The Universal Foundation for Better Living


The Universal Foundation for Better Living (UFBL) is an international association of Bible-based New Thought Christian churches, centers, and study groups dedicated to spreading the abundant life teachings of Jesus the Christ.

We interpret the bible allegorically in order to discover the teachings embedded within the scriptures. We believe the bible offers nourishment for the soul, and we use its lessons as reminders of our divine origin and purpose. In addition to the bible, we study the teachings and writings of leading new thought philosophers and scholars.

The New Thought teachings of the UFBL offer Truth students tools to apply ancient wisdom to everyday life, and reconnect with the indwelling presence and power of God.


In 1952, was diagnosed with a terminal disease and given only six months to live. The words, “God is my health, I can’t be sick,” from a poem by Hannah Moore Kohaus, sent shock waves through her mental/emotional system and ultimately led her to Unity School of Practical Christianity where she began studying universal spiritual principles and laws, the application of which, ultimately led to her healing.

Dr. Colemon was ordained as a Unity Minister in 1956 and set up her first ministry, Christ Unity Temple in Chicago Illinois.  She later withdrew from the Association of Unity Churches to become an independent church. Dr. Colemon renamed her church Christ Universal Temple and also founded the UFBL in 1974.

UFBL Presidents

Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon

Founder & President Emerita (1974 - 1995)


The Reverend Dr. Johnnie M. Colemon is the Founder of the Universal Foundation for Better Living and Christ Universal Temple in Chicago, Illinois. In the early 1950’s Dr. Colemon was told she had just six months to live. Refusing to accept this diagnosis as the truth, Dr. Colemon, at her mother’s encouragement, visited the Unity School to learn the principles of spiritual healing. Not only did she recover physically, but she also discovered a whole new approach to living. In 1956, Dr. Colemon was ordained as a Unity Minister.


Dr. Colemon founded the Universal Foundation for Better Living in 1974, after serving in various positions in the Unity Movement for 18 years. Her mission has been to create a platform of equality where all men and women can explore their divine nature and express their spiritual gifts. She has served as the Minister-in-Chief of Christ Universal Temple, the largest New Thought congregation in history, for over 50 years.

Rev. Dr. Mary Tumpkin

Immediate Past President (1995 - 2013)


An acclaimed teacher, Bible scholar, and author, Dr. Tumpkin held a Doctorate of Ministry degree from the Florida Center for Theological Studies. She lectured throughout the United States, as well as in England, Canada, South America, and the Caribbean. She was known for her powerful, energetic, and often humorous preaching style and her ability to express the message of Jesus the Christ in a relevant, practical, and accessible way.

Rev. Mary is the founding minister of the Universal Truth Center for Better Living (UTC), in Miami Gardens, Florida.


Reverend Tumpkin served as the UFBL President from 1995 until her transition in 2013. Under her leadership, the UFBL produced a plethora of teachers and ministers that left to start churches and study groups across the USA and the Caribbean including, New York, the Bahamas, and Jamaica.

Rev. Dr. Sheila McKeithen

President (2015 - Present)

sheila mckeithen profile edited

She follows in the footsteps of her spiritual mothers, the Rev. Dr. Johnnie Colemon and the late Rev. Dr. Mary A. Tumpkin, as a proponent of the empowerment message of New Thought Christianity. A clear “mouthpiece” of universal spiritual principles, Rev. Sheila defied the odds in 1986 when her doctors predicted that she had less than six days to live. Nearly 30 years later, Rev. Sheila is alive, alert, enthusiastic, and committed to her mission of serving as a vehicle for hope and healing. Rev. Sheila is the Senior Minister of The Universal Centre of Truth for Better Living (UC Truth), in Kingston, Jamaica.


Reverend Sheila is the current President of the Universal Foundation for Better Living (UFBL). She assumed leadership of the foundation in January 2015 and is the 3rd President in the over 40-year history of UFBL, succeeding her late mentor, the Reverend Dr. Mary Tumpkin. 

The Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary

The Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary (JCTS) is named in honour of a pioneer in the religious arena.  She has set the stage by her life and ministry for an innovative approach to preparing men and women to minister effectively in today’s world.  Those of us who share in her vision are convinced that we cannot continue to “do” church in the same ways that we have in the past. However, to do it differently, we must train leaders who are risk takers and trendsetters.  These are people who are able to think outside of the box.


Additionally, the message of Practical Christianity is one of the best-kept secrets around.  It is time for the secret to be shouted from the roofs and within the halls of academia. Such subjects as Allegorical Interpretation of the Bible and Spiritual Healing have been left to sceptical speculation.  Yet their roots go deep into the history of Christianity and continue to be practiced within the New Thought Christian Movement.  This institution will produce a methodology that meets the critical standards of scholarship and equips qualified practitioners.

Written by the Reverend Dr. Mary Tumpkin, the 1st President of the Johnnie Colemon Theological Seminary.

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