By Rev. Tom Thorpe
April 13, 2020
To those spiritual leaders who claim that God protects them and their congregations from exposure to the virus that causes COVID-19 when they’re worshiping in live gatherings, I say “Your understanding of God is very different from mine.”
While there are situations where some kind of exposure can’t be avoided—medical office visits, grocery stores, and other essential shopping—spiritual practice does not require us to be present in a building or to congregate in-person with others. A church service, at least a live, in-person meeting, is not an “essential activity.” Our online meetings and telephone contacts between members of our Unity of Independence ministry, and the work of countless ministries throughout our country and the world demonstrate that communities can continue to function, and even become stronger, during this unique time.
I have a serious concern about safety for anyone who attends any sort of public meeting, even if fewer than 10 people are present. Remember, at every meeting, every person attending is exposed not only to whatever the others attending be carrying, but also to whatever everyone each of those others has been exposed to from their families and anyone else with whom they may have been in contact. AND THEN, those who were present at the meeting go to their homes and expose everyone there to whatever they were exposed to at the meeting. We know the coronavirus remains on surfaces, even supermarket floors, long after a person carrying it has passed by.
And so, for this reason, I DISAGREE, IN THE STRONGEST POSSIBLE TERMS, WITH THE ACTIONS OF ANY AND ALL SPIRITUAL LEADERS WHO INSIST ON HOLDING LIVE, IN-PERSON MEETINGS DURING THIS TIME WHEN EVERYONE IS BEING URGED TO STAY HOME. I pray affirming forgiveness for their insensitive response to the needs of their communities, and I bless those who may become sick or even die because of contagion spread by their actions. To affirm wholeness is not only to affirm divine life always present. To affirm wholeness is also to cooperate in thought, word, and DEED with divine life, love, and wisdom.
I cannot expect to enjoy perfect health when I deprive my body of the rest, exercise, or proper nutrition it requires. If I insist on smoking cigarettes, it's unreasonable for me to be surprised if I contract a respiratory illness. The illness affects the quality of my life, certainly, and it also affects the quality of life of everyone who cares about me.
I cannot expect to enjoy safety and protection when I behave in an unsafe manner. If I drive impaired and cause an accident where people suffer injuries, I, the people whom my actions injured, and all the people who care about each one of us suffer because of my irresponsibility.
If I insist on holding gatherings, even small gatherings, while my community is being advised or required to avoid such gatherings because of contagion, my action could impact the lives of many people beyond the number who attended, even if no one at the gathering was showing any symptoms of disease.
Especially as COVID-19 remains a presence in our communities, ignorance of, reckless insensitivity to, or callous disregard for the physical safety, of oneself, certainly, but most importantly, of others, some of whom may be very vulnerable, is no virtue as I see it.
Our churches are spiritual communities; they are not buildings. I pray affirming that we all find joy in discovering how beautifully our spiritual communities can remain strong and even grow during this time when we must remain physically separated.
Welcome to Unity of Independence!
Please plan to be part of our services—either online or from any telephone!
You can be part of Unity of Independence's events without leaving your home. Even if you don't have a computer, you can hear the events by telephone.
Below, you'll find instructions for joining our events by telephone (recommended if you aren't comfortable working with a computer), and through Zoom, the online conferencing service we're using.
Please remember, also, that our operating expenses continue even while we are unable to hold services in our church building. Your tithes and offerings, by mail (Unity of Independence, 14304 E 39th St, Independence MO 64055) or PayPal, are very much appreciated.
We pray affirming inspiring worship experiences, meaningful prayer services, and supportive groups, and we pray affirming you'll be part of it.
Revs. Warren Teachout and David Adams and your Unity of Independence Board and Staff
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We are a thriving community of people who are “spiritual, but not religious." We are a welcoming community, and we honor all of the many paths to God. We honor the divine in ALL people, of all different beliefs and lifestyles. Our sanctuary is wheelchair accessible, and we do everything possible to accommodate those with disabilities. No matter who you are, or where you are on your spiritual journey – you are welcome in our community!
November 29, 2020, 10 a.m. (CT)
“The ‘I’ in Faith” by Rev. David Adams
In The Practice of the Presence Of God, 17th century French monk Brother Lawrence writes “Faith grows more alive and active in all the events of life.” As we enter into this extraordinary season of Advent 2020, let us reflect on that in which we truly place our faith. Let us focus on the many ways we might allow the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1) to be a greater guiding force in our personal lives. Let us discover a faith that is truly alive within us—and let that light of faith be a beacon this holiday season!
Music by Mark Allen Gossman
4:30 p.m. (CT)
Metaphysical Study Group
A Course in Miracles
Daily, Monday-Saturday, 8-8:45 a.m. (CT), led by Rev. Lesley Miller. See calendar for Zoom instructions.
Led by Rev. Eleanor Fleming
Tuesday, 3-4 p.m. (CT), meeting by Zoom. See calendar for instructions.
Unity Prayer Service
Thursday, 3-4 p.m. (CT), meeting by Zoom. See calendar for instructions.