Unity in Canada began in the late 1880's with a publication
called Modern Thought, published by a married couple: Charles Fillmore and
Myrtle Fillmore. The magazine was later called Christian Science Thought and
The Fillmore's, the co-founders of Unity School of Christianity, were influenced by a
number of religions and philosophies. Unity values the inspiration and progress made by
all the great religions of the world especially Christianity from which they derive the
bulk of their beliefs. At one time they called themselves Practical Christianity as
they wanted to recapture the energy and essence of the first century BCE spiritual
communities that followed Jesus' teachings.
This commitment to personal spiritual growth has grown into a gentle and practical set
of beliefs and organizations (see Beliefs and Unity Organizations below).
Unity in Canada grew during the religious revival that flourished in North America at
the beginning of the twentieth century. In the early years Unity in Canada was loosely
organized. Individuals corresponded directly with the American headquarters at Unity Village
in Missouri. Informal study groups often grew into churches or centers drawing much of
their leadership from within the group.
During the late 1920's and the 1930's Unity in Canada experienced a settling-out
process. The birth of the United Church of Canada as an ecumenical, cooperative, Christian
spiritual experience absorbed many of the individuals and study groups affiliated with
Unity. The strong anti-Americanism that developed in Canada following the great depression
also had an impact on the development of Unity in Canada as did the lack of a trained and
qualified leadership to assist study groups and centers to stay focused on the goals of
1978 saw the birth of the Association of Unity Churches - Canada and a
coordinated effort to make the Unity ideas and ideals more easily available not only in
Canada but around the world. The Canadian Association supplements the policies and
services of the Association of Unity Churches home office in Lee's Summit, Missouri
and also the world headquarters of Unity School of Christianity in Unity Village,
They have abandoned the popular image that God is a elderly, superhuman male with a
white flowing beard who lives in a remote place "up there". They do not believe
that God is fickle, answering some prayers and ignoring others. They do not look upon God
as a deity to be feared.
One fundamental attribute of God is that He is good. We are created to be "healthy,
happy, prosperous, loved and loving, courageous and strong ". If we fall short of
these goals, it is because we have separated our mind from God, and allowed negative
thoughts to intrude.
God is within each one of us; he is directly accessible. We need only to quietly turn
within ourselves to contact Him.
Unity follows a form of pantheism. God exists in all things. He is present throughout
creation: in humans, plants, animals, the earth itself, etc.
Jesus Christ: They reject the traditional Christian view that Jesus is a deity to
be worshipped; they point out that at no time did Jesus tell his disciples to worship him.
Rather, they look upon Jesus as a great healer, miracle worker, and mystic who had a
direct access to God. They believe that his actions can be emulated by believers today.
Priorities: One's life is to be dominated by love, and compassion, even toward one's enemies.
Original sin: They reject the concept of
original sin, (the belief that because of Adam and
Eve's actions in the Garden of Eden, we are all conceived in iniquity and born in sin).
They look upon the Genesis story as an allegory; a very human attempt to explain our
beginnings. They emphasize that humans are created in the image and likeness of God, and
are thus not intrinsically evil or sinful.
Heaven: Rather than looking upon Heaven as a place "up there" to be
experienced as a reward after death, Unity conceives of heaven as expressed by Jesus:
"The kingdom of heaven is at hand", and "The kingdom of God is in
the midst of (within) you". Charles Fillmore defined it as "a state of
consciousness in which the soul and the body are in harmony with Divine Mind".
One does not have to wait until they die. Heaven can thus be enjoyed at any time through
prayer. Through proper technique, attitude and receptivity one can elevate our personal
consciousness to a heavenly state.
Hell: The Unity Church does not conceive
Hell to be a place of eternal torment in
which people are eternally punished with fire because of their beliefs and/or actions
during life. It is not a place to go to after death. Rather it is a state of consciousness
to be suffered here on earth. Charles Fillmore wrote:
"One does not have to die in order to go to hell, any more
than one has to die to get to heaven. Both are states of mind and
conditions, which people experience as a direct outworking of their
thoughts, beliefs, words, and acts. If one's mental processes are out of
harmony with the law of man's [sic] being, they result in trouble and
sorrow; mental as well as bodily anguish overtakes one, and this is hell".
Satan: Many Christians look upon Satan as a quasi-deity; an all evil presence who
is the opposite of the goodness of God. Satan and God are often portrayed as fighting over
individuals' souls. This dual divinity has obvious links to Zoroastrianism
which was incorporated into ancient Jewish legends and, in turn, were later codified as
the book of Genesis. Other aspects of Satan were derived from ancient Greek and Babylonian
Unity interprets Satan's temptation of Jesus symbolically. Satan did not tempt
Jesus to turn stones into bread; it was the "voice of human hunger;" the
temptation to throw himself off the highest part of the temple was "the voice of
human desire for recognition"; the temptation to become a ruler was "the
voice of worldliness".
