The Unity of Bon Air Blog

 

 



June 13, 2018

Father Love
from Cheryl Fare, Licensed Unity Teacher
When Jesus came on the scene more than 2,000 years ago, he brought with him an expanded consciousness of love and a new language for how we talk about All That Is, also known as God.  Jesus’ name for the Source at the center of our being was Abba, which translates as Papa.  The name Papa is both powerful and cozy, strong and gentle, bold and comforting.  Jesus taught an approach to God that is deeply personal, creative, and empowering. This understanding of Oneness reflects the masculine qualities in us all, and is demonstrated especially well by the wonderful men in our lives.  On Sunday, June 17th, we take time to honor this Father Love, finding its Divine qualities in many aspects of our families, our communities, and ourselves. To get yourself in the mood for Sunday,
CLICK HERE  for a dose of Father's Day adorableness, and enjoy!

 


June 6, 2018

We Are a Success Resource Center!
from Rusty Rothrock, UBA Trustee
 
I was sitting in church one past Sunday, looking around at all the people I knew, and thinking about the amount of talent and success we have in our church.  Our church is filled with successful people in all walks of life and all professions.  Why is that?  Why has our church attracted, and continues to attract, all of these successful and talented people?
 
Is it the comfort zone that our church has created of knowing that there is a divine spirit in each of us and that people can just be “themselves?”  Is it the good feeling of knowing that we are amongst “like-minded people?”  Is it the awareness that we all know that our church has been built on unconditional love and acceptance?  Or is it the positive thinking of prosperity and abundance, knowing that what we fill our soul with on a daily basis, we’ll become?  I say it’s all of these and so much more.  Maybe we should start calling our church…
Unity of Bon Air - a Success Resource Center

 
Thanks to all of you who are doing your part in making Unity of Bon Air such a success magnet. 
It’s in our DNA and it’s something that we are very proud of.
 
Blessings, Rusty Rothrock - Trustee

 


May 30, 2018

Life by Design from Reverend Valorie Kay

On June 11th, I will be ordained as a Unity Minister.  I thought about the creative process and how effective it is when we apply our spiritual powers to stay focused on a vision. There are 3 steps to live life by design rather than by default:
1. We set our intention.
2. We focus on our purpose and vision instead of problems.
3. We take action based upon our purpose and vision.
Without these key steps, we wander in the wilderness like the Israelites of the Hebrew Scriptures. These steps are important to individuals as well as businesses and churches.  We can go far by living with intention, vision, and action. Intention comes from knowing God is the only power. Vision comes from knowing we are Divine. Conscious action comes from renewing our thoughts and taking time in the silence.

 


May 23, 2018

Here and Now from Cheryl Fare, Licensed Unity Teacher

I was a college student in acting class when I first learned about the “here and now” and its importance to bringing inspiring characters to life on stage and screen. The intense study of situation and motivation, the exacting focus on each individual breath, the careful analysis of vocal and physical choices  – all are essential aspects of character development, and all are set free in brave abandon in that magical embrace of the “here and now” moment when a scene begins.  It has always amazed me how many aspects of my spiritual journey have mirrored lessons learned in my early training in the arts.  The lessons of youth often surface as echoes of Truth, and these are the sounds of mine:  Focus on the breath.  Pause and reflect.  Observe the language of the body.  Notice the moment. Be aware of the power of choices. Breathe.  Speak the Truth. Be grateful. Create peace.

 


May 16, 2018

Open Arms!
from Jane Gordon, Unity of Bon Air Trustee

What an exciting time we are experiencing as a church family!  Spring as ever is a season of renewal and rebirth in nature and in our personal affairs as well.  Soon we will elect a new Board.  We have just welcomed new Prayer Chaplains, and we have selected a new Senior Minister to lead us.  In the words of Chris Chenoweth, “The best is yet to be.  Be excited.  God’s blessing is upon you.”  I know and affirm that fresh new experiences are ahead.  I greet the new with open arms and trust life to be wonderful!

 


May 9, 2018

Mother Earth's Children

from Rama Lemacks

The first vibration we were aware of, as an unfertilized egg within the womb of our mother, was the heartbeat of our grandmother. Just the same, for each of our grandmothers, her first physical pulse was the breath and heartbeat of her own grandmother, washing her with resounding waves of love and compassion. This primordial frequency of our heartbeat stretches back to an inconceivable past, long before humanity's conception. Whenever we begin to feel unloved or separate on the journey of the soul, it is a powerful truth to remember that this pulsing within the Heartspace is the bridge that connects us to all living beings, all of Mother Earth’s children.

 


May 2, 2018

The Game of Life & How to Play It
from Reverend Sharri  MacKenzi

In our Spring Book Study Series, we're learning about tools that we can use to help us understand how we manifest our lives. Next week will be our 4th week. In the last 3 weeks we have covered many Laws, including The Law of Prosperity, Nonresistance, Karma and Forgiveness. We're also learning about The Power of Our Word.  In Chapter 3 the author poses an interesting question: How much power over the situations in your life do your words have? Through the spoken word, we are continually making laws for ourselves. Once we know this, we become conscious of the words we choose when communicating, even in casual conversation. Additionally, in Chapter 6, we engaged in "Casting the Burden" to the Christ within so we may go free. There is Infinite Intelligence within you!  When you stop, breathe, and connect with that Intelligence you can manifest all your heart's desires!

