Youth Sunday at Unity of Tustin

Join your Unity of Tustin Community for a Youth-ful Sunday Service!
Adventure in Faith – Week 6
November 4 – 9 am & 11 am Services


August van Nieuwenhuysen, YOU student, will be leading the meditation and giving the talk at both services.  The title of his talk is, Being Bright and Free, as referenced in the last two chapters of Living From the Mountaintop, by

Christian Sorensen.



Former YOU student and current Youth and Family Ministry Teacher, Shannon Maddox, will open both services in prayer and give the AIF Testimony, Adventure in Faith and My New Purpose at Unity of Tustin.


“Spiritual Bypass Song” by Harold Payne

Spiritual Bypass song recap improv Unity of Tustin 8-5-18

Composed and performed by Harold Payne

Intro 1st service
WE can go from class to class and think that we’re learning
And buying books without pages turning
But we’ve got to jump in with both feet
Instead of avoiding the heat
And let the process keep churning Cause what gives light
Must endure burning 

Intro 2nd service
Things are not always what they seem
Sometimes there’s drama behind the scenes
There was a time when men didn’t say what they feel
But it’s time to get real
We’ve got to jump in with both feet
Instead of avoiding the heat
And let the process keep churning Cause what gives light
Must endure burning
You can meditate, cogitate, congregate & medicate
But if you wanna elevate
You’ve got to do the work

Watch out for spiritual bypass
Just glossing over and thinking we’re fine
By owning our shadow we can stand in the light
Making room for our dreams to take flight

Sometimes our backpacks need some rearranging
Knowing our needs are constantly changing
Once the power of our ego becomes a thing of the past
We can move a little further down our spiritual path

Watch out for spiritual bypass
Just glossing over and thinking we’re fine
By owning our shadow we can stand in the light
Making room for our dreams to take flight

It’s a different kind of open heart surgery
We have to speak our truth or commit spiritual perjury
And end up in some kind of metaphysical limbo
And run the risk of being a new thought bimbo

Watch out for spiritual bypass
Just glossing over and thinking we’re fine
By owning our shadow we can stand in the light
Making room for our dreams to take flight

Bridge from first service:
And whenever your focus starts to get blurry
Just remember the words of a bald headed guy from Missouri
And even when we’re pricked by the needles of a metaphorical cactus
Sometimes it’s just metaphysical malpractice

Bridge from 2nd service
Whether you’re all the way for Sydney
Or because you were brought here by Stedney
And even when we’re pricked by the needles of a metaphorical cactus
Sometimes it’s just metaphysical malpractice

Giving Made Easy

“The Inexhaustible Resource of Spirit is equal to every demand. There is no reality in lack.
Abundance is here and now manifest.”   – Charles Fillmore

Giving Made Easy was created to assist in making contributions easy for you. There are several ways to give to Unity of Tustin – online, phone app, texting (one time or recurring) – all secure and for your convenience.

Find step by step instructions here: Giving Made Easy (Revised)

Impassioned, Connected & On Fire in 2018

Dear Unity of Tustin Community,

My heart is so full as I reflect on all that 2017 has brought for us as a community. In 2017 we will have:

  • Offered over 120 Sunday and special services, inspiring, deepening and lifting people up through our prayer, ritual, music and message.
  • Served the greater community through the OC Food project, delivering groceries to St. Paul’s, serving a Sunday meal once a quarter and donating backpacks to children in need.
  • Focused on our Unity of Tustin community through our Ministry Fair and literally put our hand prints on the heart of the administration building, recognizing that our service does truly leave hand prints on the heart of Unity of Tustin.
  • Celebrated our children and teens’ graduation and stories of events and spiritual insights.

There’s been so much vitality and aliveness in our community and it makes my heart sing.

In Everything Belongs, Richard Rohr says, “God is always bigger than the boxes we build for God, so we should not waste too much time protecting the boxes.” I love this reminder. We set boxes around everything, even spiritual community. This year we came to you as a Board with our own awakening to some of the boxes we have been living in as a community. We realized that we have entered what Richard Rohr calls the liminal space (the space between). What’s bigger than the box we are currently living in? I see that something is wanting to be birthed. To go beyond the box and fully participate in the birth we have set our 2018 intention to focus on:

  1. Revitalizing our Worship Experiences
  2. Transition & Transformation Process
  3. Reaching Out to the Greater Community

I’ve been in many planning meetings over the last couple of days, casting the vision and setting the intention for 2018. I’m getting so excited for what is ahead of us. I see our community impassioned by vision, connected in Spirit and on fire with service.

