Award Recipients

Congratulations to Our 2017 Honorees



The Light of God Expressing in Unity Award

Rev. Rita Marie Johnson

As an educator, author, and speaker, Rev. Rita Marie Johnson has been sharing her message of connection worldwide for over a decade. The Connection Practice methodology she developed has impacted more than 40,000 school children in Costa Rica (as SerPaz).

Johnson discovered that the synergy of connecting mind and heart, feelings and needs, and insight and empathy maximizes our social-emotional intelligence, builds resilience and enhances performance. The Connection Practice is now being used by individuals, schools, businesses, and organizations to enhance personal well-being, reduce conflicts and bullying, improve communication and collaboration, and boost performance. The fruits of this practice inspire hope in everyone it touches.

Her practice was awarded the Ashoka Changemakers Innovation Award, chosen from 79 projects in 32 countries.

“This practice that is so dear to my heart has helped me through lymphoma (twice), a divorce, the economic downturn that resulted in the elimination of funding for SerPaz training in schools, and the death of my father. It's also helped me to celebrate the day-to-day and major triumphs in my life. I am so very grateful for this wonderful, daily practice in my life.”

Johnson's vision is a world where every person practices the art of connection and passes this gift on to the next generation. Through the vivid examples she shares, she spells out exactly how that vision can be realized.

Rita will receive the Light of God Expressing Award on Friday, June 16 at the Awards Luncheon.

The Charles Fillmore Award

Rev. Toni Boehm

Rev.Toni Boehm, is an inspirational and dynamic coach, workshop facilitator, and speaker. She is certified as an organization and life coach through the International Coaching Federation (ICF) and holds a certificate for Inspiring Leadership through Emotional Intelligence.

Toni is a master-prepared nurse practitioner, poet, author, and is known for her passionate teaching style and expert facilitation of classes on leadership skill development, personal empowerment and transformation
Rev. Toni has worked with over 250 Unity ministry leadership teams who laud her ability to support them in discovering how they can best move to their next level of excellence.
“I am what you might call in sacred service to many: through the expansion of conscious awareness of leadership skills, peace skills development, emotional intelligence and maturity development, and through providing practical application tool for these teachings. I weave throughout all the work I do my passion as a coach.”  

Toni will receive the Charles Fillmore Award on Friday, June 16 at the Awards Luncheon.



The Myrtle Fillmore Award

Rev. Cynthia Vermillion-Foster

Cynthia Vermillion-Foster is passionate about cultivating space for rich, authentic dialogue that supports the discovery of our interconnectedness and allows us to conspire (breathe as one) with one another in the creation of a more compassionate way of being living on this planet.

Movement and dance have played a central role in Cynthia’s life since childhood, and her first career was as a ballet dancer.  Dance is, for Cynthia, a spiritual experience, a way of allowing the Universe to express as her, and the metaphor of dance continues to inform the way she moves through life.

Cynthia met Don in 1986 and they have enjoyed a mutually supportive marriage for 27 years. They are the parents of two beautiful children – a son, Jovan and daughter, Avianna who have grown into leaders in their own right.

Cynthia and Don served as co-ministers at Unity of Greater Hamilton for 10 years.  Don continues to serve this ministry.  Cynthia has also served as Unity Canada’s Regional Consultant, was active on the Ministry Skills Team, and served as Chair of the Ethics Review System.

Since July 2016, Cynthia has been serving as UWM’s Director of Member Services.  She has been doing this work remotely as her son completes his final year of high school.  Jovan will be graduating the end of June, and moving on to university.  Cynthia and Don will be relocating to Lee’s Summit this fall, where Cynthia is excited to join her UWM teammates in their new home at Unity Village.  





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