Foundations of the Unity Movement
Unity of Springfield has been a beacon of light to God's spiritual community in Springfield, Missouri, since 1933. Headquartered at Unity Village, MO, next door to Kansas City, the Unity movement was founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore in 1889. Grounded in the teachings of Jesus, Unity is a positive, practical, progressive approach to Christianity based on the teachings of Jesus and the power of prayer.
Unity honors the universal truths in all religions and respects everyone's right to choose the spiritual path that meets them right where they are. We do not follow dogmas, doctrines, or creeds. Instead, the Unity Movement is guided by a set of foundational principles. The following beliefs, statements, and resolutions are intrinsically connected to our understanding of the foundational principles.
The Co-Founders of the Unity Movement
Charles & Myrtle Fillmore
Beliefs, Statements, and Resolutions
God is Spirit, the loving source of all that is. God is the one power (omnipotent), all good, everywhere present (omnipresent), all wisdom (omniscient). God is divine energy, continually creating, expressing, and sustaining all creation. In God, we live and move and have our being. In Unity, some other ways we refer to God are: Love, Spirit, Life, Light, Substance, Principle, Law, Divine Intelligence, and Universal Mind.
We believe that Jesus expressed his divine potential and sought to show humankind how to express ours as well. We see Jesus as a master teacher of universal truths and He is our Way-Shower. In Unity, we use the term "Christ" to mean the divinity in humankind. Jesus is the great example of the Christ in expression.
We are each individual, eternal expressions of God. Our essential nature is divine and therefore inherently good. Our purpose is to express our divine potential as realized and demonstrated by Jesus and other master teachers. The more we awaken to our divine nature, the more fully God expresses in and through our lives.
Unity cofounders, Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, studied the Bible as history and allegory, and interpreted it as a metaphysical representation of humankind's evolutionary journey toward spiritual awakening. In addition, Unity recognizes that the Bible is a complex collection of writings compiled over many centuries. We honor the writings as reflecting the understanding and inspiration of the writers at the time they were written. The Bible continues to be a valuable spiritual resource for us.
Unity teaches that each person is a unique expression of God created with sacred worth. Living from that awareness transforms our lives and the world.
Unity emphasizes the creative power of thought in our life experience. We refer to this as the 'Law of Mind Action'. When we take personal responsibility to choose life-affirming thoughts, words and actions, we experience a more fulfilling and abundant life.
Unity emphasizes the importance of applying spiritual principles in our daily lives.
Unity teachings continue to evolve as we identify, embrace, and apply spiritual insights and the spiritual implications of new discoveries.
Co-founder Charles Fillmore has been quoted as saying, "I reserve the right to change my mind at any given time." So do we all.
Affirmative prayer is the highest form of creative thought. It includes the release of counterproductive, negative thoughts, as well as holding in mind statements of spiritual truth. Through meditation, we experience the presence of God. Prayer and meditation heighten our awareness of God within and thereby transform our lives.
Unity recognizes that there are many expressions of family life. All are welcome. Unity creates an affirming environment that fosters positive self-image, personal responsibility, and unconditional love and acceptance. Unity provides a strong spiritual foundation for children's lives.
Unity beholds all children as whole and perfect expressions of God;
empowers children to fulfill their divine potential;
teaches children to meditate and pray;
invites children to experience a loving God.
provides a strong spiritual foundation for children's lives.
In Unity, we feel a sacred responsibility, individually and collectively, to make a positive difference through personal example and active service in our churches, our communities, and our world.
Unity of Springfield and Unity Worldwide Ministries has official statements regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. Below is Unity Worldwide Ministries declaration regarding the topic.
An official statement from Unity Worldwide Ministries:
Unity Worldwide Ministries stands for anti-racism, i.e., we are opposed to racial hatred, racial violence, bias, systemic racism, and the oppression of people of color. We stand for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for people who are marginalized because of color. No individual or group should be made to live in fear or excluded from society. Recent events in the United States and the world remind us that violent repression, prejudices, injustices, and inequalities towards people of color are embedded in societies, from social structures to institutions to cultures. Unity chooses to be more aware and take positive action in dismantling systemic racism and the social structures that support injustice and prejudice, and we raise awareness
throughout our membership, churches, and centers.
