There is much for your eyes to appreciate when walking around Unity Village—beautiful Mediterranean architecture, lovely and varied landscaping, picturesque fountains, and more. But plenty of smaller treasures await discovery if you know where to look.
One such piece of Unity history is a 10-foot stained-glass panel currently hanging above the main entrance to the Activities Center. The framed rectangular piece says simply, “Let each teach Unity” in gold letters on variegated purple glass. It serves as a reminder to all who exit the building’s lobby to take Unity teachings out into the world they’re returning to.
The sign originally hung at the first Unity headquarters at Ninth and Tracy streets in Kansas City, Missouri. It was displayed in a front window with an electric bulb behind it to illuminate the message for passersby. Today that building is home to the Unity Church Universal congregation, and the sign is home again at Unity Village.
While the circumstances around the sign’s creation remain a mystery, the piece is estimated to be more than 70 years old and is one of the few remaining items preserved from the building as it was originally used (for Sunday services, ministerial classes, and other events) after the building’s dedication in 1906. There is no question the sign has an interesting—if unknown—origin story, but when it was removed from Ninth and Tracy, its story got even more intriguing.
When the school moved out of the building, the sign was forgotten. Some 30 years later, it was spotted in a local shop by Barbara Cook, wife of Rev. Tim Cook, then a Unity ministerial student (and chair of the minister-in-training gifts committee). He suggested his ministerial class purchase and restore it as a gift to the school, and the class enthusiastically agreed.
JoAnn Meierhoff, who owned the stained-glass shop where Cook spotted the sign, had bought it for the shop at some point after the school’s move to Unity Village but had kept it there rather than selling it, due to her own personal affiliation with Unity. When she spoke at the 1982 presentation ceremony, she referred to herself as the “custodian of the vibrations of the window,” as Unity Village News reported. During the event, the sign was handed over to Charles R. Fillmore, grandson of Unity founders Myrtle Fillmore and Charles Fillmore.
Since then, the sign has been permanently affixed to the window above the Activities Center doors in a spot that, whether by chance or by grand design, was a perfect fit for it. When the Activities Center is rebuilt—a project set to begin this year—the sign will have a new home, yet to be determined, in the new space. Hopefully it will inspire many future generations of visitors to each teach Unity wherever their journeys may take them.
This article appeared in Unity Magazine®.