In my travels during sabbatical I became aware of how hungry my own heart and practice was for the experience of God, or what we call the mystical. 2018 will be a year of walking through our own transformation and cultivating our mystic’s heart. And, if you’re confused about what that means, stay tuned, we have some ways for you to find out more and experience it yourself in the coming year.

During the month of November at the 9 and 11 am service we as a community will set the field for this transformational year of 2018 through setting our own individual commitments to spiritual practice.

Every year for over 12 years I have sat down in prayer and considered how I will give at Unity of Tustin. I consider it part of my sacred practice and a gift to myself to consciously participate with my community. Making a spiritual commitment effects both my individual practice and our collective practice. Every one of us who practice matter to the whole. It matters to us that you are meditating. It matters to us that you are giving. It matters to us that you are doing your self-transformation work. It matters to us that you are serving. You AND We are affected by conscious, intentional practice. I encourage you to join me in coming to church with your commitment card in November prayerfully completed. We will be receiving the commitments as our community sings “Here I Am Lord.”

I read each commitment card received, blessing the intention and celebrating your devotion to the Divine. This information is held in strict confidence and your card will be returned to you in time for the beginning of the year. We use the financial commitments outlined in these cards to make our budget plans for next year.

As we approach our month-long invitation into commitment to spiritual practice and living the vision of 2018, I invite you into deep prayer as you open to the guidance of Spirit. How are you being asked to stretch in a way that supports and enhances that Divine creative flow? Let there be vitality, abundance and joy for us all.

In Deep Love,

Rev. Carolyne
2018 Commitment Card

Adventure in Faith 2017

What is Adventure in Faith?

Adventure in Faith is an annual Fall program at Unity of Tustin during which the community comes together to do an in-depth study of a book.  The 7 week study is intended to increase our personal and community spirituality.  We deepen our connection to Spirit, Our True Self and our spiritual community.

In addition, we raise awareness of many aspects of our Unity of Tustin community.  This includes expanding our understanding of Unity of Tustin’s vision, mission, and values.

This time provides the opportunity to contemplate and take action on 6 spiritual practices:

  • Spiritual study
  • Devotion/worship
  • Selfless service
  • Conscious giving/tithing
  • Transformation of self/shadow work
  • Prayer and meditation

This program culminates with the opportunity to consciously set intentions for the 6 spiritual practices for the upcoming year.  And to punctuate our process of unfolding we enjoy a celebration together as one community in our community.


The Book Everything Belongs

This book, written by best-selling author, Fr. Richard Rohr, is an in-depth look into the reality of we humans being fully human and divine.  It examines the importance of welcoming everything into our lives, whether we consider it pleasant or unpleasant, fair or not, like us or different, a blessing or a curse.  Everything belongs.


Richard Rohr helps us to:

  • See where our ego gets in the way of our soul,
  • Clean our lens so that we can see clearly
  • Understand that the Universe is friendly
  • Explore the power and responsibility of free will
  • Know how prayer and suffering relate
  • Consider that to be forgiven is to know God
  • Recognize God’s most dangerous disguise.

Richard Rohr is frequently mentioned at Unity of Tustin and is a prolific author, Franciscan Monk and founder of the Center for Action and Contemplation.  He is a strong proponent of the 12-step process for healing and growing our spirituality.  He practices and teaches Centering Prayer.

Study groups are meeting around Orange County (and some surrounding counties). Contact the church office for more information at 714-730-3444 ext 109. Download the book study guide by clicking here. Want more information about Contemplative Prayer and how to practice it? Find out here.

