When Rev. Deb Hill-Davis joined Unity of Ames as senior minister, she noticed the church had a sort of “mission statement” shared each week but was lacking a vision or core values. She mentioned this at a board meeting and was met with silence. She elaborates, “It seemed like I had asked the group, ‘Who would like to have a nice cup of poison with me?’ No takers! So she created a Manifestation Mandala, a graphic of a lotus with five petals, and asked people to write on each petal how they shared their time, talents and treasures to manifest “a better church and a better world.’ It was interesting!
It quickly became apparent that many projects were “championed” by the congregants and the church. After a few years, Rev. Deb again mentioned “core values” at a board meeting. It seems a few of the members had a bad taste in their mouths after working towards core values in the workplace. Rev. Deb spent time in meditation, and the words “Points of Light” came to her. “What if we went through a process to identify what it is that lights our path as we make decisions together as a board?” she thought. Presenting this to the board gained a positive response, and she eventually led a day-long retreat to discover their “Points of Light.”
Rev. Deb explains the process, “First, we spent time in pairs, expressing our appreciation for one another. Then we spent time discussing our mission statement, “Through the Christ Spirit in us, we create a better church and a better world. So be it!” We explored what it meant to each of us and to the congregation, and we shared this together. Then I presented the group with a grid of four columns with these questions: How Do We Spend Our Time? Where Do We Spend Our $$? What Common Themes We Can See? and What Gives Us the Most Joy? with six lines under each question.”
These sessions led to the conclusion that Unity Church of Ames has six Points of Light: Love, Collaboration, Inclusion, Connection, Transformation, and Abundance. Rev. Deb noted, “What was magical, mysterious and wonderfully spiritual about this process is that the six words just emerged. They revealed themselves as we talked, recorded our thoughts and walked through the process together. And all the items under each point of light fell easily into place.”
We are now looking at ways to creatively display and share these as part of our 25 Anniversary celebration, with energy and input from the whole spiritual community. The six actual words are not the product of our work, they just accurately reflect who we are and what we do. They are truly our “Points of Light” and the Board has used them to guide decisions and discernments for Unity Church of Ames.