Attendance for our Community Meeting was one of our largest ever. The meeting was called to order by our Board President, Eva Maurice, who thanked everyone for attending. Next, our Vice President, Issa (Kim) Wight, introduced our Board Members, Committee Chair People, Volunteers, Lead Chaplains, our bookkeeper and our Spiritual Leader—Michael Mirdad.
Michael then led us through the following:
- Gratitude: We all appreciate the support everyone has given us—especially those of you who have been with us from the very start. We are also grateful that so many people here feel so safe that they allow themselves to be so affectionate—so often greeting each other with hugs, and smiles and kisses. We also want to thank our staff and Judy for all they do behind the scenes to keep Unity moving forward. Judy’s job has grown and she has done a wonderful job. Everyone stood and applauded in agreement and in their appreciation for Judy.
- Review of the Year: We have had lots of amazing things happening at Unity of Sedona. We’ve had our best parties, great Solstice events, the Deva Premal concert and so forth. In fact, nearly everything we have implemented has worked. This is because the concepts taught here actually work!!!
- Board: We continue to have an incredible Board of Trustees. Our Board Members are far from “standard.” They meet regularly, work collaboratively and are involved to the point that they even edit Michael’s letters and our e-blasts.
~We’ve added a couple of new Board Members since our last Community Meeting several months ago. Laura Schappert has come on and added so much to our Board with her social media experience and intelligent communications. Linda Costello is also joining the Board as our new Treasurer—bringing her 40 years’ experience in the accounting field and has a specialty in organizational accounting.
~With Eva’s term of three years on the Board nearly expiring, she is joining Marjorie Muro as an Advisory Member so she can focus on being a teacher and counselor. It was then announced that Bryan Lungo is temporarily stepping in as our “Acting President.” Eva then stood and shared that when she first attended Unity of Sedona, she thought Unity wasn’t going to be for her, but the more she heard Michael speak, she knew he was the real deal. She said her life has transformed completely since working with Michael and also learning from him. Everyone applauded Eva for all of her work with the Board.
- Miscellaneous: We’re always learning new lessons or improving old policies. Here are some new ones:
~If anyone has an idea of what should be done, they should also consider doing it.
~When it comes to having various types of contractors doing work for us, the theme has been that they prefer doing the job their way instead of doing what we want AND that they tend to take the money and run. We will now be more responsible and cautious when choosing contractors and creating agreements.
~We asked for, and received, volunteers to assist us in keeping the café opened.
~Michael shared his appreciation for those who knew how to understand his humor instead of being like those who sometimes take him too seriously.
~The feedback in regard to our new Unity flag has been overwhelming. Most people enjoyed the humor of having our temporary Knights Templar (skull and crossbones) flag even though we did have a few complaints about it. And for those who thought we staked the flagpole into the top of one of our trees, please note that the flagpole is fastened to the side of the tree.
- Finances: All our projects are successful, including the Café and Bookstore.
~Now, more than ever, we are able to offer FREE events.
~Judy, one of our members, announced that she has made Unity of Sedona the recipient of her will.
~Some of Michael’s students from Japan offered to tithe to him as their teacher but he referred them to Unity instead and so they are tithing to us each month.
~Our Sponsorship Program is doing very well and has been a huge part in our success—especially since it allows our attendees to choose where they would most like their financial support to go.
- Chaplain Program: Our Lead Chaplains, Bryan and Harmony, read the Chaplain Mission Statement and then shared that the Chaplains are here to serve the Unity Community. Our Chaplains are trained in prayer, spiritual counseling, and hands on healing. He also shared that our Chaplains frequently look within to keep their relationship to God, Self, and Others healthy and whole. Bryan also shared briefly that our Chaplain Sacred Prayer Circle is still taking place and that we have a new Chaplain Meditation group.
- Music Program: Three Trees shared that we are getting great feedback on our decision to pay musicians a little more money and for having more guest musicians.
- Children’s Program: Harmony talked about how the Children’s Program is growing and how the kids are learning more and more about God. Harmony thanked the volunteers who help her and fill in for her when she has a Sunday off. She showed the water wheel mandalas that have been made to sell in our bookstore as a fundraiser to purchase a Yurt so the kids can have a permanent classroom. With that, a few people in the meeting decided to make a donation, which added $700 toward the purchase of a Yurt.
