Schedule of Activities for
Monday, October 2nd
Extended Prayer and Musical Meditation
with Sahffi and Daniel Kepel
10:20AM Comfort Break / Movement Break
“Nurturing the Soul Through Coffee,
Connection and Renewal”
Facilitated by Rev. Cherie Ruffo and Meico Whitlock
Presented for a Love Offering
The “Nurturing the Soul” session is designed for seekers who want to prioritize their self-care and connection with others on the spiritual path. In this session, participants will engage in activities that promote relaxation, mindfulness, and personal reflection, as well as have the opportunity to connect and get to know one another. Through guided meditation and renewal practices, attendees will learn how to more deeply integrate self-care into their schedules and commit to habits to support their overall well-being. During this session we will have breakout prayer rooms for those wishing one on one prayer support.
Interactive group discussions will allow participants to share their experiences, learn from one another, and build a supportive community. By the end of this session, participants will leave feeling refreshed, recharged, and inspired to continue their spiritual work with a renewed sense of purpose.
REV. CHERIE RUFFO
Reverend Cherie Ruffo is the co-founder and Minister of Unity Radiant Light. Her journey with Unity began when she was 23 at the Unity Church of Honolulu. When she walked in, she felt complete unconditional love and acceptance and knew she was home. She soon found the Unity Ministries to be an open-minded, accepting spiritual community that honors all paths to God.
Leaving Hawaii several years later to return to the mainland, Cherie found herself settled in New England. In 2008, she made the decision to embark on a new career with Unity Worldwide Ministries and co-founded Unity Radiant Light in Providence, Rhode Island.
Cherie’s appetite for learning about spirituality is voracious. She is an ordained Unity Minister and is currently studying at Damanhur in Italy and with Universal Life Tools with Master Teacher, Simone Matthews, and many other schools of thought.
Meico Marquette Whitlock
Meico helps changemakers create work-life and tech-life balance so they can do their best work better while living their best lives. He is the founder and CEO of Mindful Techie, author of the Intention Planner, and a certified mindfulness teacher.
Through speaking, training, and coaching, he facilitates transformative experiences that foster wellbeing in a hyperconnected and distracted world.
He has worked with organizations such as the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Cigna, and Greenpeace, and has been a featured speaker on ABC News, Fox 5, and Radio One. He’s a former triathlete, loves salsa dancing, and makes the world’s best vegan chili!
Meico has been a member of Unity of Washington, DC since 2011. He is an active lay leader who co-facilitates the young adult group (Next Generation Unity), is a member of the book club, and has leveraged his background in communications and technology to advise the ministry on how best to leverage digital technology to expand the church’s online reach.
He holds an M.S. in Information Science from the University of Michigan and a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from Morehouse College.
Music Lessons, Life Lessons: Exploring Our Words and Voices in One Great Tapestry
Facilitated by Sahffi and Daniel Kepel
Presented individually for $47 or as part of the full conference.
This interactive presentation is designed for everyone, empowering the embodiment of one’s own authentic voice. Regardless of your comfort with speaking or singing, the world needs your voice! The only requirement is the ability to breathe.
Our primary objective is to deepen participants’ understanding of how our bodies function as musical instruments. Through music and singing, we aim to help individuals address energetic and emotional barriers, promoting movement and healing.
Singing empowers us, allowing us to embrace our authentic voices and find strength within ourselves. We emphasize the importance of adding one’s voice to the collective “musical” tapestry that shapes our world.
Sahffi and Daniel, experienced music teachers and performers with a spiritual perspective, will guide and inspire participants through a collection of thought-provoking songs and musical pieces that align with the conference theme. Together, we will explore the four key words: reveal, release, rejoice, and renew, sharing our personal journeys and teaching experiences.
As we have discovered through our own paths and interactions with others, singing serves as a powerful tool of self-discovery and breaking free from limitations. By embracing our true selves and offering our true voices to the world, we tap into our personal power and contribute to the harmonious unity of humanity. Music serves as a grounding force, allowing us to connect with our bodies and live fully in the present moment.
Our underlying message is that the key to a thriving humanity lies in cultivating our core identity and expressing it fully. Each of us is a unique instrument, divinely created in all our beauty. While we share a common origin, it is only by weaving our individual threads together that we can create the resplendent tapestry of the Universe. Collaboration amplifies the magic of creativity, and by discovering and embracing our unique voices, we enrich the “Universal Choir.” By acknowledging and respecting each other’s individual spirits, we can harmonize in perfect vibrancy.
Throughout the two-hour presentation, participants will engage in a collective singing experience, starting with the Unity congregational song, “Weave” by Rosemary Crow. This song beautifully represents the concept of community and celebrates the embrace of individual diversity.
Sahffi and Daniel will take turns leading and sharing their personal experiences related to each of the “R Words” – Reveal, Release, Rejoice, and Renew and make them “OUR Words.” These concepts will be explored accompanied by a selection of familiar Unity tradition songs and original compositions. Participants will have the opportunity to sing along, comfortably participating from their own spaces.
