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Abundant Life Spiritual Center: Doors Are Always Open

Mar 26, 2013 ● By Megy Karydes

Reverend Carol Saunders
Photo by Jonathan's Portraits

“What if you lived and loved without fear? If people knew how truly powerful and amazing they were, their lives would unfold in magnificent ways,” says Spiritual Director and Reverend Carol Saunders, the founder of Abundant Life Spiritual Center, in Deerfield.

She considers the center she started two-and-a-half years ago a way to wake people up and remind them of their divine potential, and their authentic and perfect self—an integral part of the community. Saunders says, “In our Sunday services and classes, we teach that God is love and a presence within, that we are masters of our own lives and here to bring light into the world. We love people as they are and support their spiritual evolution. We profoundly impact lives. The people in our community who apply our teachings to their lives unquestionably experience greater peace, abundance and joy and are able to navigate through life challenges powerfully.”

Starting a spiritual community like this is a dynamic, Spirit-led effort, she adds. “Like any creative endeavor, it can be invigorating and it can be messy. Having a big vision and also loving what is, is a tension that I must constantly embrace.”

Saunders realizes not everyone comes to the center with just one goal in mind. “The weekly church experience and community approach to spirituality go hand-in-hand for us,” she says. “For people who want church, we do that. For people who want community, we are that. Our Sunday celebration service is our main happening. It’s the place where we come together each week as a community and experience the activity and presence of Spirit as a community.”

Saunders says there is more to the center than the walls of the Sunday experience. “Our website is a regularly updated resource. We have spiritual classes, personal development classes and a meditation service. We provide connection and spiritual deepening in small groups, called Spiritual Life Groups. We develop and support spiritual leaders. We extend our ministry through social media and since we don’t own our own building, we often connect in prayer via conference call. People have busy schedules, so if someone is traveling, we might also use Skype, so they can participate in a class.”

Saunders also understands that some people expect their minister to be perfect, or at least seem perfect, but she discourages those expectations, saying, “I don’t put on airs. I am pretty transparent and I show my humanity to people, whether I am teaching a class or leading a Sunday service. The spiritual path is about becoming fully human—exploring and embracing the shadow and being willing to authentically express oneself. I do my best to model that.”

Services: 375 Elm St. For more information, call 847-337-3866, email [email protected] or visit Abundant Life Spiritual Center is affiliated with Unity Worldwide Ministries.