Great News to Share!
I am delighted to announce that Unity-Joy Abundantly Expressing Ministries has been approved as an alternative Unity ministry by the Unity Worldwide Ministries (UWM) Board of Trustees! Stay tuned for more news as I embark upon exciting ways of sharing and connecting with others as we all awaken to our spiritual essence of JOY and discover our own joyful expressions of this magnificent quality of being. A host of opportunities for you to join in are coming soon! I am inviting you to be a part of keeping the JOY going….so stay tuned… If you haven’t already done so, I would love for you to join my mailing list at dinahchapman.com to start receiving updates and the latest news on the launch of this NEW ministry! Let’s share more JOY and let JOY rise in our world!
Rev. Dinah Chapman, M.Div.
Within the first few months of seminary in 2013, I had the pleasure of taking an elective, and I was not quite sure what I was getting myself into. It was simply called the Peace Seminar and the description sounded interesting enough, about how we can create a world that works for everyone. Well, there were enough things happening in the world, that made me go hmmmm…. So how do we, who claim to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, engage in our world in a way that will allow us to shift to a higher way of being, doing, and having that alleviates suffering and the agonizing pangs of not enough-ness? It was a tough, challenging class taught by Dr. Shariff Abdullah, (center of photo) who has made his life’s work and spiritual practice all about inclusivity. Shariff Abdullah says in his book, Creating A World that Works for All,
“My work is my spiritual practice, and Commonway Institue is my principal vehicle for that practice. The institute’s focus is inclusivity – – teaching the theory, philosophy, and practice of the inextricable linkage between our individual lives and The Other. The links already exist; we just help people become conscious of them…We humans have much more that unites us than separates us. Commonly helps people see that.” (Chapter 3 Inclusivity–Spirit and Practice, page 63)
Little did I know that this class and this work would dig down into the core of me and resonate so strongly, so that years later I am still passionate about what Shariff Abdullah and Commonway Institute are doing. Through much of 2013, 2014, 2015, however, I could not understand the disconnect of seeing symptoms in our society of great dis-ease, fragmentation, and exclusivity driving the actions and reactions in our nation, and on the other hand seeing basically no higher ground operatives ready to meet the challenge of this atmosphere head on.
So here we are in 2017, and I asked myself “what’s changed?” We are all praying, asking what is ours to do, and finding our vehicles for taking action in some form of spiritual social activism in our own way. The headlines continue to be hurled at us ceaselessly and endlessly. I often hear within my own heart, ” do what’s in front of you.” Wherever we are working along the spectrum of healing the world, it is ALL needed.
Maybe this work of inclusivity is not sexy or glitzy enough for everyone to jump on the bandwagon in droves. However, I believe when enough people get sick and tired of being sick and tired…they’ll wake up and realize that instead of hacking away at the symptoms that are manifesting on the surface, we’ll begin to also work the deeper work of shifting our collective consciousness and awareness to the underlying spiritual aspects and qualities of our humanity and our divinity. Then we can find that pearl of great price — our linkage, our spiritual heritage that allows us to live in unified, divine harmony in the beloved community and be as One.
I’ve prayed, I’ve asked what is mine to do, and one thing is to bring people together who believe it’s possible to live, collaborate, dialog and make changes that come from a place of inclusivity and not exclusivity. Are you passionate about taking some action and don’t know where to start? A good place to start would be to engage in Dr. Shariff Abdullah’s Shadow-to-Light workshops. Working on a personal/individualistic level is fine if that is all you can do, however, working on the collective, greater system and institutional level is very much needed as well.
My action and activity over the next 12 weeks is to facilitate Dr. Shariff Abdullah’s powerfully transforming workshops called the Shadow-to-Light (S2L) Program, starting Sept. 5 at Unity of San Leandro in San Leandro, CA. There’s still time to sign up if you want to join in shifting the energy on the planet from the shadows to LIGHT……I will be the local lead facilitator inviting 12 other transformation catalysts to attend who also want to see a world transformed to higher ground. We need people from all walks of life, no matter your race, religion, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, socio-economic status, or political affiliation. For more information and to sign up, go to: unitysanleandro.org/special-events. We would love to have the synergy of face-to-face dialog, but if you are not near this workshop in the Bay Area or in your area, go to the online version of the workshop: Online Solo S2L Course
Together – Let us embrace and usher in the LIGHT!
Peace & blessings,
I am excited to be facilitating my first inclusivity workshop this weekend in Southern California at Unity of the Oaks, Sunday, February 19, 2017, 12 to 2 p.m. See attached flyer. If ever there was a time to engage and heal our world, it is now!
Greetings! As you probably recall, I graduated with a Masters of Divinity from Unity Institute and Seminary and was ordained as a Unity Minister June 9th at Unity Village. It was a joyous occasion! I am so grateful for all the support, encouragement, and prayers as I followed my heart and answered the call to ministry. Thank you to all who attended the ceremony and celebrations and to those who showed their love by sending cards and gifts! I am grateful and I know that I am blessed by your outpouring of true, genuine support.
