On New Year’s Day, which was a Sunday, I was blessed to be invited to participate in the White Stone Ceremony at Unity Temple in Detroit. As I prepared to go to the pulpit, I remembered my first experience with this service.
It was at Unity Village, Missouri. There I participated in that ceremony when it was led by David Williamson, the minister who created it for the Unity Churches. He was a unique, dynamic person who had recently retired as Senior Minister of the Unity Temple in Detroit. During that service, I was sitting next to the man who is still my best friend, Reverend Doug Lang. We were ministerial students. Reverend Doug knew David and his lovely wife, Gay personally. He, like so many of the truth students in the greater Detroit area, held Reverend Williamson in high regard.
As David opened the ceremony, he explained the power of namingand the vision that can be held as part of that process. He spoke of the un-named One in the Old Testament who was so powerful. It was believed that we would die if we used His name. David talked about the “I Am” consciousness and other ideas designed to help us grow in creativity and awareness of God, the Holy Spirit that lives in each of us.
After several minutes of testimony, David began to speak softly. He explained that each of us has a name that is of great importance in our life. That name is a person, place or thing and it will direct us toward our destiny. Then he led us in prayer and meditation. For me it was not a full meditation, it was a reflection, a time to hear the truth. I listened intently, then I began to hear the silence. David’s voice faded, the Fillmore chapel seemed to hold its breath; and I was surrounded by soft, warm light. All there was, was the Presence. No words–only the notable moment, the Presence. I’m not sure what there is about it, but even today, that Chapel at my Alma Mater, the Unity Institute is powerfully sacred
ground for me. In my heart I know it always will be.
The Bible tells about the awakening that occurred in “the burning bush” story (Exodus 3). In the same way, I was awakened as the Universe fell silent during the White Stone Ceremony. I was blessed to stand on sacred ground; I was blessed to know the Name. I was not afraid to be in the Presence of our Divine Creator, the One who loves me so dearly. Then again, God said that Name “I am the LORD.”
Toward the end of the ceremony, I took a pencil and wrote my new name on the white stone. As I listened, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob was in spiritual communion with me. As I sat there with my best friend, Doug and we completed our time together in the silence, the sun looked warm and inviting, so we stepped outside to catch a breath of fresh air and to allow the sense of well being to settle within us. It was an uplifting moment, yet, I knew it was not complete. Then Doug stepped up, and in his wonderful Michigan way said, “so what did ya write? I handed him
my white stone. After looking at what I had written, he said, “Oh man, there’s no way you’re gonna get that church, they have had the same minister for over twenty-five years.”
I thought about what he said for a minute, and then quietly answered, “That’s for today, Bud, just for today. Who knows who will be the minister in a few years?” Doug smiled at me, patted me on the shoulder, laughed his happy chuckle and answered, “Yeah, you’re right Dennis, tomorrow who knows, that’s a different day.” He handed my white stoneback to me and said, “Oh, by the way, you spell it L-i-v-o-n-i-a and it’s in Michigan, just down the road from my hometown of Ann Arbor.”
It was seven years later, but there I sat interviewing for the job of Minster of Unity of Livonia Church in Livonia. A man asked, “What makes you think you are supposed to be our Minister?”
I smiled at him and said, “Is anyone here familiar with Reverend David Williamson’s White Stone Ceremony? You see, I’m supposed to be here. God sent me.”
Now, do you know what freedom is? I do, I’ve been here for ten years!
Reverend Dennis is an Adjunct Minister who serves Unity in any way he can. You can reach him at (email@example.com)