Centering Prayer by Gail Hamley, Licensed Unity Teacher

As you expand your meditation practice, in concert with your faith, you will find that these divine moments come more often, until you are finally awakened to your own deepest self, one with Christ.   – James Finley

Imagine a day of strenuous physical activity, and then at day’s end, you enjoy a cleansing shower, a mind/soul/spirit massage, and a deep refreshing rest. For anyone who has engaged in backpacking, hiking, construction work, or moving earth and stone during gardening, you know what I mean! The activity is synonymous with daily life and the shower to a washing away of all the ‘dirt’ or residue that has been clinging to the body of activity we have lived. When we finally stop, the massage and rest become so sweet that we can no longer return to the life once lived. This imagery came to me one day after I came out of a 20 minute session of Centering Prayer. Although I am not new to meditation, I became keenly aware that my mind felt, perhaps for the first time, truly rested.

Centering Prayer is a contemporary name for a contemplative practice that Jesus referred to as “prayer in secret” in the Sermon on the Mount, according to Fr. Thomas Keating, founder of Contemplative Outreach, an organization promoting the practice of Centering Prayer. Accordingly, it entails leaving behind external concerns and the intention of discontinuing interior dialogue via a sacred word. It is the groundwork for a commitment toward transformation.

In her book The Heart of Centering Prayer, Cynthia Bourgeault writes, “You have an intention to ‘be totally open to God:’ totally available, all the way down to that innermost point of your being; deeper than your thinking, deeper than your feelings, deeper than your memories and desires, deeper than your usual psychological sense of yourself. Ultimately, what will go on in this prayer is ‘in secret,’ hidden even from yourself, in that innermost sanctuary of your being.”

In the language of Contemplative Outreach, this ‘going deeper’ is a letting go called “consenting to the presence and action of God.” I believe it was this consenting that changed things for me that day mentioned earlier.

In Centering Prayer, “consenting to the presence and action of God” primarily requires an active participation by giving permission or an invitation to God. The word ‘consent’ comes from the Latin con (together) and sentire (feel)—to feel together. So in giving consent, there is a non-dual or unitive assumption when entering into Centering Prayer. You are aware of the omnipresence of God where God is here and you only want God. You clear away the debris to experience God, to know God without separation. The value of anything else is gone and you willingly wait, without clinging to any thought, and if you do get snagged in a thought, you return to your sacred word, one word that draws you back to emptiness. When we release all of our goals, wishes, dreams, terrors, and meandering of endless useless thoughts and give way to our love for God alone, we will change.

Where did this contemplative practice of Centering Prayer come from? Those who have researched it contend that it comes from the fourteenth-century spiritual classic The Cloud of Unknowing. Some who are familiar with the book suspect that the unknown author was a mystic who was giving instruction to his fellow monks because it clearly gives directives on living a contemplative life. He chose the metaphor ‘cloud of unknowing’ for objectless awareness or what we now call ‘non-dual awareness.’ His work includes another metaphor, ‘cloud of forgetting,’ to describe the discipline of letting go of objects of attention, returning the mind to its state of objectless awareness. Centering Prayer is considered contemplative because it is the active practice of stabilizing the mind in a state of objectless awareness.

The practice of Centering Prayer gives a venue through which God’s abundant grace forgives our human frailties and we dissolve in love. In The Cloud of Unknowing the author stated that meekness is the knowing of all of the self. We know we have frailties, which burden our hearts and sadden us, because we understand that they separate us from God, whom we love and long for. In this tender place, we come to realize the abundance of God’s love, that it is all encompassing and without end. It is, in fact, God loving us rather than us loving God. It is the worthiness of God that gives grace, not our worthiness, and we are in receipt of God’s grace as total cause. It is here where we learn to love. In The Cloud of Unknowing, the author used Mary Magdalene as an archetype for unrestricted love: “She hung up her love and her longing desire in this cloud of unknowing, and she learned to love a thing which she might not see clearly in this life, nor understand in her reason, nor yet feel in sweetness of love in her affection.”

In his book, Open Mind, Open Heart, Fr. Thomas Keating wrote that in Centering Prayer we “deliberately dismantle the emotional programs of the false self.” I have found the Welcoming Prayer to be most helpful in this endeavor throughout the day. Mary Mrozowski, one of the founders of Contemplative Outreach, formulated the prayer as a method of consenting to God’s presence and action in our physical and emotional reactions to events and situations in daily life. She taught, “To welcome and to let go is one of the most radically loving, faith-filled gestures we can make in each moment of each day. It is an open-hearted embrace of all that is in ourselves and in the world.” There are three movements of the prayer: 1) Feel and sink into whatever you are experiencing in this moment in your body; 2) “Welcome” what you are experiencing this moment in your body as an opportunity to consent to the Divine indwelling; and 3) Let go by saying “I let go of my desire for security, affection, and control and embrace this moment as it is.”

