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Back To the Future

Articles by Drs Bil and Cher Holton

The co-founders of Unity, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, wanted a place where they could combine all of the ministries of their growing movement under one roof. They wanted a church home. It was 1902 and Charles felt it was time to select a building committee. The movement had just gotten under way and many people, including some of the Trustee members, felt that the building committee a bit premature.

At one of the early meetings, Charles brought up the idea of more space. One of the Board members started the building fund by jokingly giving a one-cent piece. Everyone laughed good-naturedly, finding his token contribution amusing – everyone, that is, except Charles.

His own trusted colleagues had laughed at his idea. Have you ever gotten similar treatment for an idea you had? When was the last time you were taken lightly, made fun of, or even ridiculed for an idea you had? What impact did the slight have on you? Charles Fillmore could have reacted in any number of ways. But he stood in his truth. He took the penny, thanked the member for his seed money, and blessed it.

To him the building fund was symbolically and literally on its way. Several months later, in February of 1903 in Unity Magazine, Charles gave subscribers “the opportunity of contributing any sum of money from 10 to one thousand dollars or more” towards the purchase of a site and the construction of a building. Unfortunately, by the end of 1903 the building fund had grown to 25! That brings to mind the story of the Unity minister who addressed her congregation and said: “I’ve got good news and bad news. The good news is we’ve got plenty of money to pay all of our bills and meet all our expenses. The bad news is it’s still in your wallets.

By 1905, two years later, the penny which started the building fund had grown to only $601. In spite of their disappointment the Fillmore’s continued to be committed to the building campaign. The building committee had discovered an eight-room house for sale at 913 Tracy Avenue, but the money they had accumulated was not nearly enough to even think about buying the property.

The Fillmore’s had prayed about it and believed that their prayers would be answered. They prayed to start each day and they prayed to end each day. They visualized. They affirmed. They prayed, believing their good would follow. Sound familiar? They prayed when they were inspired. And they prayed when they were tired. Charles and Myrtle Fillmore had PhD’s in prayer.

At a meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Unity Society of Practical Christianity a few months later, several people pledged a few hundred dollars apiece toward the purchase of the building. Their pledges were accepted graciously but the Fillmore’s seemed to be the only ones excited about the building fund.

Then one evening one of the Board members stopped by the Fillmore’s and said quietly that he had decided to mortgage his house in order to give Unity with the necessary funds. He wasn’t a rich man and he had a wife and four children to provide for. But he had worked with the Fillmore’s and had seen their generosity and commitment. He believed in their work and wanted to see the ministry grow.

His business colleagues discouraged him from taking such a drastic step. To them, Unity was not a good risk. They thought he was being brainwashed by this strange religious group and reminded him he had a family to support. Even some of the Board members in Unity believed he was giving a little too much. But he could not be talked out of it.

Because of his faith and enormous generosity, Unity obtained the lot on Tracy Avenue, and the rest, as they say, is history. By the way his daughter, May Rowland, became the Director of Silent Unity and served for over 50 years. Her book, Dare to Believe, is a Unity classic.

Unity Village was built on the faith of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, the faith of their sons, and on the faith of their friends and colleagues throughout the years. The Unity Spiritual Life Center in Durham, N.C. is built on faith too – the faith of its Board and the faith of its members. Cher and I have faith in USLC too!

We feel that the point where our collective consciousness, commitment, and talent meet the needs of people is where God wants the Unity Spiritual Life Center to be! And if we are where God wants us to be, there is nothing that can detract from the good that we can accomplish. And the same thing goes for each and every one of us: The point where your consciousness, commitment, and ability meets the needs of the world is where God wants you to be. And if you are where God wants you to be there is nothing that can keep you from your good or the good you can do.

Let us put the concept of NOTHING in perspective. It is important for your understanding of how well-connected you are to Spirit. The powerful concepts of Omnipresence, Omnipotence, and Omniscience have two incredible things in common. They both begin with the syllable “OM”. OM represents the Christ within us, the I AM Presence. It identifies our connection to Spirit. Both also have the “ni” in common. Ni is short for nil or nihil which signify nothing. So you see, there is nothing under heaven or on earth that can separate you from the all knowing, everywhere present, all powerful nature of God expressing in, through, and as you!

If you believe that, and if you truly know that within your heart, your life will be changed forever! You will walk more confidently sleep more peacefully and live more fully. There is NOTHING that can separate you from the life you want. Not your past. Not your childhood experiences. Not your bad experiences. Not your most ingrained habits. Not your lost opportunities. Not the old tapes running through your head. Nothing can separate you from your good except your disbelief in truth principles and your doubts of your unworthiness. Any separation caused by these false assumptions and your feelings of unworthiness is only a perceived separation.

You are an idea in the mind of the Creator expressing as you. The Unity Spiritual Life Center is an idea in the mind of Almighty God expressing as a community of believers. And everyone has a part to play in its out-picturing. “We live in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny.” Those are the words of Dr. Martin Luther King. And they are applicable to us as members of this spiritual community, as visitors in this spiritual community, as citizens of this country, and members of the human race. We live in an “inescapable network of mutuality, tied into a single garment of destiny.”

Every time we pledge our time, our talents, and our money to this church we are going back to the future. Back to the earliest contributors who made Unity Village a reality. The penny that began what we know as Unity Village made it possible for us to meet there today because this ministry is an extension of that mustard seed of faith.

The Unity Spiritual Life Center is here by divine right! We open these doors because Charles and Myrtle Fillmore opened doors. We pray to the God of our understanding because our co-founders prayed to the God of their understanding. We let our light shine because the Fillmore’s let their light shine. We have the privilege and wherewithal of helping people understand that the Kingdom of God is within. The Fillmore’s believed it, and they believed it because Jesus the Christ taught it. And He said it because it is true.

Inscribed on today’s pennies are the words: “In God We Trust” and trusting in God is a basic ingredient on our truth walks. Whether it’s common sense or our sixth sense, it just makes good sense to trust the Omnipresence, Omnipotence, and Omniscience of a loving God. That realization will keep us on the right path.

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