I am currently working at my home church Unity Church of San Leandro in the northern California Bay Area as Associate Minister. Many have asked if I will continue singing. The answer is “Yes!” As a matter of fact, feedback from so many of you re-confirms for me that music is foundational for my ministry and most likely always will be. I am still available for singing engagements as well as speaking engagements.
Music is such a great part of how I express God’s gifts and the message of love and Oneness. I feel like my creativity is waking up from a long hiatus, which probably has to do with the right-brain research part of me working on overtime through school. Now, that the program is complete, there’s some blossoming and re-surfacing of my imagination faculty going on. HeartMath – TM experts say that when we are stressed our creative side shuts down. So I am doing a lot of walking and contemplating. When we access our hearts, our creative side blossoms!
I feel the joy rising!
So, …the eagle (me) has finally landed…I had to massage my cheeks from smiling so much. OH THE JOY! Again, I am so very grateful for all the outpouring of love. Already, I’ve had several opportunities to speak and sing. It is truly a blessing! Life is good!
On my birthday last year, I sat on the beach watching the waves roll in and out across the white sands of Bermuda. I wanted go some place special for my birthday, and so I did. I have been divorced for over 20 years, and strangely, I don’t feel lonely. There is a difference between “lonely” and “alone.” I believe life is what you make it, and if we don’t learn to celebrate what’s good in our lives we humans can end up “lonely.”
I don’t have to worry about outrunning “lonely” when I know that I can never really be alone. Everyone who crosses my path, I consider to be some unique manifestation of God’s love. The Presence of God is always surrounding, enfolding, and indwelling me. I did not always feel this way. I had to put some time into developing this awareness – – it took practice, practice, and more practice spending time getting still and quiet enough to receive the love that was pouring into my life. Nowadays, there is so much help to get us spiritually in tune and out of the reactionary, emotionally hijacked states with which we might have been conditioned as we were coming along in our childhoods. For me, spiritual growth has come in many ways and not always in a straight-line progression all the time, but perhaps a curvy line.
So as I took my Bermuda birthday beach walk, I had time to sit and just look at the ocean and the sky. I looked out as far to the horizon as I could, and I felt swallowed up in the vastness of space. I felt so tiny. I felt like I had the whole beach to myself and loved every minute of it. Gratitude welled up in me as I reflected on all the decades of my life, each decade was a huge leap in the right direction with many turns and missteps along the way. But overall, forward progress.
Actually, I spotted about eight of us on the beach that day; I remember two couples and a couple of joggers, and me. And then…I spotted this bird, undaunted by my presence and unmoved by the waves. I watched the bird. The bird seemed very focused on looking for the tiniest bit of seafood in the sand. This led me to focus on God as Infinite Source of everything and Jesus’ words about considering the lilies of the field and how they neither toil nor spin. This bird seemed so unconcerned about the possibility of a wave splashing upon it, or about any joggers coming toward it. Just as a wave would roll in, the bird quickly hopped up just in the nick of time and never got close to being splashed by a wave. “Good instincts!” I thought. Then I thought again, “noooo, it’s more than that; when you know how to fly, you don’t WORRY about the waves!”
I think I’ll take a lesson from this little bird and rise up and live as if I have the whole beach of life to myself in joyful freedom and not be worried about the waves of drama, despair, or loneliness. Wow!…all this from a little birdie on the beach. I was in good company that day on the beach.
I hope you had a wonderful, restful Labor Day weekend!It’s been a great summer! I really wanted to update my webpage more often, but by now I’ve learned that seminary takes a lot of my time. For 10 weeks, I was doing my church internship at Unity of Washington, DC. It was an amazing experience to shadow my mentoring minister, Rev. Sylvia Sumter, a visionary, who has had over 30 years experience in ministry to share with me. Rev. Sylvia opened the door and let me come right on in! Anything can arise on a given day that call upon her pastoral skills, administrative and financial, or community interfacing. The church is about to celebrate its 95th anniversary as well as Rev. Sylvia’s 30 years in ministry.
It was so valuable seeing their Love-In-Action teams, ministerial support, media team, usher/greeters, music ministry, bookstore operations, youth education, Next Generation Unity, Board of Trustees, and hospitality teams in action. There is truly a sense of community that is woven into the culture of this vibrant, giving community. I could feel their loving, prosperous, joyous, and spirit-filled passion and their belief in their mission. I had the opportunity to hold sacred space and participate in memorials, christenings, prayer and healing services, and give the Sunday morning message on July 12. I also got a chance to sing a couple of times. I will always treasure their warm, welcoming embrace and the encouragement they gave me all along the way! Unity of Washington, DC – you rock!!! Thank you for the flowers, and THANK YOU, AGAIN and AGAIN!