Although Centering Prayer is Jesus’ prayer in secret, there is a supportive sense when practiced within a group. Please join me in a Centering Prayer practice on Wednesdays at 7 pm starting on July 19. More details are on page 11. During our practice we will also engage in another contemplative practice, lectio divina, which is Latin for divine reading. I have often experienced these two practices together as a means of deepening our walk with God. I look forward to seeing you.

What is Unity World Day of Prayer All About? by Marty Beery

Several years ago while on a retreat at Unity Village near Kansas City, MO, my husband Harvey and I were able to attend the World Day of Prayer. What an eye-opening experience it was for me as I entered the Unity Village Chapel and saw that the entire front stage area was literally stacked with nearly one million prayer requests that had been received from around the world.

Even more impressive was the fact that every name submitted was going to be individually, lovingly prayed for in the silence by volunteers. Harvey and I were honored to be part of this beautiful prayer process with the devoted members of this huge prayer team that had come from across the world just for this sacred mission.

Newcomers to our own mystical, spiritual community in Tustin may not realize that Unity’s World Day of Prayer is both a global event centered at Unity Village…and a local event taking place right here at Unity of Tustin! Always held on the second Thursday in September, this beautiful tradition began just over 20 years ago as part of Silent Unity.

Silent Unity may be described as an international, trans-denominational, 24/7 prayer ministry, which has offered continuous prayer support for more than 125 years. Unity World Day of Prayer provides an opportunity for each of us, through prayer, to focus on the spiritual Truth that we are all expressions of the One, and that this recognition of oneness can, and will, heal the world.

The theme of this September’s Unity World Day of Prayer is “Peace in the Midst.” This theme provides the container for us to cultivate inner peace and explore meaningful ways to carry peace into the world for greater harmony and healing. While Unity Village has its own World Day of Prayer retreat, we will have our own day dedicated to prayer.

Here is how that sacred time will unfold in our sanctuary at Unity of Tustin:

  • You are invited to join us for an opening ceremony in our sanctuary beginning at noon. Members of our Reiki Ministry will participate in the opening ceremony.
  • The opening ceremony is immediately followed by a silent prayer vigil until 5 pm. It will be a time to pray and meditate, becoming conscious and receptive. Our Prayer Chaplains will also be present for anyone who would like individual prayers. During the vigil you are welcome to participate for any length of time.
  • During the prayer vigil, the Unity of Tustin Prayer Chaplains will also bless and honor each person in the prayer requests submitted, with confidential prayer and meditation.
  • The day will conclude with a closing ceremony at 5 pm.

Join with us on Thursday, September 14 by taking a midday prayer break, whether at your workplace or at home, or by stopping by Unity of Tustin for the World Day of Prayer 2017. For updates and more information, visit

My Love I Leave You by Rev. Carolyne Mathlin

My sabbatical, or spiritual renewal, is just around the corner. Preparing to be away from June 5 to September 5 has turned into a consuming part of my life these days. My impending departure seems to be on your mind too. I’ve been receiving many comments of support and some questions. The two top questions? What are you doing? Where are you going? I’m glad to say that I have an answer. I intend for this time period to be one of rest, retreat, spiritual renewal, empowerment for myself and the community, service, professional education, and spiritual education. What has come is a combination of many things, including just simply being home, meditating, practicing yoga, cooking, reading, and gardening. What has also come is a time of travel and retreat. During my sabbatical I will attend two retreats offered by Wisdom University:

Retreat 1: Sacred Number ~ the Matrix of the Universe the Fifth Liberal Art Arithmetica in Chartres, France with Jain, Carolyn Myss, Ruth Cunningham, Apela Colorado, Jim Garrison, Andrew Harvey, Karen Rivers, Peggy Rubin, and Banafsheh Sayyad.

