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A Year of Generosity...


Vicky2015

 

Meet Rev. Vicky Elder

Vicky has served as Minister of Unity of Monterey Bay (UMB)  since she was ordained in 1998 by Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM), after completing the Ministerial Education Program. She and her late husband, Rory, established UMB as a free-standing, independent church in 2000; it had previously been an “out-reach church” of Christ Unity Church in Sacramento for more than a decade. Vicky also serves as the Regional Representative for the West Central Region of Unity Churches; as well as on Unity Worldwide Ministries' Standards Team, Ethics Review Team, Credentialing Team, and Licensing & Ordination Team.

In addition to ministry, Vicky's other passion is her family. She has two sons, Travis & Kyle, a daughter & son-in-law, Brianna & Salvador Leavitt-Alcantara, and two grandsons, Mateo and Joaquin.

Prior to ministerial school, Vicky and Rory, along with Rev./Dr. Harold and Dr. Jeanne Johnson, founded the Life Enrichment Center, a community-outreach psycho-spiritual counseling center affiliated with Christ Unity Church of Sacramento. Vicky also served as a Program Manager for the State of California Attorney General’s Crime and Violence Prevention Center. In addition to her seminary certificate, she has a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling from the University of San Francisco; and a Master’s Degree in Urban Policy & Administration from San Francisco State University.

 

Minister’s Message

Our theme for 2017 is Being the Change by Living Our Truth.  And our Summer Quarter AFFIRMATION is:

Aligning my mind and heart with God, I am faith-filled and positive; I experience peace-of-mind, contentment, and gratitude as I choose to live my life in joy…

July 9 – Revisiting Prosperity

Most of you have heard me say – “I teach what I most need to learn.” It’s one of the many blessings of ministry…I not only get to, but I have to engage in spiritual Principle all the timeeven when I don’t want to (or more accurately, when my Ego doesn’t want to) – which is, of course, when I (we) need to the most).

I have the added advantage of a job full of tasks that serve as wake-up calls. Nothing can shift a mood or perspective faster than preparing to teach a class, or a Sunday lesson, or engaging in a spiritual counseling session – or even a Leadership Council meeting.

As Truth students, we all need to establish reminders and wake-up calls to bring our perspective back to Truth when we get distracted by the world; specifically to remember: if we want outer conditions to change, we need to shift our inner consciousness (putting our Ego-selves and sense-based reactions back in their proper place…)

The good news is, the more we practice living our Principles – the more second nature they become. We can actually program ourselves to have Truth be our “default” position. Through the consistent practice of – study, meditation, mindfulness, contemplation, denials and affirmations, and walking our talk – we can live from our higher-selves more and more…

Which means, when things start “going wrong” (i.e., not as we expected; And/Or we’re feeling victimized, helpless, frustrated, angry, lonely, fearful, and/or hopeless) – an internal alarm is triggered… because such negative thinking and/or feelings have become an anomaly for us, rather than the norm.

These wake-up calls prevent us from wasting a lot of time (progressively less and less) trying to fix things “out-there” because we more quickly remember that älife happens from the inside > out.  So, instead – we go within… to observe:

? Where is my consciousness right now? (am I living from God/Truth or from outer appearances?)

? Where is my faith focused? (on God/Truth or outer factors and conditions?)

? Am I in reaction to the outer circumstances? OR

? Am I in observer mode (allowing me to be consciously in creation of (choosing) my experience?

And sometimes, (with hands on hips), saying “I demand to see the blessing in whatever is going on…”

Shifting our perspective from outer to inner always has immediate results. And, while it may not instantly reveal the blessing(s), it will instantly shift our focus of attention – and that makes ALL the difference.

So – case in point. After being “in the black” for the past four years, the last couple of months have shown apparent “short-falls” in our church finances. The “objective facts” from our last year-to-date statement revealed that we are some $5000+ behind our 2017 budget projected income…

My first response was surprise. I thought I had/we had finally gotten beyond this challenge! I’ve done a lot of personal work on prosperity over the past few years – and I connect our church finances to my personal consciousness.

Which does not mean that I alone am responsible – this is clearly a both-and-and dynamic. But I do take responsibility for MY EXPERIENCE (in every aspect of life); even as, at times, my ultimate discernment may be “this is not about me…”

In this case, however, I fully believe that the structure of church/commUnity means MY consciousness, and the Leadership Council’s consciousness – on ANY church matter – are central to the collective conscious-ness of the community…along with all of us who co-create UMB.

So, my next response was, “Oh Shhhh…Fish twadles” (that was my mom’s alternative for the other expletive – which she said, meant the same thing, but didn’t get her in trouble – it's ALWAYS GOOD to laugh!)