 


April 25, 2018

Celebrating Our Prayer Chaplains!
from Reverend Joyce Fisher Pierce


OUR PRAYER CHAPLAINS ARE A HUGE BLESSING TO US ALL!
This week is a major week for our church for it is the week our prayer chaplains rededicate themselves to serving our congregation these next 12 months.  We have one returning and two new prayer chaplains and three who are stepping down into chaplain emeritus positions.
 
An honorary dinner is scheduled this week for all returning and new prayer chaplains and all prayer chaplains emeriti.  Under the outstanding leadership of Prayer Chaplain Coordinator Susan Green, our prayer chaplains have each served as an extension of my ministry and will continue to serve in this magnificent way for our new senior minister, Reverend Laura Bennett. I believe our prayer chaplains have been and are a major, vital link in the golden chain of love, peace and joy that has built this, our church.  YES!  Thank you so much!
With great love and gratitude to Susan and each of you,
Reverend Joyce

 


 

April 18, 2018

Self-Care as Spiritual Practice

from Reverend Valorie Kay

What have you done for self-care lately? Have you considered self-care as a spiritual practice?  Self-care is doing what feeds the spirit, soul, and body. Without self-care, we become depleted of our physical health, mental health, creativity, and our connected awareness to Source.  A healthy practice of care might be to have a routine time to center and connect through prayer and meditation even when things are crazy and your mind is racing. I like the idea of an hour of power with 20 minutes of inspirational reading, 20 minutes of journaling, and 20 minutes of prayer and meditation which includes just listening.

Take the time each day to ask, “What can I do today to nurture my soul, my spirit, and my body.”  It can be as simple as preparing a healthy meal, coloring, and reading, walking or gardening.  Time off is highly underrated. Taking a few days off here and there can help one return refreshed and invigorated. Jesus took time apart to restore himself. He went away to the desert. He rested on a fishing boat. He knew he had to set boundaries and fill himself up. We can follow his example to come back awake, alive, and alert; centered and poised to fulfill our mission, vision and purpose.

When circumstances and conditions seem daunting, then it is time to take your power back. Giving power away is making a person or condition outside of you more important than the inside of you. Nothing is more important than what is inside of you. You are Divine. You are a person of great value. You are worthy of the time and attention that lifts you and keeps you attuned to the truth of what you are. Just like flying on an airplane, when the oxygen mask is dropped, we must save ourselves before we can help anyone else.

 


 

 

April 11, 2018

Consider Listening
from Cheryl Fare, Licensed Unity Teacher


I’ve been thinking a lot about listening lately.  Have you ever found yourself focusing on replying before the other person has even finished speaking?  Yeah, me too.  Have you ever asked a question, and then moved on so fast that you forgot to listen to the answer?  Yeah, me too.  When it comes to all our relationships, we are here to listen lovingly and attentively to one another.  I’ve been in leadership since I was 20 years old, and the biggest mistakes I have made were when I forgot that my greatest responsibility was to listen.  And then there’s prayer.  How many of us remember to listen in prayer?  Hmmmmm.  The Unity Prayer process has 5 steps:  Relaxation, Concentration, Meditation, Realization, and Appreciation.  Notice, the first 4 parts are all about setting aside our human chatter and listening to our Divine Nature.  Let’s all take a deep breath together, really listen, and be grateful.

 


 

April 4, 2018

What's within your reach?
from Prayer Chaplain Coordinator Susan Green

Clarissa Pinkola-Estes wrote ‘Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world all at once, but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach.  It is not given to us to know which acts or by who will cause the critical mass to tip toward an enduring good.”  So what’s within your reach?  Everyone you encounter on a daily basis.  Mother Teresa said ‘a smile is the beginning of peace’.  So create peace in the part of the world within your reach.  Share your smile with everyone; even those you don’t know.  You never know.  Your smile may be the first act of kindness a person has experienced in a while.  It may have a ripple effect of kindness that reaches farther than you will even know.   We are One with All That Is which includes every fellow human being.  Demonstrate it by sharing your smile. 
Peace begins with you.

 


 

 
March 28, 2018
 
For This I Was Chosen” from Reverend Joyce Fisher Pierce
 
The eternal message of Jesus to us is:  “Because I live, you will live also…I am the light of the world…You are the light of the world…let your light shine…Lo, I am with you always, to the close of the age.”    He spoke of His mission from the Cross, yet Bible translators have misinterpreted His words.  Most of us have been told that Jesus cried out from the Cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  Thanks to the late Syrian scholar George Lamsa, we have learned the original translation is incorrect.  Jesus’ native tongue was Aramaic – His words from the cross were in His native tongue.  George Lamsa’s family spoke Aramaic, and he writes that Jesus’ words – “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani” translates to
“My God, my God, for this I was chosen!” 
It is important that we hear this rather than the translation we originally believed to be true!  The Holy Presence within us would never forsake us!  The Holy Presence is always with us in good times and times of trials and troubles.  Always!  Jesus agreed to undergo His crucifixion and resurrection three days later, to prove to everyone that His teachings about eternal life were true.  Have a blessed love-filled Easter, dear friends.        
Reverend Joyce

 


 

March 2018

On the Path with....Karen Crowe, by Sharyn Mann

Briefly tell us about yourself.

