About Unity of Washington, DC

Unity of Washington, DC is a church center for spiritual growth and dynamic transformation, where people discover the joy of living, loving, and serving through the understanding and application of the Spiritual Principles of Truth. We hope you find inspiration and useful information at this site.

Our Vision

Unity of Washington, DC is a center for spiritual growth and dynamic transformation, where people discover the joy of living, loving and serving through the understanding and application of the Spiritual Principles of Truth.

Our Mission

The mission of Unity of Washington, DC is to create an environment for the building of spiritual consciousness and spiritual community. We seek to inspire individuals to awaken to the Truth about God and their own innate Divine Potential to live a God-Centered, healthy, happy, and prosperous life.

Prayer for Unity of Washington, DC

Unity of Washington, DC is a prosperous and dynamic center of love, peace, joy and truth. We are mighty to attract an abundance of good and to radiate that good to others. All of our needs are met in full and on time, with enough to share and to spare. We are overflowing with positive, prayerful, and loving people committed to the principles of Truth. We all serve for the Glory of God.

Our Core Values

We are committed to utilizing Spiritual Principles first and foremost in all of our endeavors, decisions and activities.

We believe in and rely upon the divine guidance, activity, authority, and leadership of the Holy Spirit.

We seek to honor and uphold the teachings of Jesus Christ as interpreted through a metaphysical understanding of life.

We seek to honor and uphold the Unity Principles and teachings.

We honor Prayer and Meditation as our direct connection to and with God.

We honor the Universal Oneness of one another in the spirit of Peace, Love and Harmony.

We are committed to serving this Ministry and one another, all for and to the Glory of God.

Reverend Sylvia E. Sumter

A True Student of TRUTH

Reverend Sylvia E. Sumter is currently the Senior Minister of Unity of Washington, DC. Prior to her tenure in Washington, DC, she served as the Chairperson of Communication Studies and Skills Department for the Unity School of Religious Studies, in Unity Village, Missouri. As a member of the faculty, she taught in the Ministerial Education Program and in the Continuing Education Program.

She was licensed as a Minister in 1986 and ordained as a Unity Minister in 1987 as a graduate of the Unity School of Christianity. She has also spoken and administered spiritual teachings to others through her work prior to, during and after ministerial school. Reverend Sumter's academic accomplishments include: a Masters of Education, a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and an Associate of Arts in Business Administration.

She is a natural, gifted teacher who spent the early part of her career as a professional counselor in institutes of higher learning. She served as the Director of Higher Education Opportunity Program at Onondaga Community College in Syracuse, NY. Prior to that experience, she served as the Assistant Director of the Higher Education Opportunity Program at Syracuse University.

The work she is doing in her life has had an extraordinary effect on so many here in Washington, DC and every place that she travels to speak and to teach. She has traveled extensively around the country conducting workshops and seminars, and has served as a guest speaker for many churches, institutions of higher learning, professional and business organizations.

One of her most notable characteristics is her dynamic and energetic speaking style, yet she has such an unassuming manner. Many people have told her that it feels as if she is speaking directly and exclusively to them. Through her work as a minister and professional counselor, she continues to teach and to help others expand their spiritual consciousness and vision by living in the awareness of God through prayer, meditation and practicing the principles of living life in Truth.

Reverend Sumter is also noted for her uncanny ability to take the most fundamental teachings and principles of spirituality, and many of life's experiences to develop her messages. Her call is to inspire individuals to transform their lives through an awareness of their innate divine potential.

She is a native of Brooklyn, New York, and she enjoys the game of golf and traveling.

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The Nature of the Unity Movement

Unity grew out of teachings based on the conviction that God is readily accessible to all people on the planet at all times. No matter what anyone's personal circumstances are — location, age, language, culture, religion, history — he or she can communicate with God directly and receive guidance from that personal connection.

