College, Knowledge, and Gen Z: A Rocky Ride to a Great Future!

October 5, 2021

The pandemic has pushed many things back. For example, I’ve been involved with several delayed funerals because of COVID-19.

I know there have been many more traumatic experiences than what my 18-year-old daughter, Rachel, and I have experienced. But still, last year was a difficult one for Rachel in several ways. It was difficult enough to transition from Tulsa to Roanoke, but for Rachel to make it and then go into online classes was not easy. Even when she had days of in-person classes, lunchtime consisted of seven students per classroom. Rachel is part of Gen Z, so, naturally, all seven Gen Zers were wearing headphones or earbuds.

Rachel had no Junior prom. Not only did I have a Junior prom, but to get into my electronic bank account, I often had to tell my online banking system the first and last name of my Junior prom date if I wanted to see how much money was left. Also, with all of my older children, we visited potential colleges in their junior years; not so with Rachel. However, she was able to go online and start to plan.

That is why I was delighted that I was able to visit several colleges with Rachel late in August. She is making a pro-and-con list for the different schools, and I know she will spend this Fall and Winter writing applications.

My six-year-old daughter, Therese, has told me that she will not have to make college trips when she is a Junior because she will be “going to that college down the street (i.e., Roanoke College). And my husband and I will be living with you. And I will have 15 parrots and three babies. And Dad, you will have diaper duty,” Therese informed me.

I suggested to her that where she lives in the future might be a joint decision with her husband, and Therese told me, “Oh, don’t worry, Dad. My husband will want to live here.”

In light of all this college-related stuff, I decided to watch a new series – The Chair – on Netflix. The Chair is about a mythical American university (Pembroke University) which was once just a little bit below the Ivy League. However, Pembroke University has seen better days, and it is faltering in this era of significant changes. The Atlantic magazine has called The Chair “the best Netflix drama in years.” The Atlantic goes on to say that this “near-perfect show elegantly skewers the subject of free speech on campus.”

In many ways, Pembroke is hemorrhaging. Its enrollment levels are falling, and its financial future is bleak. Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim (played by Sandra Oh) is named to chair the English Department in this challenging environment. She is the first woman and non-white to chair the department. On her first day, the Dean calls her into his office and lays out the facts: Enrollments in the English Department are down by about 30%, and several tenured faculty members who are in their 70s “need to be retired.”

At Pembroke, many of the older faculty are having difficulty connecting with their Gen Z students. Things are pretty different now compared to even the students in the 1990s (I.e., the early days of the internet, emails, texts, and a world before social media). The English Department does have one relatively young rock star in Professor Bill Dobson (played by Jay Duplass). But his wife recently died, and Dr. Dobson is often drunk, high, and generally a mess.

To top it all off, during one semi-drunken lecture, Dr. Dobson talks about how high German culture sank to Nazi barbarity. He gives the Nazi salute several times, and a student records it. Dobson’s Nazi salutes and impersonating Hitler went viral, which led to protests demanding that “the fascist professor” be fired.

It is not easy for Dr. Kim to chair the English Department. Add to this a potential intra-department love relationship. But Dr. Kim tries her best to steer a course that upholds both economic realities and sound academic standards and goals. Doing this is often not easy, and I do not want to spoil the plot for you.

The acting, cinematography, and script for this series are excellent. Also, I think The Chair brings up some crucial issues currently facing academia. These issues include business realities, the shift to an online world, the role of women and non-whites at universities, so-called ‘Woke’ and ‘Cancel Cultures,’ and a profound change in sexual mores.

While I don’t deny any of the challenges depicted above, I believe there are good reasons to be optimistic about Gen Z and universities. Based on data from the Gallup organization, Pew Foundation, and Annie E. Casey Foundation, I think it is fair to conclude the following:

  • Gen Zers are highly resourceful and Independent. They tend to value freedom and responsibility more than even the baby boomers did back in the day.
  • While Gen Zers are highly diverse, they generally want a healthier work/life balance than previous generations.
  • Gen Zers often are more flexible than previous generations.
  • Gen Zers are incredibly technologically adept! They seem much more ready to face the “brave new world” than their parents and grandparents.
  • Gen Zers have deep concerns and compassion for other people. They tend not to be a “me” generation.

