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Christian faith groups

The Unity religious movement in the U.S.

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See also an essay on Unity in Canada

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This essay contains two parts:

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The first is by David Birdsong, who wrote from his own personal perspective as a Unity member.

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The second is by John S. Spong, a retired bishop of the Episcopal Church, USA.

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Unity's mission:

Unity School of Christianity is a center of spiritual light for 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. 

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Unity's basic teachings:

We encourage people to explore and apply Unity teachings based on their own spiritual understanding. We believe this spiritual understanding is enhanced through reflective prayer and meditation. The five basic ideas that make up the Unity belief system are:

  1. God is good and everywhere present.
  2. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good.
  3. We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.
  4. There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our connection to God.
  5. Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.

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Is Unity a denomination?

Unity's denominational arm includes 915 Unity churches and study groups, which are affiliated with the Association of Unity Churches. Unity also provides a two-year training program for Unity ministers at Unity Village, Missouri.

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What does Unity offer?

Unity is a spiritual resource for daily living. Our services include:

bullet A 24-hour free prayer line.
bullet Two monthly inspirational magazines:
bullet Daily Word
bullet Unity Magazine
bullet Books and audio-visual products for adults and children.
bullet Retreats and adult education classes.
bullet A two-year ministerial education program.
bullet One of the country's largest metaphysical libraries which is part of the Unity Archives

Unity's reach is global, with churches, study groups and Unity prayer ministries around the world. See: http://www.unityworldhq.org/

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Assessment of Unity by J.S. Spong, a retired Episcopalian bishop:

Bishop Spong wrote the following in response to a woman who was raised as a liberal Lutheran and is considering joining the Unity Church.

"Unity traces its roots to Mary Baker Eddy and what we once called the Christian Science movement. It has, however, evolved well beyond its origins. It is distinctively Christian but they have managed to escape the traditional Christian obsession with sin, guilt, rescue and control. They teach the goodness of God's creation, the capacity of human beings to grow spiritually and they avoid dated concepts like sacrifice and the sacredness of shed blood."

"I have found their clergy to be bright, well trained, open and positive. Their Spiritual Center and Training School is in Lee's Summit, Missouri. The things that attract me to Unity are their dedication to education; the consistently high quality of their music; their commitment to affirm their children rather than to make them feel inadequate; their care for one another, and the joy that permeates Unity worship."

"I don't know that Unity will be the future of Christianity but I do believe that the Christianity of the future will have many of the marks of Unity within it. I find that many people are like you, they discover Unity when they awaken to what Christianity can be and compare it to what they experience in many churches on Sunday morning."

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Originally written: 2003-SEP-30
Latest update: 2007-JAN-04
Author: David Birdsong

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