|Posted by Anne Siren on November 13, 2012 at 12:20 AM|
By Judy Vik
Pompano Beach – Unity of Pompano Beach has undergone a renaissance. The congregation recently celebrated the second anniversary of its revival.
The church, at 261 SE 13 Ave., first opened its doors in the 1960s and was a thriving institution for almost 50 years. But in March 2010 the doors were closed. The congregation had dwindled, the building was in serious decline, and a sheriff’s sale was imminent.
Seven months later about a dozen concerned Unity members teamed up and decided to revive the church. With guidance from Unity Worldwide Ministries, they devoted months of sweat and prayer to turn the church around.
They faced a daunting task. The buildings and property were a mess. Utilities had been turned off. Squatters had apparently moved in, and so had rats. Mounds of clothing that hadn’t sold in yard sales was still piled up inside.
The volunteers got a dumpster and went to work. There was no air-conditioning, and it didn’t smell that great, Bev Spivey, spiritual leader, recalls.
When the clean-up effort continued on a Sunday, they paused to sing a song and say a blessing and then went right back to work.
The core group not only spruced up the building and grounds. They paid off all the outstanding bills and complied with the Pompano Beach Fire Department to complete a $35,000 voice evacuation alarm system before re-opening.
“It was quite exciting to start a church,” Spivey said. And doing the work together gave them a feeling of ownership.
On Oct. 20, 2010, a service was held to celebrate the renaissance of the church, and 54 people turned out. “We were greatly encouraged,” Spivey said.
The congregation has since grown to an average of nearly 100 at Sunday services. Most of the previous members have returned, and new people keep coming.
Spivey volunteers as spiritual leader. She previously worked managing a rental property and distributing a health product. She started attending the church three years ago along with a dozen others.
Spivey works with a six-member board headed by Richard Riccardi of Margate.
“We are excited. We want the church to become a spiritual center for Pompano Beach and the area,” said Pat Naulty of Pompano Beach, a 38-year member and vice president of the Board of Trustees.
According to Spivey “Unity emphasizes the practical, everyday application of spiritual principles to help people live more abundant and meaningful lives. We teach effective, daily application of principles of truth taught and exemplified by Jesus Christ.”
Unity is an open-minded, accepting spiritual community that honors all paths to God, according to a church brochure. Unity affirms the power of prayer and helps people experience a stronger connection with God every day.
“We look for God’s presence wherever we are,” Spivey said.
The church addresses physical, mental and emotional needs through affirmative prayer and spiritual education.
Unity has five basic principles.
1. God is the source and creator of all. There is no other enduring power. God is good and present everywhere.
2. We are spiritual beings, created in God’s image. The spirit of God lives within each person; therefore, all people are inherently good.
3. We create our life experiences through our way of thinking.
4. There is power in affirmative prayer, which we believe increases our awareness of God.
5. Knowledge of these spiritual principles is not enough. We must live them.
Addressing the third principle, Spivey said, “We have power over our own thoughts. We can make ourselves sick or well by the power of our actions. We rely on God as the source of all good possibilities and find a newer level of wellness.”
Spivey said Unity attracts people looking and searching for spirituality that’s missing in their lives. That’s what happened with her.
In order to become a Unity spiritual leader, she completed a 250-hour curriculum of prayer, Bible studies and interpersonal studies through the Unity Institute and Seminary in Missouri. She also completed additional studies to become a licensed Unity teacher.
She taught at Unity churches in Hollywood and Fort Lauderdale before coming to the Pompano Beach church. Spivey has two grown children, a son and daughter.
Besides being the setting for church services and activities, the sanctuary, with seating for 325, is available for rent. “It’s a beautiful facility for weddings and wonderful for concerts,” Spivey said. The fellowship hall, which seats 90-100, and a small room with seating for 20-25 also are available for rent.
Currently a group rents space to conduct “A Course in Miracles” at 7 p.m. Thursdays, and two AA groups meet at the church.
Sunday services are at 11 a.m. A “Power Hour” of prayer and meditation is set for 9:30 to 10:30.
On Sunday, Nov. 18, a “bountiful banquet” [a potluck dinner] is planned in celebration of Thanksgiving.
On Sunday, Nov. 25, Rev. Dr. Anna Price of the Universal Truth Center will be guest speaker at the 11 a.m. service.
For more information, call the church office at 954-336-1898 or go online to www.unitypompanobeach.org.