“I am victorious!”
Unity minister Maxine Martin always answers the phone in the same cheery manner. A simple “hello” will not suffice. Her words are a bold statement of her virtues. Her joyful countenance speaks volumes, even as she pauses between thoughts.
Maxine is in love with life, God and Unity. This love, coupled with support from her family, has sustained her since childhood. “Growing up, I remember reading Wee Wisdom® and Daily Word®. The booklets were given to me quite often as a child. I always thought the covers were so beautiful,” Maxine recalled.
Unity established its first official center in Jamaica, Unity of Jamaica in Kingston, in November 1965. Maxine first came to the center in 1973. “I never realized the same Daily Word and Wee Wisdom given to me as a child were published by Unity. So right away, I knew I was home,” Maxine said. “I wanted to go further with my spirituality. Something brings us to Unity. Once you discover the teachings of Unity, how can you reverse? I’m on a mission on the Lord’s road. I have not looked back.”
Maxine brought an outpouring of love, along with unwavering service and dedication, to the people at Unity of Jamaica and beyond. She joined the choir, became a Sunday school teacher, presented adult classes on divine law, decorated, swept the floors and helped out wherever else she was needed. But Maxine was unsure at first about answering the call when the center was in need of a minister.
“I was looking at everyone else and I used every excuse in the book. But God had a plan for my life that seems to have been in place since childhood,” she said. “As early as 6 years old, I would arrive home from church and start my own service. My grandfather called me ‛Reverend’ Martin. So my becoming a minister was already in the making. I didn’t become aware of it until I connected with my God Presence and developed closeness with the Omnipresent. There were many challenges when I took over, but I knew it in my soul that this was what I was born to do.”
Maxine became a Unity minister in 1998. She continues to lead Unity of Jamaica in Kingston and also assists Unity Faith Center in Montego Bay. “Unity is very strong here. We still publish Daily Word. We believe in the light and love in all of us,” she said. “No matter what, we share that love with others, and accept everyone for who they are … children of God. We embrace everyone. Everyone is welcome in our center. We assist in changing lives; this makes an awesome difference when the people who come to us show they are changing and healing.
“Music is very much a part of our services. Jamaicans are said to be the happiest people on Earth. So music is an expression of our joy; we’re truly happy. We’re not sanctimonious; we laugh and sing from the depth of our beings,” Maxine added. “I thank God for Unity … allowing us to have this experience and expression. Even though there are challenges, we are overcomers. We emulate Myrtle and Charles Fillmore, our founders.”
Unity of Jamaica in Kingston is known throughout the community for its accepting and creative environment. Under her guidance, the center offers a food bank and other programs for the needy. This social outreach does not end at the doors. Maxine’s care team brings her program directly to people in need—wherever they may be. “It’s not just about our members,” she explained, “for we are all members of one family.”
The center also boasts a musical band made up of young men, some of whom grew up in an orphanage. They must leave the facility at age 18. The center’s musical director introduces some of these boys to the band. “This is also a part of our outreach … their music is ethereal, moving, sweet and captivating,” Maxine said.
Maxine is a true example of harmony in life and song. “My story is really more of an inner story of invincible light. It’s about truth and a love that looks beyond the physical and all other appearances,” she said. “I am an extremely forgiving person who holds no grudges. We all have wounds, but the scars don’t hurt us after they heal.”
And with this, Maxine begins to sing. The sound is as natural as a waterfall.
“I sing because I’m happy …”
“I sing because I’m free …”
“His eye is on the sparrow …”
“I know He watches over me.”
Maxine will join others in song and prayer during Silent Unity of Jamaica’s observance of World Day of Prayer on September 13, 2012. The day will begin with a sunrise prayer meeting, followed by a twilight vigil and prayer services throughout the evening. The doors of Unity of Jamaica will be open for all to participate. “Unity is like an oasis where people can drink and be filled,” Maxine said. “We might not see them for a while until they’re thirsty again, but isn’t that what an oasis is for?”