I am relatively new to Richmond, but not to Unity. I moved from the Bay Area in 2012 to be closer to my mom in Hampton. I ended up working and living in Richmond and have really enjoyed getting to know the city and especially finding Unity Bon Air.

What brought you to Unity?

I was more or less raised in Unity. My first Unity church was in Sacramento circa 1972. We soon moved south, where I went to Unity in Escondido, CA and San Diego. For a variety of reasons I stopped going to church regularly and moved around A LOT. I had a casual affiliation with Unity in Charlottesville in the late 80’s and eventually found my way back to Unity at Unity Palo Alto in CA in 2000. I became very involved there and was even on the Board. When I came to Richmond, my mom suggested I check out the Unity on the south side “in the cute little house” – but I found it was now in a beautiful new church!

Briefly tell me about your experience since you’ve been at Unity.

I first came to the Ash Wednesday service in 2012, immediately became a regular in Women of Unity and eventually made it to a Sunday Service about 6 months later - when I was finally in town on the weekend! You’ll generally find me at the early service, if I’m in town. I really enjoy volunteering in the

Bookstore (very occasionally), the Choir, on the 2nd Sunday team for Fellowship Coffee, and now find myself leading the Women of Unity group – and getting to know a lot of fabulous women! I have also done Fall Study programs, also a great way to get to know people on a deeper level. I have really deepened my understanding of Unity principles by taking classes with Valorie Kaye and Cheryl Fare – both of whom are fabulous teachers. We are really fortunate to have them and Rev. Joyce.

I feel really blessed to be part of this wonderful, vibrant church family!

If you had to describe Unity in only one word what would it be?

That’s tough, but I guess I’d have to say “Love”, because I think that is at the center of what we are.

 


 

March 21, 2018

Every Day is Easter from Reverend Valorie Kay


As we approach Palm Sunday, followed by Easter, I reflect on how the metaphysical meaning of Jesus’ journey into Jerusalem expresses in my own life.  Jerusalem represents a place of peace; the donkey Jesus rides is animal nature; and Jesus represents “Christ” nature. This story shows me that the Christ- centered mind has dominion over the ego-centered mind and works with it to dwell in Peace and Oneness.  Unity founder Charles Fillmore explained crucifixion as crossing out error, and resurrection as lifting our thoughts to Oneness.
With a recent death in my family, I am aware that death seems very real to the human mind. I remind myself that Jesus conquered human death; his resurrection shows us that life is Eternal; and death cannot separate us from the I AM.  It is my daily practice to be mindful of my thoughts, and I catch myself on a daily basis thinking thoughts that are fear-based. If I can turn one negative thought around and yield to my Christ mind, then I feel like every day is Easter.

 


 

 

March 14, 2018

Spring Forward! from Board Vice-President Jim Lakin


Here we are, another time change reminder to look at the value of tuning in, reflecting, and turning off the chatter.  The monkeys aren’t mine, and neither is the circus.  When we dedicate a slot in our lives to listen and breathe, we can clear and re-set priorities.  I invite you to Spring Forward gently, allowing yourself to connect each day at a time that works for you.  Some simple steps might be:
  1. Set a timer for about 15-20 minutes.
  2. Sit comfortably. Put any concerns in a virtual shoebox.They’ll still be there when you return.
  3. Breathe slowly, deeply.Count if you like – one, two, repeat.Breathe in “I am”; breathe out “God is”. One good mantra is “SoHam”, meaning “I am s/he” in Sanskrit.
  4. Find a guided meditation on YouTube by someone like the late Wayne Dwyer. RIP Wayne.
Spring Forward! 
Give the gift of Who You Are to the world.
The Light of Love is Who You Are!!!

 


 

March 7, 2018

Unity & Christianity from Cheryl Fare, Licensed Unity Teacher


At the recent Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM) Annual Summit, a gathering of Unity Ministers and Licensed Teachers, a question was asked about the best way for leaders to respond to the question, “Is Unity Christian?”  A lively discussion ensued, and the overall take from UWM leadership is that Unity is an approach to Christianity.  Unity is part of a denomination, recognized by the Parliament of World Religions, known as New Thought.  New Thought has many wonderful threads, exploring the infinite manifestations of All That Is.  Unity is based on the teachings of Jesus, rather than the religious culture that has grown up around teachings about Jesus.  Above all else, Unity Principles joyfully and enthusiastically empower us all to embody the words of Jesus when he said, “Very truly, I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do and, in fact, will do greater works than these…” John 14:12


 

 

February 28, 2018

The Spirit of Lent from Reverend Valorie Kay

The season of Lent spans 40 days from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday, and traditionally features fasting practices.  In Unity, we use Lent for transformation. Instead of giving up a specific food or habit, we transform our thoughts. Reverend Chris Chenoweth uses the acronym. “Let’s Eliminate Negative Thinking!


By noticing a negative thought, we transform it by choosing to deny it power, and instead affirm who we want to be.  We activate Strength to stay the course, and use Elimination to cross out error thoughts and resurrect our true identity.  We fast from fear-based thoughts, resentments, and complaints.  It all begins with thought; words and actions follow. This is not to say that we become inauthentic or deny feelings.  Ask the question, “What am I making this mean?” Remember who you came here to be.  In the spirit of Lent, Let’s Eliminate Negative Thinking!
Remember you have the power. You are the power.

