Unity of Buffalo SPIRITGROUPS Program
The Unity of Buffalo SpiritGroups Program is part of a national program that was originally developed by Mendhi Audlin, a Licensed Unity Teacher. She developed the program and offered it to Unity and New Thought ministries from a deep desire to advance the New Thought movement and blaze a trail for spiritual awakening. We are one of many Unity ministries today that are utilizing the SpiritGroups program to build community, awaken spiritual consciousness and serve the world. Particularly now, we can see how SpiritGroups are a guide to help all of us navigate through these very turbulent times, as we grow in our human evolution and transformation.
The purpose of this program is to grow spiritually and thereby contribute to the group, our Church and the greater community by raising our consciousness to help meet our Church’s Vision – a world of Love, Peace and Abundance for all. SpiritGroups are also considered an important component of the Integral model of ministry, a model based on viewing ministries as a living system where everything is inter-connected and where the focus is on being mission-centric.
There is much more to the SpiritGroups Program than the gathering of like-minded spiritual seekers, reading a book, watching a video, and discussing the content thereafter. Due to the nature of the changing world conditions as we enter a new paradigm, the focus of the content of the books and videos has been addressing these world conditions as to the insight received so we can raise our awareness and consciousness and come up with solutions.
At the heart and foundation of this Program are the 5 C’s of LOVE: Communion, Connection, Compassion, Community, and Challenge when kept in balance, will create a higher spiritual consciousness and stronger awareness of the Kingdom of Heaven in earth.
Another feature of this Program is that participants have the option of evaluating themselves through a self-assessment tool on their spiritual health, connections with others, how they share their gifts, service to others, and goals. At the conclusion of the program (series), participants can reevaluate themselves in these five categories to determine their personal growth.
Yet another feature of the SpiritGroups Program is that of offering a sign-up sheet where a participant, at their option, can make a commitment to sign-up
for future help with the flow of the Program, such as offering to do the opening or closing prayer for the group at a group meeting.
Also, each SpiritGroup within the SpiritGroup Program has the opportunity to contribute to the community through a community/service project at their choosing. And in addition to this feature, the Church donates/tithes to each of the projects.
There are usually three programs a year and Unity members and friends can participate. Rev. Mary Masters shares a Sunday morning message relevant to the readings/video.
The programs last six to eight weeks, including a service project selected by each group, and concludes with a celebration where all groups come together for fun and fellowship.
The study of a book and video encourages our personal growth and understanding and appreciation for our Church mission statement and vision statement. Discussion and personal insights of the material studied is encouraged.
Our Unity of Buffalo SpiritGroups program began five years ago with the visionary and supportive leadership of Lonny and Millie Gibbs and they continue to provide that leadership today. We have also had many wonderful group facilitators and support volunteers. Here are the topics, themes, and/or books that have been the basis of our study over these past five years:
- Inspire Infinite Connections (twice)
- Touching the Stillness
- Divine Audacity
- Discover the Power
- Conscious Evolution
- Politics of Love
- Five Principles
- White Fragility
- Affirmative Empowering Prayer
- Navigating the Shift
- The Game Changers
- Our Moment of Choice
Unity Worldwide Ministries is now heading up the leadership for SpiritGroups within the Unity movement. We look forward to seeing how they will continue to build upon and improve the program. At Unity of Buffalo, this has truly been a team effort on the part of many people and we are most grateful to our program leaders, Lonny and Millie, the group facilitators and everyone who has participated in the program.