Unity is a religious movement that began over a century ago. In the 1880's Charles and Myrtle Fillmore, co-founders of Unity, began to work with some new ideas that they had found about life. Charles had a withered leg; Myrtle had tuberculosis. But in a short time, Myrtle was healed and Charles' health was so much improved that other people, seeing the changes in them, were drawn to them to find out how they, too, could change.

The Fillmores had no thought of starting a new religion; they just wanted to help themselves and others who turned to them for help. In 1889 they began to publish a little magazine called Modern Thought, which a few years later they renamed Unity. In this magazine, they presented the ideas that had helped them heal themselves and find peace and strength. These ideas are simple. They are centered around two basic propositions:

One ~ God is Good.
Two ~ God is available, in fact, God is in you.

If God is good, God's will is good. It is impossible to believe that a good God — a God who is love and intelligence — could have made you in any other way except to be healthy, happy, prosperous, loved and loving, courageous and strong. If you are not healthy and happy, it can only be because you have separated yourself from God in mind — the only place you can separate yourself from God and God's good. You have only to reunite in mind with God, and your life is certain to be full and fulfilling. You do this best by getting still and realizing your oneness with God. Every thought, negative or positive, comes one at time to the door of your conscious mind; there you let it in or turn it away. To have a good life, you have to learn to say no to the negative thoughts which deny your oneness with god's good and say yes to the positive thoughts which affirm your oneness with God's good.

Perhaps this is an oversimplification of Unity teachings, but these are the essential elements.

Unity is not a proselytizing religion. We are happy to have you call yourself a Unity student and join a Unity group. But we are also happy when we can help you be a better Methodist, a better Catholic, a better whatever you are.

Unity began as an open-ended religion, and we pray it always will be. May we always be seekers after Truth rather than people who feel that they have found all the Truth and must form an exclusive little circle to preserve it.

Unity is the religion of the written word, and Unity School of Christianity is the organization that has carried that written word around the world. Unity has grown almost entirely because individuals who have been helped by its ideas have told others who need help about it. Unity has always been a warm and loving way of life, sensitive to people's needs, God-centered but human-hearted. This is Unity.

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UNITY FAQ's

Twenty Questions and Answers About Unity

(Click on the question to go to the answer)

  1. What is Unity?

  2. What are the basic tenets of the Unity teachings?

  3. Does Unity believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ?

  4. What are Unity's distinctive characteristics?

  5. What is the Association of Unity Churches?

  6. What is Unity School of Christianity?

  7. Who are Unity students?

  8. What is the relationship of Unity to other churches?

  9. Is there any connection between Unity and Unitarianism?

  10. Is Unity an offshoot of Christian Science?

  11. What is the place of the Bible in Unity?

  12. Does Unity practice baptism and communion?

  13. What is the significance of the blood of Jesus Christ?

  14. What about the Crucifixion?

  15. Does Unity accept the virgin birth?

  16. Does Unity look for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?

  17. How does Unity regard the Trinity?

  18. What does Unity teach about sin and salvation, heaven and hell?

  19. Does Unity believe in reincarnation?

  20. What are the advantages of attending Unity?

Twenty Questions and Answers about Unity
Published by the Association of Unity Churches - P.O. Box 610, Lee's Summit, Missouri 64063
Phone: (816) 524-7414 Fax: (816) 525-4020
www.unity.org

1. What is Unity?

Unity is positive, practical Christianity. It teaches the practical application in everyday life of Jesus Christ, as interpreted in the light of modern-day experience by Unity School of Christianity and the Association of Unity Churches. Unity is a way of life that leads to health, prosperity, happiness, and peace of mind. The Association of Unity Churches, in cooperation with Unity School of Christianity, has established centers of study and worship throughout the world where people study and practice the Unity way of life. We believe that all people are created with sacred worth. Therefore, we recognize the importance of serving all people within the Unity family in spiritually and emotionally caring ways.

