Treasures of the Archives

Rev. Catherine Brooks, a Pioneering Spirit in Unity

Rev. Catherine Brooks

When the founder of Unity Temple of Truth set out to pioneer a church that focused on the spiritual needs of African-Americans, she understood it was hers to follow the guidance of Spirit.

It was hers to tap in to the inner wisdom that said, Catherine Brooks, you have been called to serve as a Unity minister; there are people who are hungry and need to be fed. You possess the spiritual resources to feed them as only you can.

In the 1940s Catherine Brooks was part of a Unity study group in St. Petersburg, Florida, with people who would play key roles in supporting her spiritual vision.

It Works If You Work It: The Legacy of Rev. Johnnie Colemon

Rev. Johnnie Colemon

I was still fairly new to the Unity teachings. There was so much to learn. Some of the teachings left me with more questions. Not just “how to” questions—it was the “why” questions that often left me uncertain whether Unity or New Thought teachings were for me.

That is, until the day I heard a guest speaker at what was then the Church of Today in Warren, Michigan, under the leadership of Jack Boland. The Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon arrived in a limousine. She walked in proudly, self-assured, elegant, and confident.

The Fillmore Christmas

Unity founders Charles and Myrtle Fillmore understood Christmas as a season of great joy and expectancy but also viewed it as a time for inner celebration when the Christ is born in human hearts.

“The Divine Man, which Jesus brought forth, must be born into the consciousness of the Higher Self, or the Birth of Christ,” Charles Fillmore wrote in “Christmas,” published in the December 1919 issue of Unity magazine.

In the tradition of the season, the Fillmores enjoyed exchanging gifts and spending time with family and friends. They also saw Christmas more in metaphysical terms—beyond the physical birth of Jesus.

Cora Dedrick Fillmore

Cora Dedrick, born December 15, 1876, was ordained a Unity minister in 1918 and married Unity cofounder Charles Fillmore in 1933. She contributed extensively to Unity thought with authored pieces. However, her diligent compilation of Charles Fillmore’s private papers may be her most notable contribution to Unity history.

Most of the handwritten letters, lecture notes, and even Charles’ informal scribblings that are now organized and housed at the Unity Archives at Unity Village came from Cora Fillmore. It was from these papers that Cora compiled Keep a True Lent and Atom-Smashing Power of Mind, two of Charles Fillmore’s most important literary contributions.

Unity and Advent: Looking Inward

Unity has historically viewed the season of Advent as an inner search of mind and heart.

Cofounder Charles Fillmore spoke of Unity and Advent in a January 24, 1923, radio broadcast called “Christ Mind, the Second Coming of Christ.” He shared his thoughts on his understanding that “Christ is an idea in divine mind,” and highlighted the universality of the Christ, the divine essence that dwells in every human being.

“Like the idea of mathematics or music or any of the exact sciences, there is an idea of a perfect Christ in divine mind,” he told the (Unity station) WOQ audience.

Myrtle Fillmore and Gratitude

Unity cofounder Myrtle Fillmore called gratitude and thanksgiving “qualities of the soul.” The practice of thanksgiving, she said, should be observed in the home every day of the year, not just on the national holiday.

“Heaven and earth listen and respond to the soul that is quickened into praise and thanksgiving,” she said. “Praise is gratitude in action.”

The quote comes from How to Let God Help You, a book by Myrtle Fillmore published posthumously in 1956. (She transitioned 25 years earlier.) In the preface, Warren Meyer said he pulled from Myrtle’s letters, Unity columns, and her lectures to create the collection of Myrtle’s teachings. One chapter is titled “Thanksgiving.”

The Sons of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore

Unity founders Charles and Myrtle Fillmore had three sons—Lowell Page, Waldo Rickert, and John Royal. Each would become known for his unique skills, personality, and contributions to the movement during his years of service.

Lowell was the oldest, born in Pueblo, Colorado, on January 4, 1882; Waldo, known as Rickert or Rick, was born June 1, 1884, also in Pueblo; and, John Royal, known as Royal, was born July 16, 1889 in Kansas City, Missouri.


Tracking Time: The Unity Calendars

Unity has become known for its beautiful and inspirational calendars since the first one was published in 1920.

While always carrying positive messages, the Unity calendars through the years would vary in size, design, themes, and languages—and also functionality. There have been pocket-size calendars, special calendars inside Daily Word® and La Palabra Diaria, calendars with no dates, and desk calendars that included room for personal notes like a personal prayer list and special occasions.

Rev. Joyce Kramer and the Fillmore Festival

The Fillmore Festival, an annual gathering of premier Unity scholars first held in California in 1967, has played a critical role in the Unity movement and its history. So has Rev. Joyce Kramer, a formidable Unity trailblazer who’s led the festival for the past 25 years.

This year marks a 50th anniversary and a pivotal year for the festival as Kramer hands over the reins to Unity World Headquarters (UWH), which will start hosting the annual event at Unity Village.

Kramer first took over the festival 25 years ago from Sue Sikking, who organized the first one in April 1967 in Santa Monica, California.

The History of Unity World Day of Prayer

The idea for a World Day of Prayer was born out of a class assignment given to ministerial students at Unity Village in 1993. Rev. Earl Anderson asked his Prayer and Meditation class students to bring everyone together at one place on campus for the intention of united prayer.

Unity students and employees indeed gathered for what the students called a “World Day of Prayer.” The group joined hands as they stood around the central courtyard fountain and prayed together.