WHEREAS: Unity stands for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion for people of color. Our second principle states: “Human beings have a spark of divinity within them, the Christ spirit within. Their very essence is of God, and therefore they are also inherently good.” This principle applies to all people regardless of color; and
WHEREAS: We are fully committed to Unity Worldwide Ministries being an ambassador for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our world and an example through our actions in the Unity Movement; and
WHEREAS: Unity Worldwide Ministries Board of Trustees acknowledges that there has been and is systemic racism in Unity. We acknowledge and accept responsibility for the impact that our history with racism has made upon our Black and Brown friends, colleagues, congregants, students, employees, and patrons—both past and present. We commit to eradicating any and all systems, policies, and practices that would in any way replicate our past mistakes or reproduce an environment that discriminates against or is inhospitable
toward people on the basis of race, color, or ethnicity; now therefore be it,
RESOLVED: That based on Unity’s fifth principle of taking action, which states: “Knowing and understanding the laws of life—also called truth—is not enough. A person must live the truth that he or she knows;” we commit to the following actions:
- To reflect on an ongoing basis, diversity, equity, and inclusion in our Unity Worldwide Ministries Board of Trustees.
- To commit to reinforce our policy of non-discrimination by adopting and instituting best practices for ensuring that all qualified applicants and candidates are given full consideration for any, and all
- positions, without respect to race, ethnicity, culture, or color.
- To ongoing robust mandatory staff leadership development and education committed to building a culturally competent, anti-racist community of leaders and allies. Our bold initiative will address trainings on Implicit Bias, Cultural Competence, White Fragility, and Becoming an Anti-Racist, along with ongoing training and education that positions Unity Worldwide Ministries to be on the leading edge of building consciously awake thought leaders, committed to dismantling systemic racism and building the Beloved Community.
- To develop and disseminate principle-centered educational programs and curricula for use in our
- centers, spiritual communities, study groups and churches that equip Unity ministers, spiritual leaders, teachers, and laity with the information, inspiration, and resources necessary to detect and dissolve systemic racism within themselves and build healthy diverse, equitable, and inclusive communities. These materials will take many forms including a wide offering of online webinars.
- To allocate monetary resources to the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2021 to continue the work that the UWM Board has done in the 12-week class on racial diversity and the continued recognition of an inherent culture of white privilege with a racial equity consultant to assist us in developing a more organization-wide permanent response to the issue and needs for increased diversity, equity, and inclusion, and be it,
FURTHER RESOLVED, we are committed to moving beyond neutrality and to fully acknowledging that Black Lives Matter, too, and we are committed to demonstrating our sensitivity and understanding of this basic Unity tenet by no longer colluding in racism.
Everyone is welcome at Unity of Springfield
Unity teaches that all people are created with sacred worth and that no one exists outside the heart of God. Its basic principles state that God is Good, and because all people exist within God, they also are inherently good. We are an LGBTQ affirming and supportive spiritual community. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Queer/Questioning people serve at all levels of leadership in our movement and in our church.
We believe that all people are created with sacred worth. Therefore, we recognize the importance of serving all people within the Unity family in spiritually and emotionally caring ways. We strive for our ministries, publications, and programs to reach out to all who seek Unity support and spiritual growth. It is imperative that our ministries and outreaches be free of discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender, age, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity, physical disability, or sexual orientation. Our sincere desire is to ensure that all Unity organizations are nondiscriminatory and support diversity.
In our effort to reach out to all people, as did our Way-Shower Jesus Christ, we support the modification of our facilities to make them accessible to all people, regardless of physical challenges.
the translation of our materials into Braille and other languages;
and respect for the wonderful variety of human commitments and relationships.
We encourage ministers, teachers, and others within Unity to honor the strength of diversity within their spiritual communities. It is with love and in celebration of our unity, in the midst of our wondrous diversity, that we affirm this position.
Unity stands for peace in the presence of conflict; for love in the presence of hatred; for forgiveness in the presence of injury. Unity honors the many names for God, the many paths to God, the many ways to worship God; for there is only One power and presence of God and that God loves each one of us equally. It is therefor the position of Unity to urge all nations, their leaders, and their people to turn to God, by whatever name, for guidance during these challenging times, and to pursue peace, not war, for this is what honors the God in all of our faith traditions.
Unity stands for peace in our lifetime.