The Reverend Dr. Johnnie Colemon, often referred to as the first lady of the New Thought Christian Community, founded Christ Universal Temple (C.U.T.), a thriving, spirited and progressive New Thought Church in 1956. In 1974, she established the international organization of affiliated New Thought churches and study groups called the Universal Foundation for Better Living (UFBL).
"Johnnie", as the Rev. Colemon is affectionately called, celebrated fifty years of building and teaching in 2006. She has built six structures to spread the "better living" teachings: three churches, two institutions of learning, and a restaurant and banquet facility. The first church, built in 1962, was Christ Unity Temple; its addition was built in 1972. When the congregation outgrew the first church building, Rev. Colemon built and moved into the current Christ Universal Temple, located on the sprawling campus grounds at 119th Street (named Rev. Johnnie Colemon Drive in 1996) and Ashland Avenue in Chicago. Close to 3,000 people flock to CUT every Sunday and are taught how to think, rather than what to think.
Open Your Mind and Be Healed is not only the title of Rev. Colemon's book; it is her remarkable personal story and an introduction to the universal principles of healing. In 1953, after learning that she had an incurable disease, Johnnie enrolled in the Unity School of Christianity in Lee's Summit, Missouri. There, she received her healing as well as a teaching certificate, and she went on to become an ordained minister. Always a trailblazer, Dr. Colemon pioneered many "firsts" while at Unity, including being the first Black to live at Unity Village and the first to have been elected President of the Association of Unity Churches.
As a member of the International New Thought Alliance (INTA), Rev. Colemon served as the district president and the chairperson of the 60th INTA Congress held in Chicago. In 1979, she traveled to London, England to be the guest speaker at the Festival of Mind and Body, accompanied by her children's choir, the Youth Vibrations.
Rev. Colemon was an early pioneer in media ministry in the l970s. She appeared on a weekly telecast titled "Better Living with Johnnie Colemon," which aired in nine markets. She has since been a popular guest on radio and television and continues to be the subject of featured articles in major print publications.
Johnnie Colemon is the recipient of numerous honors and awards. This millennium began with the unveiling of her oil portrait, which hangs in the Martin Luther King, Jr. International Center at Morehouse College in Atlanta. She has been acknowledged for her work toward the advancement of the New Thought movement, and in the year 2000, she received the Ministry of the Century Award from the International New Thought Alliance (INTA). In 2002, she received Turner Broadcasting System's Tower of Power Award. Her alma mater, Wiley College in Texas, awarded her an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree. The Doctor of Humane Letters degree and another Doctor of Divinity degree were conferred upon Johnnie Colemon by Monrovia College and the Industrial Institute of the African Methodist Episcopal Church of Monrovia, Liberia, West Africa. And in 2003, she was awarded a Ph.D. in Humane Letters from Gospel Ministry Outreach (GMOR)
THE JOHNNIE COLEMON ORGANIZATIONS
Christ Universal Temple (CUT),where the Rev. Colemon served as Senior Minister until 2006, is a teaching ministry geared toward helping people change their thinking and change their lives. CUT teaches that WE ARE ALL ONE, recognizing that all people are children of God, and all humanity is one family.
The Universal Foundation for Better Living, Inc. (UFBL) is an international organization of affiliated New Thought (metaphysical) Christian churches, centers, and study groups founded by Dr. Colemon in June, 1974 and committed to spreading the abundant-living message of Jesus the Christ throughout the world. An ever-increasing number of churches and study groups comprise the UFBL. Current locations are throughout the USA, Canada, South America, and the West Indies.
The Johnnie Colemon Institute (JCI), chartered by the State of Illinois, is the teaching arm of the Universal Foundation for Better Living. JCI offers: The Better Living Program, teacher and counselor training, ministerial training, seminars, leadership training, and correspondence courses. Continuous enrollment is available in the Religious Studies Institute for Adult Learning.
The Christ Universal Temple complex also includes:
- 24-hour prayer ministry
- Books for Inspiration (the largest metaphysical bookstore in the Midwest)
- Youth department
- Restaurant & banquet facility
- Multimedia center
- Music department
- and a host of auxiliaries and programs