Someone You Might Like to Meet
Reverend Patrick McAndrew
Every month on the front page of this newsletter there appears an inspiring editorial article signed simply, Namaste, Rev. Patrick. If you are anything like me, you read these articles because you know some bit of enlightenment, some word of wisdom, some kernel of truth will touch your heart mind and stimulate greater goodness within you. And, you too may have curiosity about the Rev. Patrick. Who is he anyway?
If you’ve visited the Unity Spiritual Life Center you’ve more than likely seen Reverend Patrick McAndrew. He is in the pulpit, in the classroom, in the bookstore… he’s everywhere! Perhaps you’ve even had the privilege of some private time with him to talk quietly and laugh heartily. I don’t recall a time I’ve spent with him that we didn’t laugh or, at least, share big wide grins. I’ll bet you can’t either because he continually reaches inside and finds a reason for merriment or joy, no matter what the situation. In the several years I’ve been acquainted with Rev. Patrick I have yet to see him appear rushed. He seems to operate from a place that knows everything occurs on God time and with purpose, so why push and hurry?
Rev. Patrick is an inspiration in many ways, which makes some of us wonder how he came to be as he is. Recently, I suggested that his readers might appreciate an interview article about him. Reluctantly, due to him not liking to be in the limelight, he agreed. So, I had the privilege of sitting with him for most of an afternoon to conduct an interview for this article. Very quickly I learned what many of you already know, that he has just finished writing his first book titled, The Miracle Before Your Eyes. The book is a story of his life journey from 1986 to the present. About the book Rev. Patrick said, “The book tells how I came to believe what I believe. It’s personal stories about how I’ve learned to release the beliefs that held me back.” How better, I thought, for newsletter readers to get to know more about Rev. Patrick than to retell some of his stories; stories that shed insightful light on Rev. Patrick, the man, the son, the brother, the husband, the father, the minister, the friend… the student of life. Hopefully, in the following paragraphs, this author will do justice to presenting a taste of what Rev. Patrick the author will soon offer us in The Miracle Before Your Eyes.
“The Catholic religion showed me pretty early on that it was not my idea of what a religion should be like”, Patrick stated. He was the third of nine children born to two devout Catholic parents. Growing up, attendance at weekly mass was a requirement for all the children. His older brother was directing his life toward seminary until his best friend’s family, and the Catholic church, rejected and abandoned him when he bravely confided in them that he was gay. As a result of the extreme rejection, the young man ended his own life. Patrick’s brother, in his desperation and disillusionment, denounced God and turned to Atheism. But for Patrick the final break from Catholicism did not come until his older sister became pregnant as a teenager. As an unwed girl, she too was shamed, rejected and abandoned in her time of need, due to his family’s religious beliefs. He walked away from the Catholic Church for good.
Patrick always shouldered a lot of responsibility, and one of his outlet, and salvation at the time, was playing football. Despite keeping his grades up, working part time, attending to the needs of his younger siblings (including preparing daily dinners for everyone), Patrick somehow found time to play for his high school team. “I love football”, said Patrick, “I started playing when I was five.” He achieved many awards for his athletic accomplishments and was offered two scholarships. He turned them down because he believed he could not eventually make the pros. He accepted that his physical stature would not allow him to continue achieving greatness in the sport. “Two years later a guy named Archie Griffin disproved that belief”, said Patrick with a shrug of his shoulders. And I learned something about allowing other people’s limiting beliefs to become mine.
While on a car trip, Patrick got lost (or so he thought at the time) and found himself in “the most beautiful place I had ever seen.” The place was the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia. He set his sights to attend college in that valley, and he did. He studied Business Psychology at James Madison University and “…found God while walking in the woods of the Blue Ridge Mountains.” Patrick says he didn’t have any knowledge of religion or spirituality beyond what he had been taught in the Catholic Church. “So I started making up my own beliefs”, he said with a smirk. When he first saw the original Star Wars movie, “The Force” became his image of what God is.
The restaurant business seemed to be where Patrick kept finding himself. He began working at age 14, in a restaurant; during college he ran catering services; and when he graduated he took a position in food service with Marriott. All in all he spent 21 years working in the restaurant industry. One of the best things that came out of working for Marriott was meeting his beautiful wife, Yvonne. They married in 1981 and had their daughter, Shavonne, 11 years later. With a lot of encouragement from Yvonne, the couple began to look for ways to improve their relationship and their lives. They encountered powerful teachers like John Gray, Mike Matoin, Sallye Taylor and Edwene Gaines who taught them how to manifest ‘miracles’ with the help of Treasure Mapping and Visualization.
A family crisis is what led originally Patrick to a Unity In Chicago where he heard about Unity Village (UV) and something they called a Continuing Education Program, CEP, where he could get the answers to his many questions about Unity teachings. Always loving to learn and still carrying with him his desire to be a teacher, he decided to go to U.V. ~~ There’s another story around Patrick’s decision not to become a teacher and about accepting other people’s limiting beliefs but you’ll have to read his book for that story. ~~
The man who had never known anything but city living found himself being transported by limousine from the Kansas City, MO airport to what seemed like one of the most remote areas in the nation, a place called Unity Village. UV is “retreat center” 2,000 acres of mostly wooded land about 15 minutes from downtown Kansas city. There they had no telephones and no televisions in their very Spartan type room – that was a shocker! The next two weeks was a series of life altering incidences and learnings. It was on his return from his second trip to Unity Village, that his minister handed him a book on Unity Basics book and asked to teach a class. “That started it all”, says Patrick with a far away look on his face. “Now, I live my dream. I do what I love.” And that includes writing those wonderful newsletter editorials we all benefit from each month.
By Linda Puckett,
October 2007 Newsletter