Based on materials from Keep a True Lent and I of the Storm.

 


 

 

February 21, 2018

Time Well Spent! from Love in Action Coordinator, Mary Curley

Time is one of our most precious commodities. Let’s say, time is currency. We are issued 24 hours of time every day.  We’re supposed to spend 8 of our hours sleeping. After all the Daily Rituals of morning prayers, grooming, hunting & gathering and milking the cows, we’ve spent another 10 hours. Then, there are all the demands on our time, like…children, elderly parents, a cold, a leaky faucet. Let’s not forget the time wasters – electronic devices and TV.  Before we know it, we’ve spent the entire 24 hours! We crawl back in bed wondering if we have spent our time well. If only there was a way to spend our time in more meaningful ways….

There is a way! Spend more time doing volunteer service, also known as Sacred Service! MAKE TIME! BORROW TIME! EEK OUT TIME! SAVE TIME! SET ASIDE TIME!  Make Sacred Service a part of our Daily Rituals!  Now, that is Time Well Spent!

 


 

 

February 14, 2018

It's time for Teddy Bear Sunday! from Reverend Joyce

Dear Friends,

Let’s make this next Sunday (Feb. 18) the greatest Teddy Bear Sunday ever!  Over the years congregation members have grown to love our annual Teddy Bear Sunday. 

Church member Nora Vanderpool chairs this event and starts purchasing or getting donations of new teddy bears all year long.  She also arranges to have a giant talking “Huggy Bear” visit our church that morning and he visits with the children in classes and also comes in to the sanctuary when the kids come in at the close of the 11:00 service.

You and others in our congregation are invited to purchase a new teddy bear and bring it to church this next Sunday morning.  You can hold the teddy bear until about noon when our children collect all the teddy bears and present them to Corporal Tim Lamb from the Chesterfield Police Department.

Corporal Lamb will address the congregation explaining how the police department will use the teddy bears to help children in stressful situations.  Examples of such times are automobile accidents, fires, incidents of domestic violence, etc.  Officers will carry the teddy bears in their patrol cars and motorcycle units.  Some of the bears will also be given to senior citizens in stressful situations.

Unity of Bon Air features Teddy Bear Sunday in recognition of Random Acts of Kindness Week.

(Officer Lamb and Reverend Joyce will be interviewed briefly about Teddy Bear Sunday this Friday at the noon show on NBC TV 12.)

 


 

 

February 7, 2018

Choose Love!  from Licensed Unity Teacher, Cheryl Fare

On a Sunday in March of 2015, I experienced a life changing event in one traumatic instant. For days, weeks, and ultimately months, I hovered between here and there - leaning into the peace and wonder beyond, and yet all the while tethered by a delicate thread to this earthly life.  There’s a name for this kind of occurrence - a Near Death Experience, or NDE.  It’s been almost 3 years, and yet only now am I beginning to be able to wrap words around this experience.  One thing I know for sure - that thread that kept me connected and showed me the way back to this life is something we all share, and that something is called love.  Fragile and flexible, yet unyieldingly strong, love is a choice we make.  The NDE has led me to become acutely aware of choosing to stay, and choosing love.  As we explore love through February at Unity of Bon Air, I encourage you to do the same.  Choose to create, choose to engage, and choose LOVE every single day.


 

 

January 31, 2018

Do Greater Things! from the President of Unity of Bon Air's Board of Directors, Reverend Zita Correll

Almost 10 years ago, it took me two Sundays of sitting in my car, watching people go into a little white house on the hill called Unity of Bon Air. Once I finally crossed that threshold, I knew I had found my spiritual home. My story is no different from others who crossed that same threshold, knowing they too had found a spiritual home - a place where people gathered in unity, peace, joy, and love.  And that energy didn't stop when we crossed back over the threshold and returned to our everyday lives.  We were able to live life more abundantly; we were able to "Do Greater Things." 

Doing Greater Things has always been an inspiring theme at Unity of Bon Air. It's a loving expectation that everyone who enters will hear, from when we greet our neighbors, to when we greet our newcomers. It's a knowing that if we see the Christ within each other, then we all succeed in expressing unconditional love, acceptance and peace. I guess you could say it's another way of saying Namaste.  Doing Greater Things has been a cornerstone of Reverend Joyce's teachings here at Unity of Bon Air. She has lovingly forged it into the heart of each one of us. With that gleam in her eye, a resounding "I know you can do it" and the loving reminder that "you really can do greater things." Calling forth the Christ within awakens us all to our divine possibilities.

Now is a time our church community when the teaching of "Doing Greater Things" is calling us to surpass that which we have known. As we rise even the more in our spiritual potential, so does the Unity of Bon Air landscape we know change accordingly. As our beloved Reverend Joyce prepares for her "re-fire-ment", we as a church community prepare for a new senior pastor.  This is a fragile step in many ways, and it is a step we are all taking together in faith.  The Board of Directors and I invite you to join us on this journey of growth as we... Do Greater Things.

