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As the New Year unfolds, here on the Friends Room page we are unfurling a new banner and a whole new Friends Room offering. Some of you may already be subscribing to our free weekly Thought for the Week email which provides a wonderful and inspiring Unity reflection for every week of the year. As a tribute to this we will be offering here a Thought for the Week classic, taken from the Unity sound archives, featuring a short, memorable wisdom from the past – but one which will be just as fresh and relevant today.

Our latest Thought for the Week Classic for February 12th comes from one of Unity’s devoted UK members, June Daniell, whose lovely photographs often feature on our website. She recently wrote to us and included this short reflection on the birth of new life after a ‘winter of the spirit’ – which seems very appropriate to these dark February days. June’s photograph of a February snowdrop accompanies her words, spoken in this short recording by Steve Gough.

We do hope you like this short, but memorable audio extract. To listen now just click on the link below:

Snowdrop

 

Friends Room Daily Services New

Those of you who phone the Silent Unity prayer-line will know that we hold services here at Unity Maidenhead every weekday where we keep everyone in prayer who is named on our daily prayer lists. Now, and exclusively on the Friends Room, you will be able to take part in these services as we will be placing a regular recording on YouTube which you can access by simply clicking below.

The recording is usually a little shorter than our full daily service but does have periods of silence during which you too can join in our silent prayer and meditation. Because of confidentiality, names of those on our prayer list, which are spoken during the service, have been edited out of the recording.


February’s prayers 
explore the theme of love, and especially spiritual love “which cherishes and nourishes all life….” and also spiritual love that “unites us all”. The service is a little shorter than usual, under ten minutes, but has short periods for silent personal meditation.#

 

 

 

You may also wish to download a text document of our latest prayer service for your own use, in which case you can click on the following link:

Silent Unity Prayer Service February 2018

 

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Over the years, we all have our favourite memorable Daily Word meditations. Some of us may cut out these pages and keep them nearby us in a purse, a wallet or by the bed. Some Daily Word subscribers go through each new bi-monthly magazine marking the pages that seem most wise or powerful for this time in their lives. In this section of the Friends Room we highlight an especially memorable Daily Word reading for the month, and present it to you in the form of a short YouTube film featuring meditational sounds & images accompanying the audio reading for that day by Ken Bradley. Ken’s reading is taken from the regular audio version of Daily Word which you can subscribe to, or have sent free if you are blind or partially sighted.

Occasionally a Daily Word reading can be very simple and straightforward – yet it can still touch us with a sense of profound wisdom. This is certainly the case for February’s reading on the very last day of the month, Wednesday 28th. The word for the day is Divine Order and the image called up by the text is of a world of simple beauty and meaning. The images we have chosen to accompany the text are from Lake Windermere in Cumbria where too the beauty is very simple and direct….

If you have enjoyed this recording, why not consider taking out a subscription for the audio version of Daily Word, which is still offered at just £15 a month to subscribers – and is FREE for blind or visual impaired people. Please click here for more details.

 

Friends Room prayer & meditation

In this special prayer and meditation section of the Friends Room we are offering a variety of Unity recordings to support your daily spiritual life.

Some years ago we presented on CD some very evocative meditations given by Francis Murray, a Unity Elder living in Northern Ireland. It seems a good moment to revivie these lovely recordings on the Friends Room page.

Francis Murray

Francis Murray

Continuing our journey through Francis Murray’s recorded Meditations, here is a short ten minute meditation sequence called ‘Words of Encouragement’. Here Francis asks his listeners to take words of strength and comfort from Spirit within….

Word of Encouragement

 

Those of you with Windows PCs may like to know that it is possible to save all our audiofiles to your own computer as you listen to these downloads, by pressing together ‘control’+’s’ as you listen. This way you can listen to the meditations again and again without needing to be on the internet.

 

Friends Room Services

Every month Unity Maidenhead holds its popular Fellowship Service which features prayers, meditations, talks & singing., For some time we have included recordings of important events such as the Burning Bowl Service or the Unity Carol Service. However here at the Friends Room visitors can view regular monthly recordings throughout the year so that, wherever you live, you can begin to feel a real part of the fellowship life of Unity.

Unity’s Burning Bowl Service is always a richly rewarding experience for those who attend, whether as part of the sacred gathering – or online. It is a chance to clear away the wreckage of the past year and forge new spiritual visions for the new. For many, the feeling when the bowl burns away all those past resentments, fears or regrets is truly liberating! This YouTube recording of Unity Maidenhead’s very cathartic January event lasts  around 20 minutes:

 

Friends Room Archive recordings new

 

Tom Thorpe is a very popular figure in Unity here in the UK, although he lives in the US: a Unity Writer, Teacher and Minister based in Unity Village for many years. For a number of years he has visited Unity here in the UK, giving talks and leading services. As part of a new archive talk series, we are going to present here Tom’s very first UK classes, Lessons of Jesus, given way back in 2006 at the St Annes Retreat. The audio quality of these early recordings is not brilliant, but Tom’s spirit, wisdom and wit come shining through.

Taking as his starting point, Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount, Tom uses the Gospel texts to explore how the voice of Jesus gains new meaning from a Unity perspective. Each talk begins with a rousing song, so be prepared to sing as you listen.

Rev. Tom Thorpe

This first of three talks is presented here in two halves, each around 25 minutes long:

Lessons of Jesus 1a

Lessons of Jesus 1b

 

 

 

John Wingfield Friendsroom Logo PicAs many Friends Room members will know, Rev. John Wingfield was Unity Minister at Unity Maidenhead some years ago, returning to his home in the US in 2007. A very popular, warm and friendly figure at Unity services, retreats and Celebration Days, John was also greatly valued for his personal reflections on ‘living the Unity life’. We are so delighted therefore that John is now contributing from the States his regular  ‘Letter from America’ to the Unity Friends Room, containing thoughts and feelings about Unity Living from across the Atlantic Ocean….

