As 2021 comes to a close, I want to take this opportunity to reflect upon our activities at Unity SLO during the past year.
One of our most powerful Unity principles involves setting intentions for what we want to establish in our lives, and taking action to bring those ideas into manifestation. This is what we emphasize at the beginning of every new year. However, too often, our focus turns to other things, and we lose the momentum to work toward the ideals we hold most dear. Therefore, at Unity SLO, it becomes most important that we role-model what it means to set spiritual intentions and consistently work toward the realization of those ideas in thought, word, and deed.
In the next paragraphs we will review our mission statements and list the ways in which we have honored those intentions this past year through our group efforts.
Our first statement reads: A progressive, inclusive spiritual community, Unity of San Luis Obispo affirms equality, human rights, and social justice for all. We honor the universal truths in all religions.
Our social action statement reads: Grounded in love, and inspired by wisdom, Unity of San Luis Obispo supports personal and planetary transformation by taking nonviolent action to promote equality, cooperation, and peace among all beings and all nations.
As a way to bring these mission statements to life, in addition to our traditional Easter and Christmas celebrations, we took action to structure our online Sunday services, including the lesson, special music, and meditation around the following themes:
- Martin Luther King Jr. Day
- Black History Month 2021 Each Sunday in February we honored the following African-American heroes: Ruby Bridges, Josephine Baker, Paul Robeson, and James Lawson
- Native American Spirituality
- Rosh Hashanah/Yom Kippur
- Dia de los Muertos
- Diwali featuring Dr. Pamela Parmar
- Kwanzaa featuring TeaEsther Higgins
We have honored several of these important themes for many years. Others we have added this year, and will continue to look for ways to honor more cultures and ideologies. By creating awareness of other traditions, and honoring our similarities and differences, we emphasize the universal truths that unite us all. We develop compassion, empathy, and understanding. We become more able to connect with one another and have a greater vision of what peace among people can really mean. Ultimately, we develop the inner strength and spiritual poise to reach out of our comfort zone and build more diverse relationships, affect legislation, and bring our teachings of the dignity of all life to the world in powerful and loving ways. This is how we move from a culture of violence to a culture of peace.
A portion of our monthly tithes goes to support organizations which advocate for human rights and planetary reform.
As good stewards of our financial resources, we continue to take action by finding reputable local and national organizations which support our deepest values. In 2021 we shared our tithes with the following organizations:
Natural Resource Defense Council (NRDC)
Human Rights Campaign
NAACP Legal Defense Fund
Southern Poverty Law Center
CAPSLO (Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo)
People’s Kitchen San Luis Obispo
Network for Good: Combat India’s COVID Crisis
Unity Worldwide Ministries
During our monthly, in-person meetings we focus on social action based on spiritual principles. A couple of months ago, we invited Jack Lahey, in charge of the homeless shelters in San Luis, and were able to set up ways in which we can support those on their way to starting a new life. Last month, we began a discussion on the United Nations Declaration of Universal Human Rights, and discussed ways to bring this information to more children and adults. This information can affect the way we look at legislation and decide where we choose to place our votes. I’d like to share with you the end of our social action statement.
Where we see hate speech, we respond with wise and rational communication.
Where we see discrimination and intolerance, we take action for inclusion and equality.
Where we see violence, we respond with nonviolent action.
Where we see partisan politics, we take action for bipartisan cooperation.
Where we see depletion and abuse of our natural resources, we take action to protect and nurture our planet.
Where we see apathy and despair, we offer compassion and hope.
All in all, I believe that in spite of the challenges of 2021 each of us who supports Unity of San Luis Obispo can take great comfort in knowing that we are taking action to support the ideas that are closest to our hearts: the dignity of the human spirit, and the oneness of all life. Thank you all for your loving support of this ministry. Looking forward to a blessed new year and new opportunities to love and to serve. Happy New Year!