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Some of you may already be subscribing to our free weekly Thought for the Week email which provides an inspiring Unity reflection for every week of the year. As a tribute to this, we celebrate here  for the Friends Room a Thought for the Week classic, taken from the Unity archives, featuring a short, memorable wisdom from the past – but one which will be just as fresh and relevant today.

David Davenport has provided several of our Thought of the Week classics in the past; and here he is talking about how Unity ideas and practices help us to focus upon the direct experience of God which must surely be the highest aspiration in our daily spiritual living:

 

Rev. David Davenport

The Experience of God

 

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.

Our Prayer Service for January, led by Rev. Kimerie Mapletoft, helps us to move into the new year with inner peace, confidence and clarity. As always the prayer service highlights where we can affirm healing, guidance, abundance and peace in our daily lifes by taking time to go within….

 

 

 

You may also wish to download a text document of our latest prayer service which you can use as you follow the service recording – or keep to use as the basis for your own daily prayers. Just click on the following link:

Silent Unity Prayer Service January 2019

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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.

Our Daily Word choice for January reminds us of one of the most important functions of this wonderful little magazine for many of our Unity community: providing comfort and strength in times of need or challenge. The affirmation for this day, January 11th, is ‘I am divinely protected’ and the words of the meditation which follows are a powerful endorsement of that theme of comfort and support:

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.

As we move into the New Year we are reminded that one of Unity’s most important and moving services is the Burning Bowl where we are encouraged to meditate on what we want to let go of from the past twelve months – symbolically ‘burning it away’ as we forge a new and positive vision for the coming year.

To mark this special time, we  have chosen a short meditation take from a Burning Bowl Service held a decade ago at Unity Maidenhead in Boyn Hill. The meditation is led by Kimerie Mapletoft.

Kimerie Mapletoft leads the Meditation at Unity Maidenhead’s Burning Bowl Service in 2009

Burning Bowl Meditation

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.

Our very special Candle Lighting Service held in December began movingly with carols and readings before moving to Unity’s annual candle lighting ceremony which includes a celebration of the Twelve Powers, those unique spiritual gifts we all possess, symbolised in our service by the lighting of twelve candles by members of the congregation. We take this opportunity for thanking all those who have joined us through this year whether in personal or online – and expecially those who helped, perhaps by preparing the room, or making the tea, or presenting a reading…..

The original service lasted 90 minutes, so this is a highlights YouTube video lasting around half an hour.

 

 

Friends Room Archive recordings new

Our latest choice from the unity Archive is a talk given by David Davenport at one of Unity’s popular St Anne’s Retreats in the late nineties. Entitled ‘Freedom to Be’, David reflects – in a characteristically insightful and entertaining way – on how we can best, through Unity’s ideas and practices, attain the freedom to be all what we are and hope to be in our lives.

Rev. David & Doreen Davenport, posed in the Unity Maidenhead Silent Unity office in the early eighties.

David’s talk lasts around 30 minutes.

Freedom to Be

 

 

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 latest Letter from America is, as usual, vividly atmospheric in its description of his daily life in Washington State. And yet this is set against the background of those ominous global changes  which now seem to impact on so many aspects of our lives around the world.

Using the simple image of the ‘Spotted Duck’, seen on a recent trip to the countryside, John explores those new challenges, as we are confronted by a different order of injustice and inequality, created in our twenty first century high tech world. Where does it leave the vulnerable, the disadvantaged, the disabled? This is a letter you must read!

Letter from America

 

Friends Room Recommendations

 

In this section of the Friends Room we highlight Non-Unity websites we have come across which we feel might help you along your spiritual journey.

Most of you will be aware of Unity’s American website, which boasts a host of useful information, links and downloads. Indeed it is such a large website that it is sometimes easy to miss some its very useful offerings. For example did you know that you can download each month the Silent Unity Prayer Service sheet which you can use to assist you with your daily prayers.

These you can find by clicking on the Prayer tab, from the home page (http://www.unity.org/) and then clicking on Prayer Services.

 

Friends Room Musical Offerings

Vigorous and robust (though not always tuneful) singing has been a keynote of Unity Services and other gatherings over the years. And there is nobody who sings with more vigour and robustness than Tom Thorpe – and we should add that his voice, very accomplished, is also always in tune!

Here he is instructing his audience at a Chadwick retreat a decade a go on a rendition of that lovely spiritual air, ‘This is the Day that the Lord has Made.’

 

This is the Day

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.

Watch this space for our next Unity Video newsletter, which will feature details of our 2019 Retreat programme. Coming soon!

 

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.

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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 56-60, read by David Barnes for the public service audiobook website, Librivox.

56 – The Six and Fiftieth Chapter

57 – The Seven and Fiftieth Chapter – How these young presumptuous disciples misunderstand this other word ‘up;’ and of the deceits that follow thereon.

58 – The Eight and Fiftieth Chapter – That a man shall not take ensample of Saint Martin and of Saint Stephen, for to strain his imagination bodily upwards in the time of his prayer.

59 – The Nine and Fiftieth Chapter – That a man shall not take ensample at the bodily ascension of Christ, for to strain his imagination upwards bodily in the time of prayer: and that time, place, and body, these three should be forgotten in all ghostly working.

60 – The Sixtieth Chapter – That the high and the next way to heaven is run by desires, and not by paces of feet.

 

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…

Our latest Unity Profile is Rev. Vernon Thomas a very experienced, warm and popular Unity Minister, whose association with Unity London goes back many years. Currently he is head of the Unity Centre of Harmony in South East London. In this first installment, Vernon talks movingly about his very first connections with Unity in Jamaica, leading up to his decision to study for the ministry in Unity Village..

 

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.

As we move into 2019 we continue with June Daniel’s spiritually evocative photographic contributions to Unity.

This is how June describes the taking of the above snapshot, sent to us recently: “I came across this photo taken some years back but the impact it had on me still amazes me. At the time friends were kindly reading me messages on the phone as I was not able to get to the church or read much.

“One Saturday morning a friend left a poem about a kingfisher which had the line, ‘a flash of inspiration’. The next day, Sunday evening, I was just switching on Songs of Praise and I looked across to the flats opposite and saw to my complete amazement the cross as shown in the photo.

“It literally was there for just a few minutes, enough time for me to crab my camera and take this photo. I felt very much that God was saying to me that I didn’t have to be in a church to find him….”

 

Do you have a photograph, or a video 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.

 

One other 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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