Yes, there are exceptions to the average. But there are reasons to have some faith in the future when we look at Gen Zers. Also, I believe that the next few years could be hard for some universities and colleges. But I also think that universities, in general, will be better at facing these challenges at the end of the day.

While I was still a student at Unity Institute and Seminary, I was asked to co-chair a task force that helped create the new Unity ministers educational program. Economic realities were pushing us to switch from a residential program to one that is primarily online. I hated making these changes for many reasons, and I am so glad that I experienced seminary as a residential program.

But there have been some real blessings created by online education. For example, suppose you lived in New Zealand and wanted to be a Unity minister? Before these changes, it was challenging and expensive to pursue this. Now with the online program, more people around the world can become Unity ministers. This shift will generate many benefits for the Unity movement – including making us more of a truly worldwide phenomenon.

There is a part of us that would like to see things remain the same. But the reality of the relative realm – this material world – is that change will always happen. When we have a strong link with our Higher Power, we often can help make this change flow for the best.

Many blessings,

Rev. Rick

The Book of Joy: Moving from the Negative to the Positive!

At the Sunday, October 3rd, 11:00 am in-person service and YouTube service, we will continue our exploration of “The Book of Joy” by The Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

“The Dalai Lama and Archbishop show us that a key ingredient in experiencing this Joy is the ability to move from the negative to the positive. This is more likely to happen when we are able to develop pauses between negative experiences and our responses. A number of years ago Coca-Cola ran an ad campaign with the slogan ‘the pause that refreshes.’ “The Book of Joy” shows us how to have ‘the pause that spiritually enlightens,’” Rev. Dr. Rick Belous comments.

Inspiration from Rev. Betty

God, Our Help in Every Need

Matthew 11:28 & 30 ~ “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest…for my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

During the time that Jesus spent on this earth, he taught that God is our Loving Parent and desires only good for us, His Children. It is not our Heavenly Father’s Will that any of His children should suffered. Jesus encouraged his followers by speaking words of hope and encouragement.

To be heavy laden is to be burdened with mortal beliefs and cares. At that time, the people were burdened by their beliefs and cares. Jesus showed compassion for them and gave them hope. He taught them the Truth of their being–that they were created in God’s Exact Image.

With all that is happening in the world around us, we might, indeed, feel heavily burdened; but I believe that Jesus meant his words of hope for then and for ever more.

Denial: I deny everything in this world that is unlike God.
Affirmation: I affirm all is Spirit. Only the Good is True.

Psalm 54:4 ~ “Behold, God is my helper.”

Provided by Rev. Betty A. Tarpley

Breath of God

04-14-2020 ~Inspirational Thought from Rev. Betty

Breath of God

We have just observed Lent, Palm Sunday, and the Easter Resurrection. This year, due to the pandemic, we haven’t been able to gather together for our usual observance. For me, during this time, I have turned to spiritual hymns, the Bible, and on-line services. One hymn, in particular, keeps going over and over in my mind—“Breathe on Me, Breath of God.” I share with you the first verse:

Breathe on me, Breath of God, Fill me with life anew,
That I may love what Thou dost love, And do what Thou wouldst do.

This reminded me of Jesus’ resurrection and when in the evening of the same day, the disciples were hiding, fearful of the Jews; and Jesus came and stood in the midst of them and said, Peace be unto you. John 20:19. And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and said unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost. John 20:22. This is an Aramaic idiom; “He breathed on them” means “he encouraged them.”

The disciples were discouraged when Jesus was crucified, but when he “breathed on them” after his resurrection, the disciples were empowered. At this time in our earthly journey, we can sing, read Scripture, and be encouraged, knowing we have the Faith, Peace, and Power to move through this experience. We include all people in our thoughts of Perfect Peace.

