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Edwene Gaines

Lessons from Edwene Gaines

Hi Friends —

What I have to offer on this page is an hour-long interview with Edwene Gaines, Unity minister, best-selling author and beloved guide and mentor to thousands. Click through to watch the intevew and read the transcript, see photos and have links to other resources.

Edwene Gaines is a native Texan who, before being ordained as a Unity Minister in 1979, graduated from the University of Houston; served public schools in Texas and Florida as a teacher, curriculum editor and community relations coordinator; became a newspaper reporter and photographer in Conroe, Texas; and eventually opened her own public relations business and began motivational speaking.

But what she really wanted to do, as you will soon learn in this interview, is to help people become fulfilled and happy. There are two clips in the interview when Edwene appears to puddle up—describing the pride her father had in her success and describing the pride she has in the success of her students. What she received from her father and what she conveys to her students is a deep sense of joy and pride in the extraordinary accomplishment of others. She is, by far, the most outwardly focused Unity minister I know. We have much to learn from her. Here are three things.


Edwene Gaines Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity

Edwene Gaines How to Become Debt Free: Forgive

Many of you know Edwene as a Penguin Random House best-selling author of The Four Spiritual Laws of Prosperity. She has a new book, How to Become Debt-Free: FORGIVE!. While you might sense this is a prosperity book, it is really prosperity at a deeper level. It’s not Edwene’s “5th spiritual law of prosperity.” Instead, it is the way we can take her four spiritual laws further in life. It is the equivalent to Catherine Ponder’s Prosperity Law of Increase—that which makes us a “full fledged prosperity thinker.”

How so? This book is about releasing old patterns of guilt, shame, anger, and blame. This book is about what makes the spiritual practice a joy. This book is about the wisdom learned from a lifetime of study and spiritual practice. When you order your copy, do yourself and others a favor—order two copies. You will, like me, know someone who deeply needs Edwene’s wisdom.

Centers of Practice

Edwene Gaines Workshop venue Rock Ridge Alabama

Much of our interview focused on Edwene’s transition out of pulpit ministry into workshop ministry. What you may not see is that, for Edwene, ministry is more a “center of practice” than it is a “faith community.” Typical churches are communities which gather on Sunday to worship. Centers of practice are places where people come to learn and practice a spiritual teaching.

Without clearly explaining what they were, the Fillmores encouraged the founding of “centers.” These were gatherings, held at times on Sunday morning, but more typically Sunday afternoon and evenings when Fillmore teachings were presented and applied. They were not churches, but centers of practice.

This is Edwene’s model. But by the time Edwene studied for ministry, Unity had become entirely focused on faith communities. The shift from center of practice to faith community has taken its toll in Unity churches. The worship focus has relinquished the center of practice to many non-Unity pathways. The fact is that a Unity church today has become a variety show for every imaginable pathway, except Fillmore teaching.

So Edwene had to set up her own center, which operated for many years in Valley Head, Alabama. Her Edwene Gaines Seminars held there have been extremely successful and hundreds, perhaps thousands, attended and rave about their impact. What we can learn from Edwene’s story is how centers of practice can flourish today, given the right skills and consciousness of the minister, but also given the proper support and focus by Unity Worldwide Ministries. Which leads me to how Edwene’s work models a new way of hybrid ministry.

Hybrid Ministry

Edwene Gaines Teaching Unity Baton Rouge

Edwene has closed her facility in Alabama and moved to Baton Rouge to be closer to family. She is, as you will see in one of the clips, a proud grandmother. But, most important, and immensely inspiring, is her presence at Unity of Baton Rouge, led by Rev. Lura Lisa Wall. Edwene is there nearly every Sunday. She offers classes onsite and has learned how to use Zoom for online activity.

If you subscribe to the church email list, you will see how two capable, collegial, and Spirit led ministers provide for the spiritual needs of an onsite and online community, one as Senior minister and the other as a wise teacher, speaker and prayer presence. Unity of Baton Rouge is a fully functioning faith community and center of practice, both onsite and online, operating in perfect harmony.

Sometimes I wish all those Unity ministers who are retired in Florida would return home to their former faith communities and open a center of practice in a collegial and supportive way at the church they once served. I don’t know if it’s possible, but I do believe it is a way forward for our brick and mortar congregations to serve in new ways. If they do, I will promote them as much as possible on the Events page of TruthUnity.

Edwene Gaines in her Merry Miler This is not the first time Unity of Baton Rouge has been a home for experienced and independent ministers. Many years ago, Marge Kass landed at the church after a career in her Merry Miler, launching study groups throughout the South and offering workshops nationwide. She passed on in 2013, at 92. I have always been moved by the way members of the church visited and supported her in her later years. The people at Unity of Baton Rouge are, like Marge Kass, Edwene Gaines and Lura Lisa Wall, outwardly focused on the needs of others. And God blesses them accordingly.

Excellence and Accomplishment

Edwene is also a Certified Firewalking Instructor and she facilitates the Firewalking Ceremony several times each year. Edwene has served as a member of the International New Thought Alliance Executive Board. In 2006 she was honored by the International New Thought Alliance with the Torchbearer for New Thought Award. That same year she was also honored by Unity Worldwide Ministries with the Light of God Expressing award at their annual conference. She is committed to power, passion, prosperity, and performance. In 2014, she was honored by Emerson Theological seminary with an honorary doctor of divinity degree. Visit Edwene’s website, Prosperity Products.

Mark Hicks
Sunday, June 2, 2024

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