 


January 24, 2018

I AM Prosperity!  from Reverend Valorie Kay

There are numerous Unity prosperity programs.  The key belief in all of them is that true prosperity exists within each of us, in the realm of Divine Ideas. Abundance is being aware of the Infinite Field of Possibilities. Prosperity is the expression of that abundance in our life and affairs.  Sufficiency, according to Lynn Twist, author of The Soul of Money, is living in a mindset of being and having enough.  The most important thing I have learned from prosperity courses is to be a person of increase, and to give from my awareness of abundance. When I think of myself as a source of prosperity, then I feel inspired to give. I AM Prosperity! Ask yourself when you wake each day, “How can I be an expression of abundance, prosperity, or sufficiency today?” You are prosperity! We are prosperity! Be a person of increase and joyfully give of your time, talent, and treasure. What you give multiplies exponentially!


 

 

January 17, 2018

Hats Off! from Reverend Joyce Fisher Pierce

There are times in our lives when we absolutely know we are being completely guided by Spirit because every roadblock seems to simply dissolve into nothingness.
  Bringing Marianne Williamson to Richmond Saturday, January 6th, had to be a Divine mission! Even when we learned late on Jan 5th that Huguenot High School had been closed due to ice and snow, Spirit guided us to find the words and people who changed that “appearance of a roadblock” to open doors!  We had a magnificent presentation by Marianne to an audience of 800+ including paid ticket holders and volunteers.  What a glorious dance we all did – Unity of Bon Air and Unity of Richmond volunteers together  - welcoming everyone with open arms, big smiles and lots of love! 

Hats off to the outstanding leadership of Unity Bon Air Board Member Harry Simmons who spearheaded this
outstanding showcase!

We love you, Harry!
With great joy, Reverend Joyce


 

 

January 10, 2018

Sacred Intentions from Cheryl Fare, Licensed Unity Teacher

Making New Year’s resolutions is all well and good, and apparently works for some people.  For me, it’s all about this moment, right now.  What is mine to do?  What can I bring to this situation for myself and others?  It’s all about intentions - not about what I want to DO, but how I want to BE - now, in this moment. I have learned that I have access to the deepest well of infinite potential, a rich tapestry of Source, which is my Divine Inheritance. As I draw from this well of abundance, I have the capacity to negotiate even the roughest terrain.  And, believe me, I’ve been there.  So, as we launch into another year-long trip around the sun, I say cut yourself some slack on making big resolutions.  Set an intention in this moment to be grateful, and then as you succeed, set yourself another.  Onward 2018!


 

 

January 3, 2018

We Are Love from UBA Board Member, Harry Simmons

In our busy lives, we may forget our real God-Self.  Sometimes we may feel that these are times that try the soul.  If only each of us was imbued with an unconquerable power. We are, because we are the Power of Love!  Love sees rightly, truly and deeply. If only every one of us had a power that banished fear and replaced negative emotions with bravery and strength. We do, because we have the Power of Love!  If only we as individuals and collectively had the answer to heal seeming national hurts and divisions.  Truly we do, because we have the Power of Love! We have the Divine Power to change everything that appears to divide our communities and our whole country.  From this consciousness of Love, and as a gift for our community, Unity of Bon Air is sponsoring the first stop on Marianne Williamson’s Love America Tour
See you on January 6th!

 

 

 
December 27, 2017
 
Embracing Change from Reverend Valorie Kay

Change is challenging for most people. Yet, it is change that brings opportunity for spiritual growth and alignment with our higher purpose. Resistance to change causes suffering, and non-resistance leaves us open and receptive to our good.  So why not embrace change? 
Change takes place in consciousness before it expresses outwardly. Unity Metaphysics teach us that involution precedes evolution. As we shed limiting thoughts and beliefs, doors open.  The Unity Burning Bowl and White Stone ceremonies help us do just that. We release what is stagnant and make room for a new direction.
If you find yourself in the hallway of change, make it your quest to know what good is ready to unfold in your life by means of you.  Say “yes” to change and new life! You are the one who closes or opens the door to “Christ in you, your hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27

 

 

 
December 20, 2017
 
Dear Friends,
I have always found a good story to be one of the greatest ways to engage and expand our awareness of Spirit’s loving expression in our lives.  With that in mind, I invite you to follow this YouTube link to a wonderful story from the legendary radio personality, Paul Harvey.  Just click on the photo of birds in the snow.  It’s one of my all time favorites, and because it is a great teaching story, I share it with you this Holy Christmastime.  Enjoy!
With Joyous Love and Blessings, Reverend Joyce
 
 
 

 

August 8, 2017
 
Regina Chapter Three, by Reverend Joyce Fisher Pierce:
 
Written by Dana Wells, who, along with Beth Harvey, opened their home to Regina during Regina's last 12 days.
 

Some of us are fortunate enough to have a pretty good idea of when we will end our time here on earth. Regina was one of those. She was able to decide where and how she wanted to spend her last days, and Beth and I were honored that she and Julie wanted to spend it at our home. Julie, and Regina's amazing siblings and cousins made all the logistic arangements from the Richmond end and we took care of the Tapphannock end.  She settled in pretty easily and we were off and running, with the goal of a peaceful passing ever in our minds and actions. She was mobile, active, aware and as always, funny up until the last few days. In short, she was fully Regina as long as she could be. 

The saying, "It takes a village." cannot be more true than in a situation like this. The family and the hospice staff worked tirelessly to accomplish Regina's wishes. People who had an important part in her care, without realizing that they were answering God's call, were critical. For instance, when you need medication and a man drives 1 1/2 hours to deliver it to you at 9:30 at night because he knows it probably couldn't wait til morning, reminds us that the prayers and the energy that were radiating around all of us were powerful. Moment after moment let us know that all things, and I mean all things were working together for the good. 