Isaiah 26:3 ~ “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee…”

Health Tip

There are many things we can each do to prevent the spread of viruses. One of the best things is hand washing. We are asked to wash our hands often with soap and water–before handling food or touching our face, after handling food, before and after contact with someone, before and after using the restroom, …. And we are told that we should wash our hands for at least 20 seconds. There are lots of 20 second songs to sing or hum as a way of timing the 20 seconds. ‘Happy birthday’ is one of them. How about singing the second verse, “God is blessing you now”. to get in a 20 second prayer boost while getting clean hands.

If soap and water isn’t available, use a hand sanitizer with a base of at least 60% alcohol. And, guess what? That should be rubbed vigorously for 20 seconds! You can affirm God’s blessing then, too!

Classes and Study Groups

We will continue to hold our Wednesday Prayer and Meditation. However all other groups are being held at the discretion of the facilitator. Please check with your facilitator. The office may not be aware of any recent change.

Blessings to Rev. Linda

As we bid farewell to Rev. Linda Taylor, we are profoundly grateful for her many blessings to our congregation and community in her eight and a half years with us.  Among her accomplishments are: helping us navigate through a major renovation and expansion, introducing a brilliant fundraising idea that paid for our new roof, creating and leading several year-long Disciples study groups, facilitating a Mastermind focus group that lead to a new and refreshed vision and mission statement and Spirit Groups, rigorously developing and monitoring a realistic budget, increasing our income by inviting new like-minded people to our church through hosting the annual Body, Mind, Spirit Fest, and gently but steadily moving us forward on our spiritual paths into a community-lead consciousness.  

Through all of this she remained open, accessible, and humble – a true demonstration and example of walking the path of Spirit.

We love and bless her as she continues to follow her own spiritual path, wherever that leads, knowing that we are better for her time with us and are also prepared for our next exciting step in spiritual evolution.  Because of her efforts, we are ready to welcome in a new leader that is our vibrational match.

Join me in sending love and blessings to Rev. Linda Taylor and her husband, Riley, as they begin their new, spirit-guided adventure back to Texas and family.  We are a better, stronger, more Spirit-led and capable due to her eight and a half years with us.  She is a shining example of walking the spiritual path with grace, humility, insight, vision, practicality, and intuition.  We send them on the wings of prayer, knowing that we are all held in the hands of God. 

Happy New Year to all,

Sue Frankel

President, URV BOD

The Forever Angels

A new study, a new book, a new challenge to what we think we know about life and death, reincarnation, and the life continuum. This presentation will both surprise and startle you! The book, The Forever Angels, Near-Death Experiences in Childhood and Their Lifelong Impact, is like nothing else you’ve ever read! It is a groundbreaking study of the lifelong effects of near-death experiences in the newly born, babies, toddlers, and children up to age five.

 P. M. H. Atwater, L.H.D., is a distinguished researcher of near-death experiences, prayer chaplain, spiritual counselor, and visionary. She is the author of 15 books including Children of the Fifth WorldBeyond the Indigo Children, and The New Kids and Near-Death Experiences. She lives in Charlottesville, Virginia. This event will include a PowerPoint presentation plus Q&A. Books will be available for sale.

 The Forever Angels

September 15, 2019



The Magic of Manifestation

The universe is always operating in divine balance and manifestation follows these universal laws. Learning this language will free you to create a life you are in love with. Join Deborah Steddom for a two-hour interactive workshop exploring the pleasures and pitfalls of creating your own reality.
Learn how to free yourself from old patterns; experience the power of your thoughts; and expand self-trust and understanding!

Workshop fee $20

Energy Healing Expo

Energy Healers of the Roanoke Valley, including some
of our Myrtle Fillmore Holistic Healing Center
practitioners, invite you to join us for an
 Energy Healing Expo
 April 13 1:00PM to 5:00PM
 Gathering Room
Come learn about and experience the many different
 types of energy and holistic healing available in the Roanoke Valley . We will have many different modalities available for you to experience including Massage,
 Access Bars, LaHoChi, Reiki, Spiritual
 Psychotherapy, and more!
We will be selling tickets for $20 for 20 minutes of services($1/minute for additional time) Gift certificates
 will also be available.