The following is from the October 2006 Daily Word©.
By Rev. Gregory Guice
As an African-American visiting Nigeria, I felt as if I were returning to my roots. As a Unity minister, I would be learning firsthand about the Unity movement in Nigeria. The movement that Charles and Myrtle Fillmore founded in Missouri in the 1890s had been introduced in Africa in the 1920s and had grown to more than 60 Unity churches.
I didn't know what to expect when I got off the plane in Lagos, Nigeria, a city of about twelve million people. Even though I didn't personally know anyone who lived in Lagos, I was welcomed like a long-lost brother by Unity minister Rev. Elizabeth Oyebode and a host of other Nigerians.
The next day, I boarded a plane for Port Harcourt. I spent the next week attending the Unity Harvest Retreat at a center in Rivers State of Nigeria.
Each morning about fifty of us in attendance awoke at 6 o'clock and jogged to a village about a mile away—singing and clapping our hands along the way. The sun rose as we entered the village each morning. After singing a few more songs, we jogged back to the retreat center and spent time in meditation.
At the conference, we joined in discussions related to Unity principles. We searched scriptures and talked about their metaphysical meanings. One of the unique discussions centered around the challenges that Juju presented. Juju is a belief in magic associated with fetishes, charms, or amulets. Many of the people of the villages were trying to make a transition from a Juju-based belief to a Christian-based belief. One woman at the conference asked us ministers: "What do I tell my brother who believes in Juju and was told by his Juju doctor that his children are evil? This doctor told my brother that unless he either separates from his children or buys jujus from him, my brother will be cursed!"
As Unity ministers, we shared our belief system. Knowing how entrenched that concept of Juju was in her village, we explained that we are each and every one a creation of God and, therefore, we are divine in nature. Because of the divinity of each person, no person has the power to place a curse on another!
The thought of the children being evil had been placed in her brother's mind by the Juju doctor, but her brother did not have to accept this error thought. I explained to her after the meeting: "God's presence is within your brother and his children. As they begin to realize that the divinity, power, and presence of God are within them, they will collectively bring out the quality of God's greatness." We shared the "Prayer for Protection," affirming that only good would come to them.
As I traveled throughout Nigeria and visited several Unity churches, I discovered that despite the many challenges faced by the people I met, their faith and love for God and the Unity message carried them above their challenges. When these faith-filled people greeted me, I was aware only of their love.
One day I was traveling in a car along a road full of potholes when children ran to meet me. They walked in front of the car, playing trumpets and drums, escorting the car to the village. The whole community was waiting outside the church. When I stepped out of the car, their cheers rang in the air. I
[pages 10 and 11 are missing. I will add the text from these pages on my next visit to Unity Archives.]
tipns of villagers had kept that path clear as a reminder of the sons and daughters who had been lost to Africa. I understood why they welcomed me as a son who had returned home.
During my time in Africa, I learned the positive impact that Unity principles have had in Afriea—principles of a God of love and of the sacredness of each and every person. I know this message of truth is shared wherever people recognize the presence of God in all and as being expressed by all. This is a truth that is uniting the people of the world in faith and love.
Rev. Gregory Guice is cominister (now Senior Minister) of Detroit Unity Temple in Michigan. Rev. Guice wishes to thank Rev. Lisa Davis and Helen Evwaraye, and the Building Bridges program at the Unity Church of Dayton, Ohio, who funded and organized his tour to Nigeria along with Unity Christ Church, Fort Wayne, Indiana. Special thanks also to Silent Unity Church of Port Harcourt, Senior Revs. Dr. Amos Kalu and Okon Ebong, and Rev Guice's guide and travel companion, Akin.