Thus Satan is not a physical entity; he is one's lower nature: selfishness, greed, the
desire to turn away from God. He can be resisted by systematically striving towards one's
Sin: Traditionally, sin has been defined as falling short of perfection. Unity
uses an alternative definition: "living under a false sense of separation from
God". They view this as a delusion because God is in reality continuously present
within us. This false belief can be overcome through prayer.
Life After Death: Unity defines heaven and hell as conditions in the here and
now. They are not places where people go to spend eternity. Some members believe in a
reincarnation. After death the soul is
believed to leave the body, and to live again in another human body. This is/was a common
present day Eastern religions
the early Christian Church prior to the Council of Constantinople in 533 CE.
the Essenes, one of the three major Jewish sects while Jesus was alive.
They cite references from the Christian Scriptures which show that the concept of
reincarnation was common during Jesus' time. In the Gospels of Matthew and Mark , John the
Baptist is referred to as the reincarnation of Elija. In Matthew, some of the populace
guessed that Jesus was a reincarnation of John the Baptist; others guessed
others guessed Jeremiah or one of the other prophets. Jesus neither criticized the people
for their beliefs, nor declared reincarnation to be heresy.
Among believers in reincarnation, each lifetime is viewed as a time of preparation for
the next life, leading towards eventual perfection.
Others within the Unity Church believe that one's personality does not survive death,
but that we become spiritual beings after we die. Unity is an unusually inclusive faith
group and welcomes diversity of belief.
Unity has no missionaries. They rely upon their teachings being spread by their readers
and followers and by the literature itself.
"New centers and churches are normally started as study groups sponsored by an
existing ministry or the expansion department of the Association of Unity Churches. Both
the Association and Unity School provide support materials and services to emerging
Prayer: Real prayer does not involve begging God for a favor, or repeating
standard prayers in a ritual setting. It an act of becoming spiritually one with God. If
one applies Ralph Waldo Emerson's concept of prayer: the contemplation of the facts of
life from the highest point of view, then prayer can be a constant personal activity.
One can also use the "arms" of prayer by mentally embracing some other
individual as the target of a prayer or the "wings" of prayer by
directing your prayer at all those who are receptive.
Worship: It is not limited to Sunday church services. Worship can be pursued at
any time and location when one feels adoration and devotion for God. Ideally, it can be
experienced continually through the day.
Baptism: Within Christendom, some faith groups follow the tradition started by
John the Baptist; they totally immerse the body in water. Others regard baptism as
symbolic; they simply sprinkle drops of water on the person. The Unity School does
neither. They note that Jesus never used baptism during his ministry; and so, they do not
have formal baptism sacrament. Rather they encourage every believer to attain a
baptism which is a deeply personal event, a cleansing "prayer experience with
Spirit, an ultimate dialogue between an individual and God." The individual
emerges purified, having experienced a religious conversion of great intensity.
Communion: There has been much controversy over the meaning, details and purpose
of rite of Holy Communion (the Lord's Supper) within Christian Churches. The Unity School
does not have a formal ritual. They recall the words of St. Paul "The Kingdom of
God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit".
Communion becomes a close encounter with God in private prayer, in which one becomes aware
of the impact that God is making in all areas of their life.
The Hebrew and Christian Scriptures are the main religious text used by Unity
followers. However, all writings of all world religions are respected. "Unity
believes that there is good in every religion on earth" (Charles Fillmore).
Unity consists of a number of organizations that work individually and jointly to
further the ministry of Unity:
Association of Unity Churches - Canada Foundational Policy Statement: The Association of Unity Churches - Canada
will follow the polices and guidelines of the Association of Unity Churches and Unity
School of Christianity, insofar as they do not conflict with Canadian federal or
provincial law. It is the purpose of the Association of Unity Churches - Canada to
supplement, not duplicate, the services offered by the Association and Unity School and
the Canadian Association will work cooperatively with both organizations to better provide
Unity to Canada and around the world.
Association of Unity Churches
Core Values: "We affirm the following core values as embodied in the Unity
teachings and way of life. We believe in:
our common unity with all life and the "new commandment" of Jesus Christ:
'That you love one another as I have loved you' (John 13:34).
universal principles and spiritual values as revealed and demonstrated by Jesus Christ
and the continuing revelations of the Christ Presence.
practicing prayer and meditation as our primary means of becoming conscious of our
oneness with God.
