Unity of Birmingham
Through the Eyes of
In the fall of 1990, the Unity Church in Birmingham, Alabama was a well-known oasis for the soul—a weekly elixir for the members and a key destination for out of town travelers who had heard about the energy level of this special place.
Upon moving back to Birmingham—after being away for a long time—I heard about this church, too, and decided to attend a Sunday service. I had begun the writing of THE CELESTINE PROPHECY only months before, and what I needed was a spiritual shot in the arm. When I visited, I found just that—a remarkable church, ministered by a remarkable man, and the atmosphere exuded an aura of love, healing, and something else I couldn’t quite put my finger on at first.
All I knew was I couldn’t stay away, and I spent the next three years hardly missing a service, wanting to just hang out in the back pew, regardless of whether it was a Sunday sermon that was occurring, a book study group, or one of the many workshops given by notable authors—heroes such as Barbara Marx Hubbard, Neale Donald Walsch and Catherine Ponder.
Not that I wanted to participate all that much. I didn’t. I just needed to hang around in the energy, make notes about my own work, and get into a space where I could stay inspired.
It didn’t take me long to understand the key feeling that characterized this church. It was a prevailing gestalt of peace, a sense of being safe and nurtured, the feeling of being at home. In retrospect, I would say the whole place was blessed beyond belief by a true channel to the spirit, and still is. But I would also say that this channel has been established in large part by the consciousness and vision of its minister.
Jerry and his wife, Jane, set what I would now call a constant prayer-field—a huge, surrounding, glow of energy that establishes this mood of peace, and uplifts everyone and everything who gets close. Strangers drop in without knowing why. Animals congregate in the garden next door. You feel this energy when you drive by, or when you fly into the airport, for that matter, ten miles away.
From the beginning, Jerry has known that reaching higher spiritual experience is more than a matter of intellect, or belief—more, even, than willingness and determination. He knew that this experience often came from the subtleties of preparation, breaking old patterns, even diet. That’s why life at Jerry’s Unity has always been filled with exciting and progressive ideas, biofeedback machines, sensory deprivation tanks, therapy, psychodrama in the guise of May Day theatrical plays, and, above all, meditation—the discipline of moving past our distractions and opening up to the actual experience of the divine within. From this opening comes everything else: higher creativity and intuition, rich synchronicity, and an ever growing sense of mission.
In a quiet way, Jerry has always taught how we can establish this connection for ourselves. For him there is only one God, one positive force in the universe. Everything else is merely the gyrations of human lostness and separation. All the joys of life come when we return home to that place of nurturing and peace.
-- James Redfield from the forward of
Peace Soup: The Recipe for a Peaceful
Life in the New Millennium