Eric Butterworth was a leading figure in the Unity movement, known for his gift of rendering complex metaphysical teachings into simple statements of awareness. Born on September 12, 1916, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, he was raised in Southern California by his mother, a Unity minister. Butterworth grew up with the philosophies of New Thought, initially drawn from the writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson and sanctions an individual approach to spiritual awareness.

Butterworth established Unity ministries in several cities, including Pittsburgh, Detroit, and New York City. Detroit Unity Temple became the largest Unity church in the world while he was serving there, with more than 2,000 people attending his Sunday services each week. In 1961, Butterworth began four decades of ministry in New York City, where he lectured each Sunday at such prestigious venues as Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, and finally Avery Fisher Hall, where the weekly attendance grew to several thousand.

The Impact of Eric Butterworth’s Teachings

Butterworth was a gifted theologian, philosopher, and lecturer who authored 16 best-selling books on spirituality, including Discover the Power Within You and Spiritual Economics. His powerful message inspired hundreds of thousands of people from various religious backgrounds. Oprah Winfrey praised Discover the Power Within You as a book that changed her view of life and religion, and Dr. Maya Angelou called Butterworth her “teacher.” He was the first Unity minister to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and his teachings continue to impact people around the world today.

Butterworth focused on the divinity of all people, and his desire was that everyone would know their oneness with God. His message emphasized the power of positive thinking and the importance of utilizing universal law to manifest prosperity, healing, and all good things.

Remembering Eric Butterworth

Eric Butterworth made his transition April 17, 2003, at the age of 86, leaving a legacy of practical mysticism, metaphysical teachings, and positive thinking. Olga, his wife, delivered the last sermon he wrote on Easter Sunday, just days before his passing.

Eric Butterworth’s life was dedicated to spreading the message of personal renewal through changes in attitude. He remains a historic leader in the Unity movement, and his contributions to the field of metaphysical teachings have had a profound impact on spiritual seekers around the world.

To explore his many books, read the article “Where to Start with Butterworth.”

About the Author

Sara Crawford is a digital content specialist at Unity World Headquarters. She is also a playwright and the author of Time After Time as well as The Muse Chronicles trilogy. For more information, please see

Sara Crawford


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