Nature showed up many times and in many ways to let us know that it was aware of what was happening on our property and that what was happening was a part of nature.  We all, including Regina, felt very connected.  

We learned a few truths:  1) The difficult truth told with love and calmness is the only way to go.  2). We can endure anything for 5 seconds, even if you have to repeat those 5 seconds over and over.  3). Keeping the goal in mind helps get through those difficult moments.  4). And we learned, again, that this thing called death is sad but not scary.  In fact, it was a beautiful experience.

We will remember the great times we had during those 12 days -- we danced, we talked, we ate and we sang.  I ran around with sparklers one night, we enjoyed pizza by a bon fire and Beth played and sang every song Regina requested. We soaked up the time with as many good stories and jokes as we could. 

It will be no surprise that Regina got the last two jokes in on us.  She had been eating small pieces of candy for several days and the time came that I had to tell her she couldn't have anymore due to the risk of choaking.  She was upset and said, "You mean a Twix bar was my last piece of candy?"  I said I was afraid so.  An hour later, as she was getting up again, 3 pieces of candy fell out of her shirt and bounced on the floor. I said...well, I won't say what I said, but she said, "At least let it be a Milky Way!"  Oh my, how she laughed!

The very last joke she played was after she passed.  The hearse was starting to pull out of the driveway and as the tires hit the street, Beth and I heard a loud clunk on the roof of our house.  We ran around to the back and as the hearse drove past, we saw one of our 10' orange umbrellas on the rooftop.  It had been picked up out of a cast iron stand, flipped and placed over the screened-in porch.  Beth immediately looks at the sky and yells, "Regina, you didn't need to do that!"  Somehow, we know it was her saying goodbye!

The last coherent thing Regina said to me was after an especially painful moment.  She looked at me and whispered, "I could not have picked a better friend for this."  I'm telling you, it doesn't get any better than that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


July 2017

On the Path with Alva Carter Kershaw, by Sharyn Mann

Briefly tell us about yourself

I am a mother of two beautiful girls and have a host of other children that I love, who belong to my blended family. I have a significant other, James, that is supportive,  loves me and my family and is willing to let me love him back. I was raised as a Christian and I am a therapist, healer & Lightworker.
 

What brought you to Unity?

I was invited to Unity of Bon Air for the Burning Bowl Ceremony, by my friend Savannah Ingram-Mitchell and I was glad to accept her invitation. Prior to that, I’d visited Unity of Richmond and loved it. So, I was sure that I would love Unity of Bon Air, as well…and I was glad to finally be right, and at home.

Briefly tell me about your experience since you’ve been at Unity.

I have enjoyed my time at Unity. I have taken three classes, come to a meditation class at the facility, enjoyed a host of activities and gatherings with members of the church. I have attended a play, I enjoy the music and the teachings. The atmosphere is one of love and nurturing. I feel welcomed and honored when I attend the functions and Sunday services. My children are acclimating well. I have invited several friends and each of them have felt as if they could and would come again. I am grateful for a place to livea life of love-in-action and to grow spiritually. I feel as if I can actually be a part of “amazing things.”

 If you had to describe Unity in only one word what would it be. 

Kindness……

 


July 18, 2017

 

Regina Chapter Two, by Reverend Joyce Fisher Pierce:

Regina wanted to get a college degree and she worked hard for three years, especially on math, to get credits. Her partner, Julie Bradshaw, spent many a weekend coaching her, and Board Member Judy Roskowski worked with her during the week. Their joint effort was so worth all the work to Regina because she was awarded an A the second time through.

One of her great jokes on me was telling our congregation I was going to have a live manger scene in front of our church at Christmas. She was so convincing, people believed her, and I howled with laughter! The next year she announced plans had changed and said, “ Reverend Joyce is going to have an inflatable manger scene out front during Christmas - animals and all”.

Everyone howled at that!

Meanwhile, each Christmas she kept making holiday earrings and ultimately raised more than $5000 for the building campaign.

Two years ago, Regina shared with me that a CT scan revealed she had a large tumor on her liver. She told me whatever it was, she would not accept chemotherapy or radiation treatment. She engaged the surgeon who removed growths on her liver previously. Surgery was scheduled and the surgeon removed 20% of her liver and Regina changed her diet. We all prayed and yet the cancer came back.

Regina, who had kept working, finally accepted the advice of her friends and went on a leave of absence.

She continued to attend church and to perform sign language during the Lord’s Prayer and the closing Peace Song. She also kept her sense of humor. She was losing weight and reluctantly accepted being in a wheelchair from the front door to the sanctuary. Our Congregation Care Team brought her meals at home and helped her as she became weaker.

Her family in Philadelphia, brothers, sister, cousins and other relatives, supported her by coming to visit often. Then one Sunday after our second service, her brother John spoke with me saying Regina wanted me to perform her memorial service. After telling him I would be honored to do so, I asked him if he would consider having a living memorial service in which we would celebrate Regina with her present. John first cried, and then said he was in favor of it and suggested we ask Regina. We immediately talked with her, sharing my proposal and she loved the idea!

We scheduled her service for mid-afternoon Friday, June 2, followed by a potluck dinner. Regina selected the songs, singers and the readings.

