Meet Rev. Prentiss John Davis — Unity Minister from Detroit and now serving as Minister of Unity of Ocala. I met him at last week's meeting (September 2016) of the IAMU — Independent Alliance of Ministers in Unity — held in Kansas City, where he was a keynote speaker.
What is remarkable about Rev. Prentiss is that he, like so many other ministers in Unity, can't help but serve — serve their churches, serve the people in their churches, serve their community, serve their fellow ministers, serve the Unity movement and, most important, serve the call from God.
You see, throughout this hour interview Rev. Prentiss claims that he is "materialistic." But what comes through is a teddy-bear soul who is there giving everything when needed. You'll hear Rev. Prentiss declare that he's going to "raise a fuss." But then we see him going on and on declaring the good and expressing gratitude. The man can't help but express the best of Unity teaching.
Rev. Prentiss' story helps us see how a community enables one to become a good minister. We learn how he was spiritually guided by his Moorish Temple grandmother and faith-filled mother (clips 1 and 2). We learn about how a white minister and a black postman integrated Detroit Unity (clip 4). We learn how an AUC leader encouraged him to serve (clip 7). We learn how the Unity Urban Ministerial School provided an opportunity for him to obtain ministerial training (clip 8). We learn how an African-American Unity church embraced him as a newly ordained minister (clip 11). And we learn how Ruth Mosley and others at the Unity Urban Ministerial School picked him up and filled him with confidence and hope when he wanted to quit (clip 15).
And his story shows us what happens when someone is trained by community to become a good minister — one "serves from the heart." Serving from the heart is "Urban Ministry" (clip 16). Serving from the heart is a white man in a pick-up truck pulling up to wash feet of homeless people and passing out clean socks (clip 18). Serving from the heart is helping troubled soldiers know that they are more than their war-time experience (clip 25). Serving from the heart is opening conversations on race in America (clip 26), letting go of conversations that go the wrong way (clip 29) and continuing the quest for understanding (clip 30) — in our communities, our nation and in our Unity movement.
Finally, we learn from Rev. Prentiss' story about the pride one has when a minister confidently follows the call to serve. Although his mother never saw him become a minister, she saw and declared the Spirit that shines through him two days before her transition (clips 2 and 23). He comes alive when sharing that his little sister wants to become a Licensed Unity Teacher (clip 24). He eloquently defines what Unity is all about (clip 21) and he glows when describing the transformation of one of his congregants (clip 22). His ministry, like his life, has purpose and pride.
A short biography of Rev. Prentiss John Davis is shown below. Many of his accomplishments never came out in the interview, such as his work with the NAACP and his work as a hospice chaplain. He's a modest guy. Off camera, he talked time and again about his family and grandkids. I forgot to ask Prentiss what is his "grandfather name", but the kids must love him dearly. If you listen to his story, you will too. So watch and listen, start to finish, and draw the inspiration I and others received from him at last week's conference.
Rev. Prentiss John Davis was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan, where he was introduced to Unity in 1962.
His education includes graduations from Wayne County Community College, University of Wisconsin, Unity Urban Ministerial School, and Unity Institute. He was Licensed and Ordained in 2004 and served as the Minister at Saint Petersburg’s Unity Temple of Truth Church for 7½ years.
Rev. Davis has enjoyed serving on a number of committees that address the quality of life for the human race, including higher educational achievement for minority students; a number of multi-religious organizations; and the rights of returning veterans. He’s the past chair of the NAACP’s Political Action Committee and has performed as Chaplain for the Hospice of the Florida Suncoast and hospitals in St. Petersburg, Florida. He enjoys marriage and being a grandfather of five.