Vitamin B1 – It Works If You Work It!

by Rev. Josephine Furlow (UUMS 1983) Remembers Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon

Sometime in the early 1970s, I was at the Hotel St. Regis in downtown Detroit when a tall, stately woman entered the room. All eyes turned in her direction. I heard someone whisper, “That’s The Reverend Dr. Johnnie Colemon of Chicago.” Like everyone else, I leaned forward as she approached the lectern. While I cannot call to mind exactly what she said that day, I do remember the power with which she spoke Truth. Her voice, like her presence, echoed throughout the room. On several more occasions when she came to Detroit to speak, I joined dozens of members of Unity and New Thought communities anxious to pick up any nuggets of truth she would drop. Her messages often centered around healing, the very reason she made her way to Unity School of Christianity in Unity Village, Missouri where she studied and practiced the principles of prayer, meditation, healing, and wholeness.  Shortly before she made her way to Unity, Rev. Johnnie had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. And, like Unity co-founder Myrtle Fillmore, Johnnie applied the spiritual principles that led to her physical and spiritual transformation. A I  sign I recently saw in front of a local church reminded me of those experiences with Rev. Johnnie. It read: “The Best Vitamin a Believer Can Take is B1.” Reverend Dr. Johnnie Colemon was one. She believed that we each have the power to transform ourselves through our thoughts, words, and actions. In her book, Open Your Mind and Be Healed, she wrote: “The people I was looking for were the Unity School of Christianity at Lee’s Summit, Missouri. There I journeyed, and there I gained the knowledge that gave me a new lease on life. I learned the law of creation, and that it works for me every time, on time. My only task was to apply it to daily life (p9).” There is no time better than the present to dust off the books by strong women like Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon, and to walk in their footsteps to the power, love, health, peace, and prosperity that are our birthright. As Rev. Dr. Johnnie would say at the end of her messages, “It works if you work it!”

Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon presents the award to Rev. Erma Henderson, the first African-American woman elected to the Detroit City Council. Rev. Henderson, known as one of the most powerful women in Detroit history, served several years as Council President. Rev. Josephine Furlow and Rev. Dr. Ruth M. Mosley worked on Rev. Henderson’s election campaign. Let us not forget the women of valor and fearlessness on whose shoulders we stand!

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