We strive through our ministries, publications, and programs to reach out to all who seek Unity support and spiritual growth. It is imperative that our ministries and outreaches be free of discrimination on the basis of race, gender, age, creed, religion, national origin, ethnicity, physical disability or sexual orientation. Our sincere desire is to create spiritually aware organizations that are nondiscriminatory and that support diversity. In our effort to reach out to all people as did our Way-Shower, Jesus Christ, we support: the modification of our facilities to make them accessible to all people, regardless of physical challenges; the translation of our materials into Braille and other languages; and respect for the wonderful variety of human commitments and relationships.

We encourage ministries, teachers, and others within Unity to honor the strength of diversity within their spiritual communities. It is with love and in celebration of our unity, in the midst of our wondrous diversity, that we affirm this position.

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2. What are the basic tenets of the Unity teachings?

First:
God, Divine Mind, is the Source and Creator of all. There is no other enduring power. The nature of God is absolute good; therefore, all manifestations partake of good. What is called "evil" is a limited or incomplete expression of God or good. Evil's origin is ignorance.

Second:
We are spiritual beings, ideas in the Mind of God, created in God's image and likeness. The ideal expression for every human being is the pattern every person is seeking to bring forth. Each individual manifests the Christ in his or her own unique fashion. The perfect expression of the Christ is therefore, different for each person.

Third:
Jesus was a special person in history who expressed perfection and thereby became the Christ or Jesus Christ. He was a Teacher who demonstrated the importance of thoughts, words, and deeds in shaping the life and world of the individual.

Fourth:
Jesus' teaching was based on prayer, which to Him was conscious communion with God. Preparation for prayer involves the use of the spoken word, the creative power of God, which is made practical through denials and affirmations. Unity teaches that repeated use of statements of Truth (denials and affirmations) establishes right patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting. This is one way individuals use the creative power of God to take dominion over mind, body, and affairs.

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3. Does Unity believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ?

Yes, Unity teaches that the spirit of God dwelt in Jesus, just as it indwells every person; and that every person has the potential to express the perfection of Christ, as Jesus did, by being more Christ-like in everyday life.

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4. What are Unity's distinctive characteristics?

Unity students are encouraged to align with the spirit of the Christ within for personal guidance and direction that will best enhance their spiritual growth. The Unity ministry provides a safe and sacred space for study, participation, fellowship, support, transformation and awakening to the joy of living in God's world. Each Unity ministry is supported by the freewill offerings of those who share its vision. Unity affirms the freedom of each individual to advance spiritually according to his or her own level of understanding. Respect for and faith in the spirit of God in every person makes it unnecessary to set down fixed creeds or impose limiting beliefs. Each individual is encouraged to follow the Unity teachings in determining personal responses in his or her life.

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5. What is the Unity Association of Unity Churches?


The Association of Unity Churches is comprised of approximately 900 member ministries and satellite ministries on the North American Continent and Puerto Rico; through the International Services Department of Unity School there are approximately 100 international ministries informally affiliated with the Association of Unity Churches. Each ministry is under the leadership of a licensed or ordained Unity minister, or authorized spiritual leader. The emphasis in Unity organizations is on spiritual activities, such as worship, services, healing meetings prayer groups, counseling, study classes, and youth development, including Sunday school and programs for young people of all ages. Since acknowledging God's presence in each person is part of Unity's spiritual purpose, social functions are also an important part of Unity organizations.

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6. What is Unity School of Christianity?


Unity School is the world headquarters for the Unity movement founded by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore. After Myrtle Fillmore's remarkable healing utilizing prayer and affirmations, many who were seeking help became interested in how she accomplished this healing. From small prayer circles in living rooms, Unity grew. The first issue of Unity magazine was published in 1889. The teachings of the practice of prayer, through classes and correspondence, led to the establishment of Silent Unity, the Unity School for Religious Studies Continuing Education Program and Ministerial Education Program and Retreat programs. Through its threefold ministry of prayer, publishing, and education, Unity School serves millions of people in more than 150 countries. Unity School publishes inspirational magazines, books, audio- and videocassettes, CDs, and pamphlets for adults and children.

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7. Who are Unity students?


