~ Reverend Laurie Brandt ~
I came to Unity over 30 years ago feeling like the proverbial candle in the wind. Through Unity, I learned spiritual principles with which I could create the life I desired rather than merely try to survive life as it fell haphazardly into my lap. I was thrilled to discover a God that desired not my worship and trembling obedience, but my greatest good! In Unity, I learned I was not only God’s beloved creation but was also endowed with divine qualities I could nurture and utilize in practical ways. Coming from a religious background where I was proclaimed a “poor miserable sinner” on a weekly basis, Unity was a stunningly bright light in an otherwise gloomy and fearful existence. And it changed my life! Not overnight, of course, but as I attended classes, workshops, and services and learned spiritual principles and how to use them, I gradually evolved into a confident, empowered woman, eager to share these life-changing ideas with others.
I’ve taught Unity classes and workshops, shared my hands and affirmative prayer in healing services, served on Unity boards and committees, and most important, continue to integrate and practice the principles in my own life and work. Called to serve, I completed my Licensed Unity Teacher credentialing in 2009 while serving as part-time spiritual leader of a Unity congregation. My training and experience in numerous healing venues have attuned me to the energetic dynamics of life and spirituality. Extensive experience in the business world affords me practical insights that can be engaged to support spiritual evolution.
Now, these many years later, it's still pure delight to share Unity ideas and spiritual principles with others so they, too, can be empowered. Ultimately, it's my passion for these amazing, transformational spiritual ideas as well as a desire to make a difference in the lives of others that drive me.
The wind beneath my wings is Lee Brandt. We have shared over 20 never-boring years together as we navigate and celebrate life in all its various shapes and forms. We reside in Savage, a scant 1.5 miles from Unity of the Valley, and serve as faithful staff to our two furry, four-legged felines, Yuri and Boots.
Are you planning a life celebration ~ a wedding, memorial, Christening, or the like? It would be an honor to support you in the process and officiate your celebration. To discuss a special service, please contact me directly regarding dates, details, and costs. Personal pastoral counseling is also available and scheduled on an appointment basis.
Rev. Laurie Brandt ~ RevLaurie@UnityoftheValleymn.org ~ 952-849-9109 (text preferred)
Article in the Savage Pacer, March 16, 2017
New spiritual leader at Unity of the Valley steps up to the podium
By Britt Johnsen
Photo by Britt Johnsen
Rev. Laurie Brandt is the new leader at Unity of the Valley Spiritual Center.
Long before Savage resident Laurie Brandt became the minister at Unity of the Valley Spiritual Center, she was a student.
The student, as they say, became the teacher.
On Feb. 1, Brandt became known as Rev. Laurie Brandt to the congregation at the transdenominational church that describes itself as a “positive, practical, progressive approach to Christianity based on the teachings of Jesus and the power of prayer.” Unity of the Valley is a part of the larger Unity Worldwide Ministries, which operates on the same spiritual principles.
Brandt is the church’s first official leader for quite some time. From August 2015 until she arrived in her full-time position Feb. 1, congregants and volunteers filled in where they could. Before that, she said, two leaders had been in the minister role on an interim basis but only stayed for a short time because it wasn’t a good fit. Prior to that, founding minister Rev. Audrey Peterson had held the position for more than 20 years, from February 1990 to October 2013.
Peterson is how Brandt came to know Unity of the Valley. A Savage resident since 1991, she came to the center for classes on topics such as prayer and prosperity. Later, after becoming an ordained minister of healing and licensed teacher through Unity Worldwide Spiritual Institute, she landed at the Savage center as a guest speaker and a workshop leader. This happened while she was the leader at the Unity in the Heart of the Twin Cities church in St. Paul, where she worked for 12 years before coming to Savage.
“Every time I came, I just felt so comfortable here,” she said.
When she would visit the Savage center as a guest speaker or a workshop leader, people would ask her to apply for their open ministerial position.
“I saw that, in many ways, as spirit nudging me,” she said.
Originally from West Bloomington, Brandt has a varied background. She has worked for a Hennepin County commissioner; in sales and marketing at companies such as Best Buy and Whirlpool; and she has worked as a massage therapist. She’s also certified in Healing Touch, a type of complementary medicine called energy work.
She started out her life in the Lutheran church and even went to a Lutheran parochial school, she said. She said she felt confused often because, in that doctrine, God was loving and “decimated whole armies.” But when she found Unity, which was by way of a seminar about how a person’s mindset can affect their lives, it began to change her life for the better, she said.
And now, here she is, back in Savage.
“I finally started listening to spirit,” she said. “And the rest, as they say, is history.”
Growing the center
Since arriving to her role at Unity of the Valley, Brandt says she’s kept busy.
“I’ve been meeting with a lot of people,” she said.
The center has five employees but “many dozens” of volunteers, she said. On a given Sunday, the church estimates it takes 27 volunteers to run a service. There are typically 70-80 people at a Sunday service, she said.
All organizations need centralized leadership, she said, for everything from spiritual direction to practical management.
“Churches need management like companies do,” Brandt said.
Given that fact, she said she’s “amazed” at how well people have done without centralized leadership.
Still, Brandt said, it’s not all about her. When people turn to her, she reminds them they are going to work together.
“It’s not my vision, it’s our vision,” she said.
This includes people such as the office administrator, Jeanne Henderson. She’s been part of the team of people who saw the center without a leader.
“[We’re] extremely excited to have a new leader,” she said. “We’re really hoping to grow and prosper.”
Brandt said she’s “excited and I’m very gratified.”
“I am excited to see where we can go together, where we can grow together,” Brandt said.
More about Unity
Unity of the Valley is part of a spiritual philosophical movement simply called Unity that was started by a married couple by the name of Charles and Myrtle Fillmore in the late 19th century. Unity is based on the teachings of Christ, insists that there is one divine presence in this world, and uses the Bible as its holy book.
However, Unity also draws from other religions, as well as from philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle and even Ralph Waldo Emerson. It also doesn’t take the Bible completely literally, and the stories in the Bible are interpreted as “allegorical or metaphysical,” Unity of the Valleys' founding minister, Rev. Audrey Peterson, explained to the Savage Pacer in 2013.
Unity teaches that divinity is within every person, and it is in everything on Earth. It is up to an individual to find that divinity within oneself and others, and to express that divinity in a way that benefits humanity and leads to true happiness.
While a large part of Unity is helping people find their own spiritual path, members don’t mind if that path doesn’t include Unity.