Butterworth, (Wilfred) Eric 1916-2003

views updated

BUTTERWORTH, (Wilfred) Eric 1916-2003

OBITUARY NOTICE—See index for CA sketch: Born September 12, 1916, in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada; died April 17, 2003, in Greenwich, CT. Minister, lecturer, and author. Butterworth was a popular Unity church theologian whose optimistic lectures and books drew many adherents due to the author's New Age messages. The son of a Unity minister (his mother), after attending California State University he graduated from Capital University in Ohio as a music major; this was followed by study at the Ministerial School in Unity Village, Missouri, where he completed his degree. During his early career Butterworth taught briefly at the Association of Unity Churches in California and became national president of Youth of Unity; he was also a staff member at the Unity School of Christianity in Kansas City, Missouri. With the onset of World War II he served in the Medical Corps as a lieutenant and was also a chaplain. After the war he returned to Kansas City as an assistant minister for two years and was a pastor in Rockford, Illinois, in 1947. Ordained a minister in the Unity church in 1948, Butterworth set out with much energy and enthusiasm to establish three Unity ministries: one in Pittsburgh, one in Detroit, and one in New York City, where he also became a popular lecturer, speaking regularly at Town Hall, Carnegie Hall, and, finally, Avery Fisher Hall. His central message in these talks was that people already have the power of Christ within them and therefore have the power in themselves to change their lives for the better; as he put it, "You can alter your life by altering your thoughts." Not only were his lecturers popular, but his books also sold well, with his Discover the Power within You (1968) becoming a bestseller. Butterworth authored over a dozen books in all, including Life Is for Loving (1973), Celebrate Yourself (1984), The Universe Is Calling: Opening to the Divine through Prayer (1993), and his last book, The Creative Life: Seven Keys to Your Inner Genius (2001).



Melton, J. Gordon, Religious Leaders of America, second edition, Gale (Detroit, MI), 1999.


New York Times, April 22, 2003, p. A27.

About this article

Butterworth, (Wilfred) Eric 1916-2003

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article