Unity students are those individuals who have found a deeper understanding of God, of themselves, and of their world through the practical methods presented in the Unity teachings. Often this has come about as a result of some very trying and seemingly hopeless experience. Unity students include many who are readers of the various publications; others attend Unity services and classes, finding in such attendance a spiritual "home" in which they are strengthened in their spiritual unfoldments. They are from all walks of life, and of all races, creeds, and nationalities.

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8. What is the relationship of Unity to other churches?


Unity puts into practice a true ecumenical approach. Unity sees itself as a vehicle for instruction, inspiration and prayer support for spiritual seekers, regardless of their religious affiliation. Rather than a denomination, locked in tight parameters that restrict, Unity views itself as an ever-expanding expression of love, light, and peace. Therefore, it freely shares its teachings with all churches. Unity believes in the oneness and freedom of all people. Emphasis is always on the similarities rather than the differences in the human spiritual expression.

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9. Is there any connection between Unity and Unitarianism?


No, there is no connection, although there is sometimes confusion because of the similarity of the names. Many beliefs are held in common, including the importance of individual freedom in the quest for Truth.

This very freedom, however, makes it difficult to determine the basic differences. In a very general way, it might be said that the two differ mainly in their beliefs regarding Jesus Christ and the Trinity. Unity places great emphasis on spiritual healing, while this is not practiced by Unitarians as a rule. In turn, Unitarians place great emphasis on social and political action.

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10. Is Unity an offshoot of Christian Science?


No. Unity and Christian Science, as well as many other New Thought groups, had their beginnings in the latter part of the nineteenth century. Many of the leaders in these groups studied under the same teachers. There are similarities in the teachings of Unity and Christian Science, including the importance of prayer, the practice of spiritual healing, and some fundamental theological points. Also, both have great publishing operations. However, the application of principles, the methods of teaching, and the organization of the two movements are quite different.

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11. What is the place of the Bible in Unity?


The Bible is Unity's basic textbook. It is accepted as a body of history, as a moral and ethical teaching, and as a great literary work. Beyond this, Unity finds deep significance in the Bible through its metaphysical interpretation, wherein names of places and people and their experiences symbolize the unfoldment of human consciousness. Through the study of Unity, the Bible is made more meaningful to individuals. Scripture comes alive when it is understood as a clear and helpful guide for today's experiences. The Bible reveals the spirit of Truth and the word of God. Holy Spirit, working individually through those who study scripture and listen within, is the final authority in spiritual awakening.

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12. Does Unity practice baptism and communion?


Yes, symbolically. Whereas baptism by water represents the cleansing of the consciousness, spiritual baptism signifies the inflow of the Holy Spirit. No person can truly baptize another. Baptism is a mental and spiritual process that takes place within the individual as he or she aligns with the spirit of God.

Spiritual communion takes place through prayer and meditation in the silence. The word of Truth is symbolized by the bread, of the body of Jesus Christ. The conscious realization of God-life is symbolized by the wine, or the blood of Jesus Christ, Unity practices communion by appropriating, or partaking of the spiritual energy represented by these elements.

In Unity services, ritual is de-emphasized as a general rule, so that full attention may be devoted to the teachings and their practical application.

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13. What is the significance of the blood of Jesus Christ?


The blood of Jesus Christ represents the spiritual energy of God-life that purifies or redeems the body through a cleansing and renewal of the consciousness by the spoken word. Regarding the "spilled blood," or the "ransom of many," the emphasis in Unity is not so much on the death of Jesus as on His life. He did not relieve us of the necessity of working out our own salvation, but His example and teachings show us the way.

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14. What about the Crucifixion?


Unity teaches that the cross symbolizes the crossing out of all false beliefs. Here again, emphasis is on life and living, through the resurrection rather than on the Crucifixion.

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15. Does Unity accept the virgin birth?


Unity accepts the virgin birth as an experience in the spiritual unfoldment of each individual. Thus the virgin birth is spiritually interpreted as the birth of the Christ consciousness (the awakening of the awareness of God's Spirit within) in the purified soul.

