Unity Honors Pioneering African-American Minister

Aug. 25, 2016

UNITY VILLAGE, Mo.—More than 200 people gathered as Unity Village Mayor David Vest proclaimed Aug. 24, 2016, as Johnnie Colemon Day. Guests from Chicago, Baltimore, other U.S. cities, and Kingston, Jamaica, honored the influential Chicago minister at an afternoon service in the Silent Unity Chapel, followed by plaque and paver dedications in the Rose Garden and Prayer Garden.

The service began with a procession led by officials from Unity World Headquarters, Unity Worldwide Ministries, Christ Universal Temple, and the Universal Foundation for Better Living (UFBL). Speakers included Rev. Dr. Sheila McKeithen, UFBL president, and Rev. Dr. Derrick Wells, senior minister, Christ Universal Temple. In addition, guests watched a video tribute from entertainer Ben Vereen.

The Rev. Dr. Colemon was the first African-American to live at Unity Village, and one of the first African-Americans to be ordained a Unity minister. She was also the first African-American elected president of the Association of Unity Churches (now Unity Worldwide Ministries).

Colemon is best known as the pioneering founder of one of Chicago’s largest and most influential churches, Christ Universal Temple, established in 1956. In 1974, she founded the Universal Foundation for Better Living, an international association of New Thought Christian churches and study groups. The Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary is named in her honor. She passed away in 2014, at age 94.

About Unity

Unity was founded in 1889 and helps people of all faiths apply positive spiritual principles in their daily lives. Unity World Headquarters at Unity Village publishes Daily Word, a magazine of inspirational messages distributed to nearly 1 million people in more than 100 countries. The Unity prayer ministry, Silent Unity, offers prayer support 24/7. Silent Unity receives about 2 million letters, telephone calls, and online requests for prayer annually. Anyone in need of prayer support at any time may call (1-800) NOW-PRAY (669-7729) or visit silentunity.org.

Unity World Headquarters is located at M-350 Highway and Colbern Road (1901 NW Blue Parkway), near Lee’s Summit, Mo. The Unity Village campus covers more than 1,200 acres.