According to a December letter sent out to Colorado EcoSpiritual Center followers, Rev. Lawrence Palmer will be stepping down at Unity Church in the Rockies, after serving as lead minister there since 2002.
The board has asked CEC leader Rev. Ahriana Platten to serve as acting minister for a one-year period beginning Jan. 1. Her first service will be Sunday, Jan. 2 at the church at 1945 Mesa Road.
Unity Church in the Rockies is the only local Unity faction, which had its beginnings in the Springs in 1922. According to unity.org, the home website for the movement, "Unity is a positive, practical, progressive approach to Christianity based on the teachings of Jesus and the power of prayer. Unity honors the universal truths in all religions and respects each individual's right to choose a spiritual path."
This approach should fit nicely with Patten's work through the CEC, an "inclusive spiritual community ... informed by the ecospiritual understanding that nature is a Divine emanation and, as such, is sacred and holy" — in fact, Unity has acted as host to some of the CEC's open-to-the-public events, such as the recent Interfaith Thanksgiving, and Platten guest-speaks at the church a handful of times per year.
The letter, written by Platten, reads as follows:
Harvesting the Future
I would like to make a special announcement - and you have to read the story first!
Every year, in February, I teach a class about blessing the seeds of the future. I lead people through the act of choosing actual seeds to represent goals and desires they’d like to manifest. When the choosing is done, each person places the seeds they’ve chosen in a medicine bag and wears that medicine bag at heart-level, filling the seeds of the future with love and envisioning a bountiful harvest to come in the fall.
Last year, I taught this class in six different locations, as close as in my own living room, and as far away as Omaha, Nebraska. I made my own medicine bag before the first class and used it as a demonstration piece for all the classes I taught.
By the time the last class was complete, my medicine bag has disappeared.
I called everywhere I had been, searched high and low — and ultimately came to the conclusion that Spirit must be suggesting that things should stay as they were for awhile. I assumed it was a year to finish up projects, take care of old “crops” and let the fields of my life lie fallow for a season.
Things had begun shifting last spring and the goal I placed in my medicine bag when I made it was that I would find the answer to the question “What is next on my path” by the time harvest season rolled around. I assumed, since the medicine pouch had disappeared, that whatever I was doing then was exactly what I was supposed to be doing and new growth was not on the horizon.
Spirit has a great sense of humor!
Move forward in time with me to this October — Harvest Season. My very dear friend, Rev. Lawrence Palmer, from Unity Church in the Rockies, informed me of his plans to step out of congregational ministry. He explained that he had served church communities for 36 years and is now being led to step out of this form of service into something new. I told him I would support him anyway I could.
A week later, I was scheduled to speak at Unity Church during the season of Ancestors. The date had been prescheduled many weeks before our conversation so I thought nothing about being there that morning - and I had no idea what was about to occur.
To understand the significance of what I am about to share, you must understand that I speak at Unity Church four or five times a year, on the average. In 2010, I spoke at the church five times.
When I arrived that October morning, I did as I always do: I set my sermon notes on Lawrence’s desk and sat down to review them before the first service began.
There, in front of me, on Lawrence’s desk, was my missing medicine bag (9 months after I lost it!).
Lawrence was in Kansas that morning so I called him and asked, as nonchalantly as I could, how long my medicine bag had been on his desk. “Since last spring” he said. How was it that I had not seen my medicine bag the four other times this year that I sat at Lawrence’s desk?
The obvious answer is, “it wasn’t time yet.” The timing of a harvest is everything. Harvest too early and the fruit is bitter and hard. Harvest too late and the fruit will spoil. I found my medicine bag at exactly the right moment to harvest the answer to my question.
Unity Church in the Rockies is “next on my path.”
Lawrence will take his leave in a few weeks and the Board of Trustees has invited me to serve as “Acting Minister” for a period of one year, beginning January 1st, 2011. At the end of the year, we’ll see what happens next. It will be up to the congregation to decide whether they’d like me to stay or not.
My first service is Sunday, January 2nd, and I’d love to have you join me as I move forward into this new adventure. Please “save the date.”
If you are here in the Colorado Springs area, the church is located at 1945 Mesa Road, and there are two services, a contemplative service at 9 am and a higher-energy service at 11 am. Your friendly face would be very welcome as I step into this calling.
If you are out of the area, each weekly service will be available online a few days after it occurs: www.unityrockies.org.
For now, I am resting while I can, finishing up other projects, and planning for this journey. My deep commitment to ecospirituality remains strong and I intend to continue my community outreach on this topic.
In this season of thanks and reflection, I am grateful for the Mystery that is God/Goddess/ All That Is — and grateful for the wondrous and magickal way the future is revealed to us. I am grateful for the final harvest, and for its ability to nourish us through the coming darkness of Winter.
As always, I look forward to sharing sacred space with you!
Soon-to-be Acting Minister, Unity Church in the Rockies