In 1985 seven people got together in their homes to discuss what they could do to form a Unity Church in Palm Harbor. With the approval of the Unity Association it was decided to proceed with the formation of the Unity Church of Palm Harbor.
The church met above a bar on Tampa Rd. at the entry to the Lake St. George subdivision. Randy Schmelig was the pastor. We were there about a year or two. We had to leave that location because the rent was raised and Randy had purchased a property on Fisher Road. A Board was formed so Unity could buy the property. It was a house on 2 ½ acres on Fisher Road. Shortly after the property was purchased, Randy announced he was leaving to go to St Louis.
From the Fisher Road location services we moved to a rented space in the elementary school behind Sweet Tomatoes off US 19. There we met in the cafeteria. We were not there very long.
With Randy’s departure a search was initiated for a new minister. Rev. Geri arrived on the scene. Daven Davis, the interim Unity Minister was the primary speaker and Bob Fortner was a regular guest speaker. Leroy Mathews arranged to have Sunday services in the Masonic lodge on Florida Av. in Palm Harbor.
Bob Fortner was approached about being the minister. While he was a licensed teacher he was not a minister. The author of the book, The Mother of Unity, Thomas E. Witherspoon, took Bob aside and told him that he felt Bob should become the minister and “To take up his real Life’s Work.”
With Randy’s departure, Les Saunder was brought in to advise and was the acting minister. Les suggested that Unity hire Bob Fortner as his assistant for 6 months. Bob was the Senior Spiritual Leader and Les wanted Bob to get involved for the Christmas season in Dec. 1995.
In the late 1990s we conducted a vision exercise and people were asked to envision the ideal site. They envisioned 5 acres with trees in Palm Harbor. We did a search and the current property was found at a cost of $352,000 with payment of $2,400 per month. Records showed that the realtor had looked at this property 10 years earlier as a possibility for Unity, but it was not immediately available because it was tied up in the court. Everything came together this time and UCPH closed on our current property in April 1999 and took occupancy the first Sunday of July 1999.
At our first Sunday service we did not have a certificate of occupancy (COO) so we meet under the car port. As it was the peak of summer we had four big construction fans. We were blessed in that it did not rain for the four Sundays we meet under the car port. We obtained the COO and met in the living room of the house – now Fellowship hall. We had chairs and seating for 80 people in the main room with and additional chairs and seating for 32 chairs in the adjacent rooms.
During this period our Sunday School Teacher, Bob discovered that he had all the prerequisites to become a Unity Minister. He was ordained in a service in 2002 with over 200 attended. UCPH now had a minister and to celebrate we had lunch at the adjacent elementary school.
In late 2004 we did a feasibility study regarding a new sanctuary. The study result showed it was doable so we embarked on a Capital Campaign in 2005.
Our Campaign Slogan was: “Ready and Committed. Building in Faith.” – A list of those that contributed is on the wall on the left side of the church foyer.
We had the first service in the new sanctuary on Good Friday and then the official dedication on Easter Sunday, 2007.
Since then we have continued to grow in membership and spiritual consciousness.
Today we are much more than a Church. We are a Spiritual Community providing services to the community, our members and those seeking to meet their deeper spiritual hunger.