The Unity movement started to spread internationally not long after it was founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore more than a century ago. Its international presence would grow exponentially as Unity started translating and distributing its publications outside the United States.
Initial international queries were fielded in the 1930s by the Unity prayer ministry (now Silent Unity®), and full-language translations of Unity materials began in 1939. It was 1946 when Silent Unity established its first international affiliate in England. (An “affiliate” is authorized by Unity to translate and reprint Unity materials.)
“We have had followers in foreign lands almost from the beginning of Unity,” wrote Unity pioneer James Dillet Freeman in his 1995 Unity Magazine® column. “When I came to work in Silent Unity more than 60 years ago, hundreds of people were already writing to us and praying with us from such faraway places as Nigeria, Australia, Jamaica, and India.”
The Unity influence spread as its materials were offered outside the U.S., with a focus on getting publications to people in need of comfort during times of crises.
In 2010 Unity worked with affiliates and volunteers in Canada and the Dominican Republic to create and distribute a special-edition publication to residents of Haiti after the devastating earthquake. In 2016 Unity partnered with affiliates to send publications to Argentina, where the country’s rainy October and November season brought destructive, torrential downpours.
Unity study groups were started in the 1900s in countries that had been visited by English-speaking Unity students, including Australia, New Zealand, and England, according to a 2000 brochure, A World of Unity. In that same period, students from other countries who took Unity correspondence courses would visit the headquarters at Unity Village, Missouri, including those from Russia and Mexico.
It was 1933 when Rev. Augustine C. Njoku founded the Unity Movement in Biafra, Nigeria, taking up what Peter Nwankwo Kalu had begun years earlier, states A World of Unity. Nwankwo, known as “Rock of Ages,” had operated a healing ministry out of his Amaokwe Item, Nigeria, home years earlier. Today, the Unity presence in Nigeria represents the largest in any country outside the U.S.
The 1960s proved a busy time for international expansion of Unity. The Department of World Unity was formed in 1967 to work with Unity ministries in other countries, and many affiliates were started.
In 1963 a young Englishman named Dennis Robinson founded Unity churches in Port of Spain and San Fernando in Trinidad and Tobago. It was also 1963 when a Unity study group was begun in the Dominican Republic. Then Unity established its first official center in Jamaica, Unity of Jamaica in Kingston, in November 1965.
For more than 50 years, Stichting Unity-Nederland has been translating and distributing Daily Word® for Dutch-speaking people (the Netherlands, Belgium, Suriname, and the Netherland Antilles).
Daily Word is also published in French, German, Portuguese, and Spanish, and is distributed throughout the world.
In 1998 Rev. Rhonda Joy Gola was appointed by Unity International to be the spiritual leader for Unity School of Christianity and director of Silent Unity in New Zealand. Unity ministries can be found throughout Europe, including Portugal and the United Kingdom, as well as Australia.
Unity has an enthusiastic movement in Georgetown, Guyana. Unity ministries are also present in Colombia, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, Peru, and Ecuador.
In the Middle East, Unity at one time had a presence in United Arab Emirates, with a study group in Abu Dhabi where approximately 70 students gathered to study Truth materials.
In Mexico, Unity has affiliates in three of its largest cities—Monterrey, Guadalajara, and Mexico City.
Silent Unity, available in English, French, German, and Spanish, has affiliates in Argentina, Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, United Kingdom, Germany, Ghana, Guyana, Jamaica, Mexico, New Zealand, Nigeria, and Trinidad.
Unity held its first World Conference in 1995 on the grounds of the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, England. More than 700 people from 38 countries attended. In 1997, Silent Unity opened its telephone ministry lines for Spanish-speaking callers. The following year, Unity directed its World Conference in Acapulco, Mexico.