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16. Does Unity look for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?


Unity understands the Second Coming as the individual expression of the Christ consciousness. This is not an event to be anticipated in the future. It is happening here and now, through prayer, meditation, study and application.

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17. How does Unity regard the Trinity?


Unity interprets the religious terms Father, Son, and Holy Spirit metaphysically, as three aspects of mind action: mind, idea, and expression. This is the process through which all manifestation takes place.

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18. What does Unity teach about sin and salvation, heaven and hell?


Sin is our separation from God in consciousness, caused by our belief in the the "devil" or a power other than God, the good. This belief leads to our unwise use of our God-given powers and abilities. Salvation is now — not something that occurs after death. It happens whenever we turn our thoughts (repent) from fear, anxiety, worry, and doubt, to thoughts of love, harmony, joy, and peace. The "fall" takes place in consciousness whenever we fall into negative habits of thinking.

Heaven and hell are states of consciousness, not geographical locations. We make our own heaven or hell here and now by our thoughts, words and deeds.

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19. Does Unity believe in reincarnation?


Many Unity students accept that concept of reincarnation (re-embodiment after a period of soul rest). This allows us to attain new understandings in a new life experience, so that we can eventually express perfection and demonstrate eternal life. This is our ultimate goal. Unity's real emphasis is on regeneration, not reincarnation. When we achieve this goal, as Jesus did, it will no longer be necessary to reincarnate. The belief that we could ever be re-embodied into lower form of life is not accepted by Unity.

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20. What are the advantages of attending Unity?


To attend Unity is to be assured that one will be kept constantly in the remembrance of his or her own inner Christ potential. This awareness, plus the practical principles for living a happy and successful life, is experienced at Sunday services and weekday classes. By joining with others, it is possible for the local Unity ministry to provide expanding services, such as Sunday school, a radio and/or TV ministry, community outreach, prayer and support groups, and counseling. It is very helpful for individuals to have a place where they can be involved in putting these teachings into practice in serving others. Through the local ministry's affiliation and participation in the Association of Unity Churches, such individuals are part of a global movement which forms a base on which to stand as we build a better world together.

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Love Offering is a term that you will frequently hear at Unity of Washington, DC. The vast majority of events and activities that are held here are presented on a “Love-Offering Basis.”

When we bless our “love offering,” please consider how the message stirs in your heart and moves your soul. We know that as we give to what spiritually feeds us it creates a ripple that goes out into the universe blessing the world around and forming a vacuum that draws more goodness and abundance into our lives.

The idea of Love-Offerings has deep roots in Unity. Charles and Myrtle Fillmore pretty much insisted on it as the way to do their work. They believed that giving a Love Offering to what spiritually fed them was an acknowledgement of God’s Love and Abundance, which was part of their experience. The sharing of “a love offering” was part of their overall prosperity program. It acknowledged the Divine Flow moving through their life as health, love, and financial abundance by giving a portion of their income to the spiritual practices and programs that inspired their minds and moved their souls (Many organizations call this tithing.)

When you attend a class, workshop, or service that fills you with joy and inspiration, we ask that you consider giving from that place of wonder and marvel. Ask yourself if the event or message has meaning in your life? Then allow the sense of gratitude to stir in every cell of your being; letting the joy and gratitude to overflow, and then give from that place of joy and thanksgiving. The teachings shared at our services, workshops and classes have the potential to transform the way you see the world and the way you show up in it. We ask that you give from a place that you are spiritually blessed, knowing that as you give you create a ripple, even a wave, that will come back overflowing in every area of your life.

So any time we pause to take a “Love Offering,” consider how the class, workshop, or service inspires your mind and moves your soul, and share from the abundance in your life. Go to that place of remembering that Spirit is moving in you and must be released to be realized.

“Divine love, through me, blesses and multiples

all that I am, all that I have, all that I give, and all that I receive.”

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1225 R Street NW ~ Washington, DC 20009 ~ 202.543.1414

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