June 2, when she was driven into the church parking lot and saw it filled with cars, she cried. She had no idea so many people wanted to be with her at her service.

I did my best to keep the number of speakers relatively controlled and when the service had reached 50 minutes in length, I invited everyone to stand and cheer, clap, whistle or make any noise they wished, giving Regina a standing ovation of love. It was a joyful and tearful and delightful and inspiring service.

At the potluck dinner Regina stayed as long as her body would hold her. She knew this was her last time with all her friends – and she loved and made every moment rich with conversation.

The next day she left her home and was taken to a beautiful river house owned by dear friends, who invited her to let them support her in her last days. Hospice was engaged and Regina left this earth plane 14 days later.

I have asked Dana Wells, who together with Beth Harvey cared for her, to describe Regina’s closing chapter of life. She will write Regina - Chapter Three.

 

Blessings and love to you all - Joyce


July 1, 2017

 
Great Expectations from Reverend Joyce

Dear Unity Friends,

This will be the start of something new…I will be writing a blog often and it will be on our website and perhaps on Face Book and E-news.  However, the first commentary I am writing for the next couple issues will be about our beloved Regina Makem who “graduated” from this Earth plane June 14.

Regina Chapter One:

Regina was her name and I’m not sure just when she started coming to our church in the little white house on Buford Road.  However, it was when she signed up for the 4T Prosperity Class and began radiating her love, humor and joyful laughter that I felt her name was perfect for her.  For as I got to know her, Regina became a queen because her amazing powerful, joyful presence and humor just flowed out wherever she was.

She had a lot of angst about “this 4T class.”  She was not at all comfortable with the idea of giving 10% of her income each week at the close of the class when the offering basket was passed.  Although she was guaranteed she could have all of her money back at the end of the 10-weeks if she wasn’t satisfied, she still held her check over the basket nervously laughing and saying a prayer that God take care of her money.  In the class she humorously made comments that a lot of the class members were feeling, yet not willing to reveal.  Ultimately I believe she took the class two or more times, always helping others as well as herself with her questions.

People grew to love her unconditionally and immensely.  Her humor and laughter rocked our congregation as we began to grow and ultimately made the decision to build a new church.  Somewhere along her life she had learned sign language and stepped up to the podium to sign The Lord’s Prayer as we sang and returned to sign The Peace Song at the close of services.

Regina knew a lot about cars and often helped members who had car problems – basically checking out their vehicles and advising where to take their car for repair.  I don’t know how many times she “healed” little dents or helped start cars with her jumper cables.

Soon after I began to know her I shared that she was a natural comedienne and might consider stand-up comedy.  She wasn’t interested so I kept mentioning the idea and much later I finally had to let it go.

Now Regina was a tall, muscular woman and usually wore t-shirts and shorts in the summer and jeans in the winter.  She did not wear jewelry.  So in 2008 when we kicked off a capital campaign to raise one million dollars to build a new church, she came to me asking if she could make and sell Christmas earrings to support the campaign.  She asked me with a Cheshire cat grin on her face because she knew it just wasn’t like her to even consider making jewelry and thus, we both knew it was a God-idea. 

Regina had tremendous success that first year and continued to have success each following year.  In the beginning she accepted the payments as people picked out earrings.  It wasn’t long though, before she came to me and said she was just going to place Love Offering baskets on the table and let people give as they wished.  People were very generous and thrilled with the earrings.  To promote her sale table, she would personally wear a big, outrageous pair of Christmas earrings that hung down to her shoulders at the start of each Sunday service.

After each December Sunday service she had a crowd around the table and her earrings were a smash hit!  Regina was overjoyed.  That first year she collected more than $1000 for the new church building fund and started work on her earrings for the next year.

Friends, “tune in next week” for Chapter Two.

 

Peace, love and joy to you all! 

Joyce


 

December 2016

on the Path with…Harry Simmons, by Sharyn Mann

Briefly tell us about yourself.

I am a retired educator with forty-seven years of experience serving the needs of middle and high school students. I was inspired by the civil rights movement during the 1960’s to become an educator. I chose to be of service to young peoples as my way to make a meaningful and positive contribution to my world and the future.

What brought you to Unity?

While in my early twenties my life was very full, as I had a young family, while working full time and attending college full time. I felt the very strong need to have a spiritual life that would sustain me from Monday though Saturday so that on Sunday I could be recharged for the next week. I visited all manner of churches over many months searching for my spiritual home.Ten years ago, I had a life changing event and Debbie Johnston offered a class that she felt I could benefit from, 4T, and it changed my life.

Briefly tell us about your experience since you’ve been at Unity of Bon Air.

 have belonged to just two churches in my life, both Unity based teaching ministries. In both of my churches, spiritual education has been the foundation of the classes and Sunday lessons. The classes have been more than wonderful as there were opportunities for my questions to asked and answered as well as to share with other members seeking to come to know more about our god self.

If you had to describe Unity of Bon Air in only one word what would it be?

Acceptance.


November 2016

on the Path with…Gary Miles, by Sharyn Mann

Briefly tell us about yourself.

My name is Gary Miles. For close to 30 years, I’ve run a martial arts school. Martials arts has been the gateway to new lands, experiences, and amazing people. Coming from a very religious background, it helped me find balance between my spiritual and secular ideas. Outside of martial arts, a lot of my life lessons have come from raising my daughter.

