Roots of Unity
During the mid-1800’s in America, a period of spiritual unrest would eventually give birth to the “New Thought Movement” which ushered in a fresh, new perspective on Christianity. Its primary intention was to bridge the immense separation between humanity and the Creator. It focused on the innate goodness and sacred spirit in each person. Unity was born out of this new thought perspective.
In 1887, Unity was founded in Kansas City, Missouri by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. For many years this husband and wife team had been seeking a personal spiritual breakthrough. Myrtle’s dramatic healing through prayer, using the powerful life-giving messages and examples from Jesus’ life, provided the insight and an awareness of an inner power and presence capable of transforming their lives. The momentum created from their inspired experiences eventually spawned the spiritual movement known as Unity.
Looking beyond any religious denominational differences, the Fillmore’s intent was to create a vehicle of spiritual support for anyone seeking a closer union with God. It was important to avoid becoming a religious denomination or “church,” in order to acknowledge and honor the numerous and diverse spiritual traditions.
Unity believes that there are many pathways to God with no one more or less correct than the others. It is the responsibility of each individual to decide for themselves which one to follow. The wagon wheel is the perfect analogy: the outer rim encompasses all ways of being, and each spoke serves as an individual pathway leading the seeker home to God at the hub.
The heart of Unity’s spiritual message is derived from the life and teachings of Jesus. In Unity, Jesus is a master teacher who provided the world with a roadmap to find God. It allows each person to uncover a deep, personal relationship with the Spirit of God which provides inspiration to embark upon a divinely guided spiritual evolution. This evolution occurs within the consciousness of each person as a consequence of holding to several basic truths:
- God is the one power and presence within all creation and is constantly working to manifest wholesome and positive results in all our personal circumstances.
- Within every person exists a divine essence or “christed” spirit which is part of the absolute nature of God.
- Our personal spiritual development is primarily determined by our ability and willingness to change our thoughts, attitudes and feelings.
- Prayer and meditation are the primary means for connection to and experience of God.
- Knowledge and understanding of spiritual truth does not guarantee spiritual growth; we must “put feet on our prayers” and actively practice and demonstrate the truth we know.