What we can expect to see in the future:
~We will continue to empower people even more to step up and become masters in their own right.
~We will continue to have an even smoother running staff with better office procedure.
~We will see to it that our bylaws empower our Members (since they are the actual owners of Unity of Sedona).
~We will continue to give support (in various forms) to people with lesser means. We now ask people who are asking us for money if they are willing to do the work to see why they have this pattern of lack. We don’t just hand out money, we try to help people move out of their current thinking processes that contribute to their situations.
~We will add even nicer foliage and touch up the property.
~We will continue to require more responsibility—inner work—of staff, volunteers, and attendees.
~We will continue to offer lots of events for FREE.
- Michael closed the meeting by asking: What have you folks seen or gained from any amount of time you have spent here at Unity of Sedona or with me as your Spiritual Leader?
~Frank Shapiro: I find immense value from Michael’s sermons because they bring insights into the human condition and always solve a struggle or a misunderstanding that I may be having—sometimes even affirming thoughts that I might have on spirituality that others don’t seem to get. Michael has a grasp of the meaning of spirituality and gives precise explanations so anyone can access these ancient wisdom teachings. And he does all this with humor, excitement, and love.
~Sandy: Collaboration: We are very grateful that our center is run with so much collaboration and that Michael constantly involves the other Board Members, Chaplains, staff, and volunteers to assist in making decisions.
~Sheryl Dahman: There is such a sense of family and community here at Unity of Sedona. Something that I haven’t felt in our former home in Colorado. Also, I feel so loved in our community. Friends back home tell me they feel so bad that I live so far away from family but I tell them that the people here at Unity are closer to me than any family I could ever have.
~Penny Genter: I have been a member of Unity of Sedona for 4-1/2 years and I have had the pleasure of seeing the growth and transformation that has taken place since Michael has become our Spiritual Leader. In addition to the enormous physical changes that have taken place on the property, there has also been a significant change in the growth of the congregation as well. What has evolved is a cohesive “family” that works together, learns, grows, supports, and shares loving awareness with each other, something that I have never experienced before. I am aware of the transformation of our entire community as we come into resonance with each other in Christ Consciousness under Michael’s inspired guidance.
~Three Trees: I have grown considerably since coming to Unity and listening to Michael’s messages and incorporating the wisdom gained from these teachings into my life. Even when the message reflects on points I have heard before, Michael shares them in a much deeper and yet applicable way. I have also grown to feel and love God more. There are so many opportunities that are opening up for me and I attribute a lot of this to the education I have received here at Unity.
~Margo Chapline: Since Michael has been here at Unity there is much more of a sense of community and connection; a more unified group of people attending.
~Linda Costello: When I first came to Unity of Sedona, I was struck by the amazing acceptance that I felt, and still feel, at our Center. I was so pleased to find a community of like-minded people, something that I struggled attaining for so many years. I always needed to do my personal work alone, but have now found a community at Unity of Sedona where I have the support of a group of people who welcome deep healing and growth.
~Suzanne Edwards (one of our senior members): I have been attending Unity of Sedona for several years and when I first began, I could feel a lot of pain in my body when I had to walk from the parking lot to the sanctuary. But in the last few years, the pain lessened and now is completely gone.
~Tara Ross: First of all I want to thank Unity of Sedona for hosting/sponsoring the Deva Premal concert. It was at the concert that I found the Unity literature and I’ve now been been attending the services ever since. Hearing Michael’s sermons has changed my life; it has been just what I was looking for. I searched for churches and spiritual centers in Sedona for years, and never found what I really needed until now. In fact, I have several friends who want nothing to do with churches but they ask to hear the CD recordings of the sermons that I bring home. Their lives are transforming and they can’t wait until I bring the next CD home.
Michael began thanking everyone for attending and was drawing the meeting to a close. But acting President, Bryan Lungo, walked up to the podium and said that we are all grateful that Michael is our Spiritual Leader at Unity of Sedona and that we have all grown and learned so much from him. Everyone stood up and applauded in agreement and in their appreciation for Michael.
- Michael thanked everyone for coming to the meeting and for all of their kind words and support.