Arithmetica is the study of the ancient wisdom within the energy patterns that create and unify all things and reveal the precise way that the energy of Creation organizes itself. On every scale, every natural pattern of growth or movement conforms to one or more numerical pattern of geometric shape. Following Pythagoras, the Chartrean Masters believed that study of Sacred Number was essential to the education of the soul.  They knew that these patterns and codes were symbolic of our own inner realm and the subtle structure of awareness. To them the “sacred” had particular significance involving consciousness and the profound mystery of awareness.

Retreat 2: Mystical Andalusia, Garden Amidst the Flames, Ibn Arabi, Rumi and the Dance of Oneness in Granada, Cordoba and Seville, Spain with Andrew Harvey, Banafsheh Sayyad, and Jim Garrison.

O Marvel! A garden amidst the flames.
My heart has become capable of every form:
it is a pasture for gazelles and a convent for Christian monks,
a temple for idols and the pilgrim’s Kaa’ba,
the tables of the Torah and the book of the Quran.
I follow the religion of Love: whatever way Love’s camels take me,
that is my religion and my faith.
—Ibn Arabi

Give me ecstasy
Give Birth to the Beloved in me, and let this Lover die!
Let a thousand wrangling desires become one blazing love.
—Jalaledin Rumi

These poetic lines from the two greatest Sufi mystics describe the longing that leads the heart to break open and give birth to the ecstasy of surrender to a deeper experience of truth. Surrender your heart to dance, music, poetry, and the teachings of Ibn Arabi, known as the “Greatest Master” by Sufis, who opened up the Path of Knowledge, and Rumi, who opened up the Path of Love inspired by his beloved Shams. Open your being through the Sama (whirling), deep listening with the heart.

Can you see why I was so called to these incredible opportunities? I am in deep awe and gratitude for the consciousness of our community to create the field of support that allows me to experience these rich offerings with internationally known Master Teachers. I can feel the delight in my soul as I prepare for my pilgrimage.

For those of you who take my classes and think I give too much homework, you get your revenge. I have 7 books, several essays and multiple pre-retreat calls as required pre-retreat assignments. Plus, apparently there are 2 post-retreat papers due. One 12-15 page paper is to focus on one aspect of Sacred Number that weaves together my understanding of the material, experience and art. The other is a 15-20 page paper that distills my understanding of how the teachings of Ibn Arabi and Rumi can serve as a model for our contemporary challenges. I promise to share these with you for those who are interested. Have I mentioned that I love spiritual study?!?

Rest assured, while in Europe I also plan on relaxing and having fun. I’ll be in Paris for a week delighting in amazing food and wine and inflicting my broken French on the locals. I even have tickets to see one of my all-time favorite bands Depeche Mode in concert. Food will feature prominently in my European travels.

As Juliet says to Romeo, “Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow.” Yes, we will be apart for a while. And, I know the experiences and time away will be powerful for both of us. I am heartened by the work the Sabbatical Team has been doing. They have been in conversation consistently for several months now, making sure all the areas they can think to cover are addressed. All of leadership’s intention is for our community to feel supported and held in the sacred field we know Unity of Tustin to be. That is important because sometimes people can project that it is just the minister who creates or generates the church experience. It is so much more than me. I am but one piece. During the summer we will get to see and even cultivate more the reality that there are many incredible souls who contribute to the life energy of Unity of Tustin. I am also happy to know that my friend Gail Hamley will be returning to Unity while I am away. She will be speaking during most of the summer. Plus we have some stellar long-time friends and first time friends of Unity who will speak and lead workshops. Please make sure to check out the Invitation of Love and Summons to Love entries. Dr. Marj Britt and Andrew Harvey’s four-day intensive will be an experience to be remembered. You aren’t going to want to miss it.