We demonstrate these values through:
caring, responsive, and spiritually nurturing relationships in our common unity with one
communication from a level of spiritual integrity that is trustworthy, clear, open, and
standards of excellence which promote spiritual leadership that inspires us to live and
teach a God-centered life;
quality spiritual education that supports and nurtures children, youth, and
Our Mission: Our mission as an Association is to serve, support, assist, and love
Our Vision: We, as an Association practicing the principles taught and
demonstrated by Jesus Christ, serve one another all over the world with loving leadership,
integrity, and excellence. Our vision is expressed through a consciousness of love,
authenticity, open mindedness, cohesiveness, responsiveness, decisiveness, prayer,
progressiveness, equality, professionalism and relevance. We are committed to living a
God-centered life, continually developing and providing creative, spiritually sound, and
socially responsible programs, materials, and training. We assist and support one another
as we serve humanity in all it cultural diversity.
Our Goals: In order to achieve the shared vision as determined by ministers,
licensed teachers and staff, the following goals will guide our Association over the next
three years. In deepening our relationship with God, ourselves, and one another, we, as
members of our Association, commit to the following goals:
1. To lovingly support one another through authentic sharing and by being sensitive and
responsive to each other as individuals.
2. To lovingly support our youth and families by developing a spiritually-based living
curriculum relative to the needs of the 90's.
3. To identify and implement ongoing professional education and training by providing
up-to-date materials, resources and skills development.
4. To continue creating an effective and professional organization that demonstrates
quality management while serving our members.
5. To enhance communications with each other in clear, direct, and effective ways.
6. To expand and increase our tithing base that, combined with fiscal responsibility,
supports desired services and products and an excellent home office facility.
Our Affirmation: I daily dedicate myself to demonstrate the unconditional love
and faith of Jesus Christ.
Unity School of Christianity
Mission Statement: Unity School of Christianity is a center of spiritual light
for the people of the world. We are dedicated to letting this light shine so brightly that
people become more aware of their spiritual nature and express it in their daily lives. We
address physical, mental, and emotional needs through affirmative prayer and spiritual
education. We serve those who seek inspiration and prayer support as well as those who use
Unity teachings as their primary path of spiritual growth.
Approaches to Achieving Our Mission
1. We strive to approach all our activities with awareness of spiritual principles and
to provide a supportive, affirming environment that respects the uniqueness of
2. All Unity School programs and services are developed in response to the spiritual
needs of people and are evaluated in terms of how effectively and responsibly they meet
3. Acknowledging the trust of those who support Unity School, we use the principles of
good stewardship to provide programs and services at an outstanding level of content
quality and at an appropriate level of production quality.
4. Our programs, products and services are conceived, developed, produced and promoted
through a cooperative, interdepartmental effort, guided by our common purpose of
responding to specific, researched needs.
5. We are committed to promoting organizational effectiveness and efficiency through
clear roles, responsibilities, and accountabilities, and through personnel selection based
People We Serve
I. Prayer and Inspiration Path: We serve people who seek inspiration and prayer
They seek prayer as a solution to human need
They want a positive message
The are comfortable with Unity teachings presented in the language of traditional
II. Primary Path: We serve people who use Unity teachings as their primary path
of spiritual growth.
They see the application of Truth principles to human need
They are interested in studying Unity teachings at depth
They require/respond to new, evolving expressions of Unity teaching
Sources for Additional Information
The Association of Unity Churches c/o Unity Internet Ministry,
M01-630, Montreal Street, Victoria, BC, V8V 4Y2. e-mail at
The Association of Unity Churches Home Office, PO Box 610, Lee's Summit, Missouri,
64063. Phone: Area Code 816-524-7414, FAX 816-525-4020
Unity School of Christianity, 1901 NW Blue Parkway, Unity Village, Missouri, 64065-0001
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above
essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
James Dillet Freeman "The Story of Unity" and "Answers to Your
Questions About Unity", Unity School of Christianity, Unity Village, MO.
Marcus Bach, (a non-Unity author) "The Unity Way", Section 2 of Charles
Braden "Spirits in Rebellion". Southern Methodist University
Hugh D'Andrade, "Charles Fillmore, Herald of a New Age", Harper and Row
Thomas Witherspoon, "Myrtle Fillmore, Mother of Unity"
C. Fillmore, (Unity co-founder), Jesus Christ Heals and Metaphysical Bible
Dictionary, Unity School of Christianity, Lees Summit, MO
William Fischer "Alternatives". Our descriptions of Unity's beliefs and
practices were taken from this document. See the Unity Church of Victoria BC at: