Hi Friends —
The 2018 People's Convention Business Meeting opened with high drama this year. Although the video clip doesn't show it, Richard Bunch had just said that “he was told to stay on script and that he would get to it in a minute.” Richard then makes an appeal to members for $7,500 for Unity in Nigeria. The video shows the Parliamentarian sitting to his right, hand on forehead, possibly thinking “What are they doing now?”
Twenty minutes later, Unity had raised $35,000, the COO/CFO of Unity Worldwide Ministries had acquired the nickname Bubba Bruce and Edwene Gaines had delivered a powerful prosperity message. You can watch the 20-minute clip here and you can watch the entire meeting on Facebook.
Edwene's prosperity lesson is that “people give when there is a vision.” She's right of course, but the vision in this case is special. It's about the Nigerians. I want to share with you some things I have come to learn about our brothers and sisters in Nigeria because we have much to learn from them.
Click on over to the Nigeria gallery on TruthUnity and you'll find many special resources. The latest one is by Rev. Divine Hart Ihegwu, who wrote a book in 2011 called Positive Change in Nigeria: The Way Forward. His book was part of a campaign to change the political climate in Nigeria and the slogan of that campaign is
“To Make Nigeria Great Again, change must begin with me.”
Does that slogan sound familiar to those of us in the United States? Is it possible that our current American president somehow borrowed the first half of Rev. Divine Hart's slogan but forgot about the second half? More important, could it be that his slogan and the book from which it came — which mixes Unity teachings, good government, personal responsibility, and institutional change — could guide Unity in the United States to serve in ways that help Americans overcome our own political paralysis?
Another place to visit is Building Bridges: A Worldwide Sister Ministries Program. There you will see Rev. Lisa Davis with Rev. Amos Kalu, who leads Silent Unity in Nigeria and you will find out more about how we can support education of young women in Nigeria.
Here I was last week atop the Unity Tower, where I ran into Helen Wilcox-Evwareye, a Nigerian who is presently a professor teaching in Dayton, Ohio and Nicky Cleopas Emotimi, a young woman who hopes one day to become a Unity minister. What you don't know is that last Fall Emotimi was a student at the Unity Urban Ministerial School. We setup an experimental learning management system based on Moodle so that Nigerians and South Africans could take the course using only a smart phone. Emotimi was my student in History of New Thought and Unity. Here is some of what she shared about herself in our online forum:
“On one faithful Sunday afternoon in May 1995, I visited a Silent Unity Prayer Meeting in Port Harcourt on the invitation of a senior friend (he is a Unity minister now) and that visit changed my life! It was like wa.. oh this is new! This is my ‘last bus stop’ what struck me in that meeting and subsequent ones was the catchy phrases like ‘you are what you think you are’ and if you don’t like what you see in your life then change your thinking to change your world.”
Wouldn’t you like to see Emotimi become a Unity minister and know that she is helping others in Nigeria discover Unity as "the last bus stop"?
Finally, you may recognize this guy — Sr. Rev. Agbai Ompa Agwu — because he was at the People's Convention this year and several years past. He's part of the Unity leadership in Nigeria and he is a wonderful writer. This Lenten study guide is a wonderful seven-part publication that he has shared with all of us in Unity.
I first learned of Rev. Agbai's work from the Unity Archives, which has a collection of resources sent to us from Nigeria, dating back over seventy years. Agbai has a book entitled “Life Shall Be Our Banner.” I hope to have it republished in North America soon and for the full text to be available on the Internet.
Here is what all this tell us. Africa is young. Africa has tremendous undeveloped natural resources. Africa is entrepreneurial. Africa has huge urban centers, teeming with energy. Those who study global development tell us that in 20 years Africa will be the new China.
I believe that Africa is where we will find Practical Christianity emerge to be a predominant message of wholeness, empowerment and prosperity for the global community. Its bustling urban centers will be where urban ministry will be practiced and perfected in the 21st century.
So here's my point: Unity enthusiastically raised over $35,000 in less that 20 minutes because—as Edwene said—there is a vision. But that vison isn’t poverty. It's a vision of prosperity. The Nigerians, who long ago received the message of Unity through radio transmission, have come back to bless us with wisdom, life and inspiration.
Sunday, June 17, 2018