Holy Week (the week between Palm Sunday and Easter) is near and transition has been on my mind. The stories from the time period Jesus prepared to enter Jerusalem to the Last Supper allude to an energetic field surrounding Him that was particularly charged and activated. After the Passover meal (what we refer to as the Last Supper) the disciples ask where Jesus is going and He answers that where He is going they cannot follow. He tells them that He is going to prepare a place for them. “In my Father’s house there are many mansions.” He also promises that God (the Father) will send the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, in His name to teach them all things and remind them of everything Jesus had taught. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27

As I begin the journey of saying goodbye, I’ve been contemplating what I want to leave with you all. While the tone, context and global implications of my departure are vastly different than Jesus’, I can’t help but look to his example as I make final preparations. Jesus left His peace and said the Father would send the Advocate, Comforter, Holy Spirit. I send the Sabbatical Team, the Board, Gail, Master Teachers, and YOU! I leave my love. My heart, passion, joy, sorrow, dedication, service and so much more has been focused practically all of my life on Unity of Tustin. It’s such an intimate and deep relationship it feels like one or both of us are going off to college and our relationship will never quite be the same next time we see each other. We’ll both change, mature, find ourselves and grow into the next evolution of who we are meant to be. The foundation of our relationship is Love and that is what I return to. My Love I leave with you. The morrow will be here before we know it.

True Prayer by Gail Hamley

Sufi poet, Rumi, gives food for thought in the following poem.

The disciple knocked at the door of the Beloved.
And a voice from within asked:
“Who is there?”
The disciple answered,
“It is I.”
The voice said,
“There is no room for two ‘I’s’ in this house.

– Rumi

This poem brings to mind a picture of Jesus knocking at a door, used occasionally by the Prayer and Healing Ministry at Unity of Tustin as a symbol of prayer and going within. It signifies Jesus’ instruction to go into our inner chamber and close the door. He also gave an example of prayer known to us as The Lord’s Prayer. And, as sometimes happens when a teacher gives an example, the example becomes the message. Somewhere in the translation and repetition its potency becomes lost. Prayer is so much more than words. Although I do not think there is a judging God who tosses out prayers not said just right. But Jesus had evolved to be One with His Father. His state of Being was one of Presence and this is the meat of his instruction about prayer. His life became His prayer.

Several months ago I had a dream where I saw Mary, Jesus’ mother, lying prone with arms outstretched above her head. Her fingertips were touching the feet of God, who appeared as a beautiful energetic field of Light. It was so beautiful that I woke up in tears. The feeling remained with me for days. I knew this dream was about prayer and about surrender. The dream gave me a picture or a touchstone to refer to that showed me to be one with God means the deepest surrender. True Prayer is about letting go. We let go of everything we think we know and sit silently in the Presence of Love (God). As we pray in this way, we change. That is what prayer does: It changes us. We let the world go and let the transforming spirit of God change us. Even when we are praying for someone else, we sit in the knowledge of their oneness in God. Then, there is no sickness, no guilt, no worry, no trying to change things, no scarcity, no sin, nothing but the Truth of Being.

There is a little booklet produced by the Foundation for Inner Peace called “The Song of Prayer” that says, “Prayer has no beginning and no end. It is a part of life…Everyone prays without ceasing.”

As a child I memorized my prayers and said them at bedtime. As I grew and experienced pain and hardship, I prayed many times throughout the day. For awhile, I stopped praying altogether. Mostly, prayer was something I did to ask for something. Then, through Unity, I learned the Fillmore’s Affirmative Prayer, which affirms the truth of our being. I learned that I was both human and Divine. This is where true prayer becomes a life choice. It is living Affirmative Prayer. I make the choice for God. I choose my Divine nature over my human nature, not negating it but aligning it. This is “the rest of the story” in Jesus’ teachings about prayer. He mastered His divine nature so perfectly that His mere presence healed. We have that capacity too. Have you ever sat with someone without speaking and somehow it was enough?

One day several years ago an inner voice said, “There is no other.” There is only God. If I truly know this, I forgive everything; I see the face of God in everyone; I accept whatever is going on in any moment; and I respond with Love. This is living true prayer. And I suspect that if we are like that disciple in Rumi’s poem who says, “It is I” there will be no response. There will be no other.

I am thrilled to be with you this summer! I am excited for Rev. Carolyne’s amazing sabbatical. May God within you thrive. See you soon!

More About Gail

Gail Hamley is a Licenced Unity Teacher and Ordained Ministerial Counselor through Pathways of Light. She is a hospice volunteer and facilitator of Transitions. She is a Reiki Master Teacher and published author of Life Expanded.

Gail’s passion is to help people discover their own power. Gail is a Native American (Chippewa) from the Turtle Mountain Reservation in North Dakota.
Gail will be speaking most of the summer on Sundays and offering classes focusing on prayer and meditation.