John’s Spring Letter begins with some vivid stories of his various encounters, over the years, with natural disasters in the United States. From these fascinating stories, John draws conclusions about how we deal with challenges which can threaten the very basis of our daily living. Not surprisingly, John has more to say about Spiritual solutions than the work of our excellent fire and flood rescue services!

Letter from America Spring 2018

 

Friends Room Recommendations

 

With the Lent season upon us it seemed a good moment to explore what websites there are which offer prayer support on a daily basis. If you are not a Catholic you will probably never have visited the website of the Benedictine Monks at Ampleforth in Yorkshire.

However if you do explore their site you will find that they offer daily live streamed services. The Services are part of the ancient Divine Office much of which is in the form of traditional hymns and chants, the sung psalms, especially are very beautiful. NB you don’t have to be a Catholic to get spiritual nourishment out of these daily services, which is why they are open for all.

If you want the actual link to Atlanta click here.

 

Friends Room Musical Offerings

Back by popular demand is a beautiful rendering of ‘My Redeemer’ performed by an unknown gospel singer at Unity’s Celebration day way back in 2007. If anyone knows who this singer is, let us know! Her voice is amazing, as we think you will agree:

 

Friends Room Unity TV Magazine

As part of the Friends Room’s video offerings we present here a regular TV magazine programme letting you know about all that is going on in Unity here in Maidenhead (headquarters of Daily Word and Silent Unity) and beyond.

Our Spring 2018  of the Unity Magazine,  focusses on our new retreat programme for the year. Also Kimerie Mapletoft, UM’s presenter, discusses the success of our new live online daily services. The programme lasts around five minutes:

Friends Room Audio Books

 

The Friends Room is excited to present over the next few months complete audio recordings of an ancient Medieval spiritual text, The Cloud of Unknowing, which many see as an important source for today’s practices of contemplative spirituality. Written by an anonymous monk in the fourteenth century it is a series of profound reflections on the nature of our mysterious connection with God, based, the writer affirms, not on will or conscious intellect, but on the deeper ‘cloud of unknowing’ within the intuitive part of our being.

cloud image

Wikipedia in its introduction to this amazing book, writes: The underlying message of this work suggests that the way to know God is to abandon consideration of God’s particular activities and attributes, and be courageous enough to surrender one’s mind and ego to the realm of “unknowing”, at which point one may begin to glimpse the nature of God…

We continue our month by month serialisation of this audiobook with Chapters 26-30, read by David Barnes for the public service audiobook website, Librivox.

26 – The Six and Twentieth Chapter – That without full special grace, or long use in common grace, the work of this book is right travailous; and in this work, which is the work of the soul helped by grace, and which is the work of only God.

27 – The Seven and Twentieth Chapter – Who should work in the gracious work of this book.

28 – The Eight and Twentieth Chapter – That a man should not presume to work in this work before the time that he be lawfully cleansed in conscience of all his special deeds of sin.

29 – The Nine and Twentieth Chapter – That a man should bidingly travail in this work, and suffer the pain thereof, and judge no man.

30 – The Thirtieth Chapter – Who should blame and condemn other men’s defaults.

 

Friends Room Profiles

Month by month in the Friends Room we are highlighting the life and work of some of our Unity elders in the UK and beyond. We can learn much from books, listening to spiritual discussions, joining in meditations – but there is something special about those small jewels of everyday personal experience shared directly between us…

Normally in this slot we highlight the life and work of Unity people. But on this occasion we are offering Friends Room visitors the chance to watch a profile film on the place where Unity began, Unity Village in the US, made in 2009:

 

Friends Room Myspace

This place in the Unity Friends room is your space! Here we plan to put contributions from Unity people around the country whether it be personal prayers or reflections; poems or songs; pictures or drawings! We invite contributions, preferably by email (see below). But you can also put contributions in the post, if you prefer, or even record your poems, prayers or reflections (not too long!) onto the Silent Unity prayerline or office voicemail.

Our Unity Photographer June Daniel has sent in another amazing image she recently captured during her rural walks – featuring the poppy symbol which is particularly apt at this time of year, with Remembrance Sunday still vivid in our memory. Believe it or not this is a real beetle and not a piece of digital art!

Poppy Beetle

June also included these words, on the significance of a particular Remembrance service in her life. “From the depths of the depression that I had been experiencing when I felt imprisoned by my illness and so isolated both physically and emotionally and even wondering what the point of life was, I was reminded again by the service, which united the spiritual and earthly sides of our lives, of the price that was paid for our freedom…”

Do you have a photograph which you treasure because it has had a special spiritual impact on your life? Why not send us a copy and a few short words to describe its place in your life.

A very resourceful and imaginative Unity member, Mark Halbert, has recently sent us a poem he wrote way back in his college days in the nineteen eighties. It is a richly evocative piece, called Magic Moon….

Magic Moon

Mark has also set up a Unity group in the Nottingham area, so if you live in that part of the world and would like to join why not contact him? His details are on the back page of the latest Daily Word.

 

One way you can contribute your own material to the Friends Room’s MySpace is to record something on your iPhone and upload it onto Youtube, if you send me (steve.gough@unityuk.org) the link I can then put the recording onto this web-page. For technophobes, of course, the easiest way is still probably to put something onto our Unity voicemail. But however you want to contribute, keep your ideas coming!

If you are enjoying all that the new Friends Room offers Unity members in the UK, why not support is now with a donation:


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