the Season of the Earth. We introduced this season in 2016 with speakers and classes, and last year we expanded with planting of flowers, vegetables and added raised gardens. We had fresh vegetables for our Sunday lunches and with excess that was available for folks to take home. This year we would like to again have vegetable gardens and flowers; however, we need a strong team to make it successful. If you are interested in joining this team and being in for the long haul which means the planting, watering, harvesting and turning the stalks back into the ground in the fall, then please contact us. Both Anna Richie and Ginger Dowling are on board to help again this year, and they learned a lot of valuable information to bring to us from doing it last year.

Our guest speaker next Sunday, Rob Levin, is an attorney and Quaker who organized a walking vigil for climate hope in December. Rob brings the Season for Nonviolence to its conclusion and kicks off the Season for the Earth. He recently led a nonviolent demonstration and was arrested for civil disobedience as he and other pro-solar demonstrators stood up against Central Maine Power. He will be speaking on how this has led to a spiritual experience for him. Following the service, Rob will conduct a workshop called “Walking in Circles…When is a Leading a Leading?” A question in his description of the workshop grabbed me and might you as well… here it is: “What kinds of fears and doubts hold us back when we feel impelled to turn our faith into action?” This might be a question on your heart, and we are offering you the opportunity to explore how your faith might be calling you into action by attending the Nonviolent Action Group at 2:30 p.m., following Rob’s workshop.

Every Sunday, Unity of Greater Portland hosts A Course in Miracles discussion group at noon, facilitated by Matt Purinton. On that note, we are happy to announce that Jon Mundy, publisher of Miracles magazine and author of books focused on A Course in Miracles, will be back with us on June 3. Mark your calendars!

As you can see, there is a lot happening at Unity of Greater Portland, and we hope you take part in many of the events — and maybe even consider inviting your family and friends to join you.

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