My monkey-mind started assessing all the data; I spent a couple of hours poring over the financial reports, the budget-vs.-actuals, etc… My thoughts went to:

> we’ve had some folks move away;

> attendance has been down this month…

> Sunday offerings, and “regular tithes” are down

> are we (am I) doing something wrong? Yada yada yada

> In other words, I was looking through the lens of appearances and FEAR… 

But then, I stopped…I took in a deep breath and let it out with an audible sigh, remembering one of the definitions of FEAR: False Evidence Appearing Real.

WAKE-UP CALL! My internal alarm was being triggered by this anomaly of feeling fear around finances…something I’m no longer used to feeling… I went within and observed:

? Where is my consciousness right now? What is my/our Source? Is it the folks who’ve moved away; or even our regular tithers?

? Where is my faith focused? Do these numbers and reports represent the Truth?

It’s time to shift my perspective…I KNOW the TRUTH:“life happens from the inside > out…” meaning these outer appearances of seeming lack and limitation are the result of thoughts I have been holding in mind…

I know this is true – even though I’m wasn’t presently aware of having had negative or fear thoughts about my – or our commUnity’s finances…

I reminded myself that the data revealed in these reports I’d been poring over is just that – “data” – “information”…

I immediately denied the power of such appearances (or my budding fears) to suggest there is lack or limitation in God.

I affirmed the TRUTH that God is my Source; God is our UMB Source AND there’s ALWAYS ENOUGH!

In the past – when our CommUnity were challenged with prosperity issues – we (i.e., the Leadership Council and I )engaged in all the normal reactions…

1) We worried, we discussed, we brainstormed…but mostly we worried… (over 50% of every Council meeting was spent on finance/budget issues)…

2) We shared our worries with the congregation… making monthly (or weekly) reports of our status – with a hope it would create increased giving…

3) We made the common false assumption that “we needed more people” in order to bring in more money – in order to thrive…

The one common denominator of these “reactions”and their shared fatal flaw is – they’re all focused OUT THERE!

So, the good news is – except for a few short hours – I didn’t go “out there” this time… And, when I presented the report to our Leadership Council – we collectively shifted fairly quickly to a commitment to “re-boot” our individual and collective prosperity (– and even more importantly – our faith) consciousness, which we have begun and will continue to do…

It was interesting to experience the collective effects of our individual thoughts and reactions. We got to experience first-hand what it means to support one another in knowing the Truth in spite of appearances to the contrary – (as we affirm here every week)…

I want to be clear – there’s nothing wrong (and in fact, everything right) to LOOK at WHAT IS…

> to gather all the information…including any changes that have occurred;

> to confirm that proper administrative practices are in place (i.e., good stewardship of our resources); &

> to consider new and innovative approaches to better achieving our purpose and mission…

The key, however, is to take all this information, without making snap judgements, assumptions, or conclusions (wo/ mistaking it for “Truth” vs. “facts”) –  AGAIN – remembering that our prosperity (like every-thing) is ALL and ALWAYS about consciousness

So, we reground ourselves in this Truth, and shift our focus from the outer appearances (and responses) to reflecting on our INNER consciousness;

We affirm our faith in God as our Source; trusting that as one channel of good seemingly dries up – another opens…

I was also reminded (by reviewing the data wo judgments) that many of our “prosperity channels” over the past few years have been totally unexpected and NOT included in our budget projections…

But let’s get back to the underlying message of this lesson – which is my new insights on prosperity (in every meaning of the word)…

And how my initial reaction of worry/fear to some unexpected appearances (in this case – our financial äreports) – served as a wake-up call, because such negative thinking/feelings about finances have become an anomaly for me, rather than the norm.

It was a reminder to “check my consciousness” and my “faith-focus.” Going within allowed me to observe my ego/fear-based thinking rather than live in it… and thus to discern the "fake-news out there" that had distracted me from the Truth…

What I realized is, that while I haven’t been specifically focused on financial worries or fears – I have been worried about politics, government, and our nation's current trajectory in what appears to me to be “the wrong direction.”  

And even as I have demanded to see the blessings in all of it – and have discovered invaluable lessons, insights, inspirations – and spiritual growth…

I’d forgotten that the universe doesn’t distinguish one fear from another (e.g., “financial from politics or 4health); it’s all simply FEARthe energy that displaces our experience of LOVE, TRUST, FAITH (in God the Good), and yes, PROSPERITY.

It’s ALL connected…So even as… we give thanks, knowing ALL the financial and human resources – necessary to fulfill our divine purpose – are being provided now – with Clarity, Focus, Ease, and Grace!

I/we must expand our FAITH/KNOWING to ALL THINGS (for me…particularly politics, government 4policies, and world affairs), keeping my eye single, focused only on God’s Good.

And I’ve discovered the most powerful way to do this is äto focus on how I can BE the fullest expression of this GOOD –  God’s Love, Wisdom, Peace, Joy, and Oneness – in my life and in the world…  Walking the talk (the Truth); doing what is mine to do; and releasing ALL that gets in the way…

Namasté