Monday, December 29, 2014

New Thought Pioneer, Dr. Johnnie Colemon Dies

This morning while browsing through my email I received notice that Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon, the 'First lady' of the New Thought Movement and Founder of Christ Universal Temple had died December 23, 2014 in Chicago. The notice said she was was 94. The irony is that she never would have wanted us to know her age.

A couple weeks ago just before Christmas, she and Dr. Helen Carey, her trusted friend and fellow minister at C.U.T., were heavy on my mind. Last week I asked a Facebook friend how the two were doing. She said they were both retired and enjoying life. I admired and like Johnnie Colemon. She was one of the most positive women I have ever met. It is so appropriate that she would make her earthly transition during this Yuletide season.

Johnnie Colemon loved Christmas. She loved Christmas colors, Christmas music, and Christmas decorations. At Christmastime, Christ Universal Temple, the mega-church she founded and built from the ground up, would be transformed into a winter wonderland. The choir would sing amazing Christmas songs along with other positive, beautiful music. My mother was a member of C.U.T. briefly in 1997 and I attended my first service there in December of that same year. Gladys Knight was visiting the church that day, along with her then husband, Les Brown. She sang, I Believe I Can Fly, along with the choir. The performance was so beautiful it brought tears to my eyes. Johnnie Colemon loved excellence.

If you Google her name you can read all about her outstanding religious, civic and business accomplishments. I prefer to reflect on my personal observations and interactions with this phenomenal woman. She spoke positivity without fail.She liked to be called "Johnny". She enjoyed teaching about Christ. Her ideas that Christ is actually a positive and powerful part of each of us, and that Heaven and Hell are a state of mind, made so much sense to me--and it still does. She was tall, statuesque and confident. She was very fashion conscious, feminine, and a snazzy dresser.  She brought in wonderful speakers and performers for her members and the community to enjoy at no charge. While visiting C.U.T. I had an opportunity to hear powerful speakers such as: Les Brown, Senator Barack Obama, and Sidney Poitier; as well as Gladys Knight, Della Reese, and Oprah Winfrey to name a few. I also had an opportunity to hear a youth day speech by former member, Christopher Bridges aka rapper Ludicris, who championed Johnnie Colemon as the inspiration for his success both as a performer and a businessman.

My own mentor and friend, Dr. Frances Parks, my professor at Chicago State University, was an ordained minister at C.U.T. She used those same positive principles as taught by Johnnie Colemon to encourage me and her other students. Johnnie Colemon was an influence on the success of many people.

"As above, so below – as within, so without". “I never will stop discovering all that God has put inside of me.  The greatest discovery that I made was to know that within every man, woman and child there is the Christ.  And, the Christ is God’s idea of Himself.  Now, when you stop and realize that all of God is inside of you and the only reason you are not expressing it is because you don’t know how.  When you realize that heaven and hell are not places; but they are states of mind.  Then, you realize when you are sick; you are in hell, when you are broke; you are in hell.  To be in heaven is to enjoy prosperity and prosperity does not just mean money.  Prosperity means love, health, joy, and peace – all the good things.  But, it does include money— so, I include money and I teach money because I need money in this world.  I have not learned yet to go in a store and give the lady behind the counter the affirmation that ‘God is the source of my supply,’ and I can walk out with my fur coat – it doesn’t work that way.” --Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon

May she rest in eternal peace.