Sahffi Lynne (they/she) is an international medicine musician, vocal coach, retreat facilitator, and music meditation guide, offering their music, meditations, and teachings as medicine to illuminate our connection to our own divine inner knowing. With a performance degree from The Peabody Conservatory of Music, a #1 house music song in South Africa, six independently released albums, a 2015 Individual Artist Award in Solo Performance from the Maryland State Arts Council, and a 2022 Baker Artist Award nominee, Sahffi sings songs channeled through them with a passion to open and connect hearts around the world. Sahffi is honored to teach private voice lessons for those ready to release their singing voice and their fears using Sahffi’s own “Vocal Ladder” teaching method in their online vocal studio, “Vocalize Your Soul.” https://www.sahffi.com
Mr. Daniel Kepel
Daniel Kepel (He/him) AKA ‘The Singing Violinist’, is a singer-songwriter, musician, performer, and teacher, with a passion for positive music, and an eclectic style all his own.
Classically trained in London and Cambridge, England, he now serves as Music Minister at Unity in the Seven Hills in Lynchburg, VA, and teaches violin, viola, and voice. His intention is to spread peace, positivity, and personal power through his ministry and the message of his music. He is in demand as a musician and speaker, and regularly travels to other Unity churches, accompanied by his lovely wife, Paula.
“Where Do We Go From Here?”
Facilitated by author Jan Phillips with Special Music from Sahffi and Daniel Kepel
Presented individually for $57 or as part of the full conference.
Throughout time, hundreds of creation myths have been passed down to every culture, religion and tribe in existence. What you believed was determined largely by where you lived. But now, for the first time in history, science has verified a creation story that is true for everyone. Sensitive radio telescopes have detected cosmic background radiation waves that have emanated throughout space since the Big Bang, nearly 14 billion years ago.
We do not have to make up stories about where we came from. We are all from the same source, all made of stardust—all evolving—expanding in consciousness as the universe itself expands in immensity. The astrophysicist Carl Sagan, one of our most revered public scholars, put it like this: “The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.”
While we know from science what is true about our beginnings—that we’re children of the cosmos—some believers cling to mythologies from a pre-Biblical era, when everyone thought the Earth was flat. Some worship a God who pulls all the strings and makes everything happen. They pray to an Almighty Being dwelling in the heavens whenever anything goes wrong, singing He’s got the whole world in his hands. But the truth is: we’ve got the whole world in our hands. This is our home to care for.
What if we stopped saying “I am not worthy” and started saying “I am responsible.” What if we stopped calling on God to feed the poor or tend to the sick and took it upon ourselves? What if we stopped saying racism isn’t so bad because it’s right there in the Bible, or homosexuality is wrong because the Bible says so, or women should be subordinate because it’s right there in St. Paul? What if we took it upon ourselves to create a climate of safety and justice?
Many youth are straying away from churches because they find no integrity there. No vitality. No connection to the needs of the community. And many adults are leaving for the same reasons. When we look out over this landscape, these questions come to mind:
- How do we adjust our focus to reckon with the immanence of Divinity?
- How do we create communities of faith that are socially-relevant and environmentally responsible?
- How can we distinguish “religion” (inherited dogma) from “faith”
(self-created spiritual commitments) and connect the dots between creativity,
spirituality and inspired action?
- How can we inspire daily spiritual practice in the lives of our members?
- As spiritual leaders, what kind of communities need we create to foster
growth and kinship during these times of change?
- What do we need to “give up” in order to have the time/energy to create the new?
The German mystic Meister Eckhart wrote that “the process of enlightenment is a process of subtraction, not addition.” Perhaps it’s time to lay down some burdens, stop reading books and listen to the Spirit moving through ourselves and others, let go of how it’s been all these years and realize that, since Covid, we are constructing the world anew.
These 2 hours with Jan Phillips, a visionary leader and master at group pondering, will keep your heart open and your brain cells hopping. You’ll be inspired by video, music, poetry, silence and storytelling as you face the questions coming at us from all directions.
 Carl Sagan, The Cosmic Connection: An Extraterrestrial Perspective. produced by Jerome Agel. (Anchor press/Doubleday, Garden City, NY, 1973) 189-190.
Jan Phillips is a thought leader who connects the dots between spiritual intelligence, evolutionary creativity, and social transformation. She is the author of eleven award-winning books, has taught in over 25 countries, and has published work in the New York Times, Ms., Newsday, People, Parade Magazine, Christian Science Monitor, New Age Journal, National Catholic Reporter, Sun Magazine, and Utne Reader. Her memoir, Still On Fire—Field Notes from a Queer Mystic, was released by Unity Books in October 2021.
She has performed with Pete Seeger, presented with Jane Goodall, sung to Gladys Knight, and worked for Mother Teresa. Her books have been endorsed by Gloria Steinem, Jean Houston, Barbara Marx Hubbard and Joanna Macy.
Jan teaches throughout the United States and Canada, facilitating retreats on evolutionary faith and prophetic action. Her quest has taken her into and out of a religious community, across the country on a Honda motorcycle, and around the world on a one woman peace pilgrimage. She has produced three CDs of original music, several videos, and a seven-hour audio program called Creating Every Day.