About Unity of
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
Twenty Questions and Answers About Unity
(Click on the question to go to the answer)
the basic tenets of the Unity teachings?
believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ?
Unity's distinctive characteristics?
What is the
Association of Unity Churches?
Unity School of Christianity?
What is the
relationship of Unity to other churches?
any connection between Unity and Unitarianism?
Is Unity an
offshoot of Christian Science?
What is the
place of the Bible in Unity?
practice baptism and communion?
What is the
significance of the blood of Jesus Christ?
accept the virgin birth?
look for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ?
Unity regard the Trinity?
Unity teach about sin and salvation, heaven and hell?
believe in reincarnation?
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
1. What is Unity?
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
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
2. What are the basic
tenets of the Unity teachings?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
18. What does Unity teach about sin and salvation, heaven and
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.
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.
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.
What is a Love
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.”
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.
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.)
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
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
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