Hello Unity friends,
As we move into the Season of Light Returning and all the holidays that go with it, we on the Unity Board of Directors are thinking of each of you and holding you in our hearts with so much love and gratitude. We thought that even though it’s not the end of the year, we would reach out to you to let you know you’re in our hearts and give you an overview of our crazy and amazing pandemic year!
SUNDAY SERVICE LIVESTREAM
March 15 was our first streamed service. Can you believe that? By the time you are holding this in your hand, we will have streamed 41 services! With a Templeton Grant to Unity Worldwide Ministries, plus an additional grant from Dan Pebbles and Charlotte Oakes, we were able to get funding to upgrade our equipment.
Kevin Kubota led the charge to add Facebook Live Streaming to our in-person services when Covid-19 pulled the rug out and we were forced to figure it out fast! We hired Nikko Kubota to handle our Sunday technology. Over the months we have tried different arrangements. We are now streaming our Sunday Celebration service to Zoom, Facebook, YouTube, and UnityCentralOregon.org to accommodate the preferences of just about everyone in our community!
We also added ASL services with Meda Thompson signing for the deaf community! Hopefully, you are receiving the weekly newsletter because we are changing the link for Zoom each week to avoid unwanted visitors.
Zoom has also allowed us to expand the audience for our classes. We hosted our second ever SEE week (Spiritual Education and Enrichment) and each of the 4 classes was well attended by 58 SEE students from all over the country! It was a wonderful service to our community, our movement, and it brought in some additional funds! Out of all the Unity’s across the country only a very few host SEE weeks, so we are in a special class. We have hosted many other classes and spirit groups, both SEE and general interest, held through Zoom and all have been filled with students, many from all over. This has proven to be a great way for our community to stay connected and reach members who no longer live in Central Oregon, but want to continue to be part of our community.
HEALTH AND WELLNESS
Our Health and Wellness Ministry is now hosting weekly classes and shares. This ministry is led by Donna Wolf, Rev. Beth Welton-Miller, and a team of dedicated healers. If you haven’t yet tried out a Sunday evening gathering, please experience it soon.
Hopefully, by now, you have been able to visit the property at One World Center and walk our Unity Labyrinth, with your feet or your fingers (with the finger labyrinth display).
This project was a true labor of love and adds such beautiful energy to our property. We welcome anyone from our community to come read about the Labyrinth at the various signs and enjoy this special place. Additionally, there is a meditation garden right above it and of course the currently sleeping garden right beside it. The labyrinth was the creation of so many folks from our community. We want to give mention to the leads of this project specifically.
Of course, our internationally renowned labyrinth designer, LEN Meserve, stands out, as he gifted us his design and so much labor. His spiritual consciousness and generosity are huge. Anna Nugaris, landscape architect, donated significant time laying out space for the whole area, including the meditation garden. This project could not have been done without Conscious Design Team, consisting of Penne-Chapin Zeigen, Lisè Gottwald, and Pamela Mathews. They went way beyond creating a vision and design for sacred, harmonious space. Then there’s the guy who never seems to run out of energy, Jim Pasmore. Jim was on site regularly and always ready to use his brute strength for whatever needed to be done.
Many, many other members of our community contributed with hours of physical work and financial gifts specifically for this project. This labor and donation of funds, along with the weekly donations we continue to receive from our members is what has allowed us to complete this sacred space on our property.
Bottom line: Love built this space and it’s really special. Check it out.
Year-to-date financials have been included with this letter as well as our Treasurer’s report. Your regular donations have helped us weather this storm better than we could have ever imagined! Thank you, thank you, thank you. To see a complete financial report just email our treasurer Susan with your request.
Our third quarter community donation went to The Loft, a program for teens who are unhoused or at risk in other ways, to help them get the services they need to thrive and grow safely into young adulthood. This program is under the umbrella of JBarJ Services. We were able to donate $406.16. (If you are new to our community, at our annual meeting each year we choose 4 Central Oregon non-profits that inspire us and each one receives 1% of our offerings for one quarter.) Q4 will be going to another program under JBJ Services: Grandma’s House.
If you’ve watched service in the past few weeks you’ve seen our new baby grand piano! It was donated and all we had to pay for was the move and tuning. It’s a beautiful thing to watch Dave play this wonderful instrument. We want to thank Dave, Eric, and Victor, along with guest appearances by Donna Benjamin, for what an amazing job they have done with their high-level performances to a video camera. Not easy when they’re used to getting standing ovations from a live audience. Their commitment has been unwavering.
As I write this, I’m in the midst of collaborating with our music team and tech team to create meaningful online services for the holidays. We collaborated with music directors from our NW Unity Region to create a first ever online Gratitude Celebration on Thanksgiving Eve, created a beautiful Remembrance service with multiple singers, and are in the plans for a family friendly sacred Christmas Eve service with lots of caroling!
One of the casualties of this pandemic that you may not realize, unless you’re a parent, is that our youth program fell apart. We have created a number of story and craft videos that various people read, and you can find them at on our website (https://unitycentraloregon.org/youth-family-ministry) and scroll down towards the bottom of the page. We want to serve our families but have not felt an interest from parents in having an online program for the kids. If you have ideas of what would be helpful, we are all ears! The Unity NW Region does have virtual retreats for middle schoolers and teens as well as weekly online gatherings. If you have children in this age group and would be interested, please let us know and we will get the information to you.
We have added 16 new members to our community since the pandemic began and there are at least 6 patiently waiting for me to offer the next membership class! Currently we have 169 members. And we have 3 new babies: Millie Blunda, baby number 2 born to Megan and her husband (born in April), Geo Williams, baby number 2 for Matt and Tiffany (born in June) and Paisleigh Rose Harty, baby number 2 for Rhett and Meghann (born in November)!
We still don’t know when we’ll be able to gather in person again. Our members’ health and safety is our number one priority. The board continues to monitor the CDC guidelines so we will have a clear procedure when we are able to gather again. We encourage you to use the beautiful outdoor Labyrinth space to gather with friends in a safe way if you’d like.
ANNUAL MEMBER MEETING
We have something pretty great in the visioning works and we’ll be able to tell you more when we have our annual meeting on February 21 at 11:30. Mark your calendar and plan to be there!
If you have any questions please feel free to contact Jane or any one of our board members. You can reach us using the Contact Us form at UnityCentralOregon.org.
We are so grateful to be embodying love and awakening spiritual consciousness with all of you, our beautiful, conscious community!
Rev. Jane Hiatt and the UCCO Board of Directors
Clare Kubota – President
Cylvia Hayes – Vice President
George Lemagie – Secretary
Susan Warnick – Treasurer