What brought you to Unity?

Ten years ago, I had a life changing event and Debbie Johnston offered a class that she felt I could benefit from, 4T, and it changed my life.

Briefly tell us about your experience since you’ve been at Unity of Bon Air.

Since I’ve been at Unity, I’ve meet some wonderful, caring, and loving people, Who, through opening up their lives and experiences to me, have shown me God’s love. I’m eternally grateful for that.

If you had to describe Unity of Bon Air in only one word what would it be?

Family.


October 2016

on the Path with…Jake Lemacks, by Sharyn Mann

Briefly tell us about yourself.

I am 20 years old, I teach meditation and a bit of yoga, as well as wait tables at Joe's Inn. I grew up as a martial artist of all sorts and continue to practice Thai boxing and Brazilian jujitsu on a daily basis.

What brought you to Unity?

My mother convinced me to come to Unity after noticing that I was in an extremely depressed state. Being an Atheist for three years and hating the institution of Christianity in America as it is today, it took a good deal of convincing. However, after hearing that Unity was not a traditional church and simply focused on principles of love, I was willing to give it a shot.

Briefly tell us about your experience since you’ve been at Unity of Bon Air.

In short my whole life turned around. I used to be stuck in depression and addiction, alcohol in particular, and now I find myself giving workshops on breath and shamanic practice. I was elected Regional Officer of Spirituality when I was part of the Youth of Unity and have transferred into the newly created Next Generation of Unity. Each day I feel the universe offers me a new lesson to learn, and I find myself living in gratitude and wholeness. There are still times where I slip up and allow fear based thoughts to control my actions, but I always remain on the path to enlightenment; the road to Zion.

If you had to describe Unity of Bon Air in only one word what would it be?

Medicine.


September 2016

on the Path with…Sharyn Mann, by Sharyn Mann

Briefly tell us about yourself.

I am originally from New Jersey but have lived in Richmond for 22 years. I have also lived in Hampton and Alexandria while working for Federal Express. I had a disabling stroke almost ten years ago due to a rare bacterial infection. I retired from Federal Express after going from Call Center Rep to Senior Manager of the largest delivery station in the mid-Atlantic Region. I have one daughter who is a Psychology Post-Doctorate Fellow at VCU in clinical studies and three dogs, a lab a foxhound, and a daschund.

What brought you to Unity?

My best friend of 30+ years found Unity in Jacksonville, Florida where she   lives, and since we are very similar ,she suggested I find Unity in Richmond.

Briefly tell us about your experience since you’ve been at Unity of Bon Air.

Growing up in Jersey we did not regularly attend church as a family, but I was allowed to attend with friends and went to their churches. I was young and didn’t understand what I was supposed to walk away from the experience with. That confusion led me to describe myself as spiritual but not religious. I knew there was a higher power but didn’t think I could ever be in tune with it. I started coming to Unity to attend "A Course In Miracles" and then I started attending services. I immediately knew I wanted to be part of this experience and attended new member orientation and then the new membership service. I currently volunteer in the Bookstore, belong to Women of Unity, write these "The Path" articles.

If you had to describe Unity of Bon Air in only one word what would it be?

Inclusive. There is no judgment everyone is made to feel welcome and there are activities for all interests and backgrounds.


August 2016

on the Path with…Deana Browder, by Sharyn Mann

Briefly tell us about yourself.

I am originally from the Richmond area. I am 46 years old and single. I love people , animals, technology. I am vision impaired, but thanks to the wonders of technology, I love to read and I read just about anything I can get my hands on. In my spare time. I also love music, pet sitting, and house sitting.

What brought you to Unity?

I learned about Unity through a wonderful friend of mine who lives in my apartment building.

Briefly tell us about your experience since you’ve been at Unity of Bon Air.

I have just recently been able to start coming to Unity on a more regular basis, but every time I come to Unity, I always leave feeling spiritually, physically, and emotionally better than I did when I came in. Every time I come I always learn something and its always a beautiful experience for me.

If you had to describe Unity of Bon Air in only one word what would it be?

Home.


July 2016

on the Path with…Stephanie Curtis Glasser, by Sharyn Mann

Briefly tell us about yourself.

I am originally from Virginia and have lived in Richmond for the past nine years. I am privileged to work as a Nurse Practitioner in internal medicine. I am recently married and also mother of an 8-year-old 4-pawed son who holds my heart.

What brought you to Unity?

I found Unity two years ago during a particularly stressful time in my life. I just happened to notice the church on my commute to work and felt pulled to check it out. The first time I came to Unity I immediately felt at home and was so excited to find a church community so inclusive of all people no matter their religion, gender, or lifestyle. I quickly came to spend the week looking forward to Sundays and joined Unity with the first new member class since I’d arrived.

Briefly tell us about your experience since you’ve been at Unity of Bon Air.

I have been so impressed by the wonderful community of people that make up Unity. It’s hard to imagine a community that could be more open, friendly, or full of positive energy than this one. Since joining Unity I have volunteered at the bookstore and really enjoy doing this. I am hoping to continue to join more groups and continue to meet more people who make up this wonderful community.

If you had to describe Unity of Bon Air in only one word what would it be?

One word would be hard so I will say the first one that comes to mind and the one that rings true to my heart… "HOME." I feel like I finally found a spiritual home in Unity and with this community.