1980s – The Very Beginning: Phase I
In 1985 seven people got together to discuss what they could do to form a Unity Church in Palm Harbor.
The seven people were:
Merriam and Robert Anderson
Carole and Ken Hogle
Ann and Al Adam
They met in their houses and after several meetings decided they would ask the Unity minister of Clearwater, Leddy Hammick to join their conversation. They did this because the Unity Association bylaws requires that for a new Unity church to be established within a certain distance of an existing church that it must be done in cooperation and communication with the minister of the existing church. Leddy thought it was a good idea and initial steps were taken.
The church was then meeting above a bar on Tampa Rd. at the entry to the Lake St. George subdivision. Randy Schmelig was the pastor.
The Flemings (Betty and Al) organized the youth ministry, which met in a small area behind the main room. Betty Fleming had just finished her stint as the youth coordinator of the SE Unity ministries, a job that Bob Fortner took over from her.
During this period Al Adams taught “Lessons in Truth.”
1990s – Our Wondering Period: Phase II
In the mid 1990s and prior to Bob Fortner coming they had met that at Innisbrook. Bob had been regional consultant and Randy asked him to come in and an established their Sunday school program. They were meeting in location above a bar on Lake St. George on Tampa Road. We were there about a year or two. We had to leave there because the rent was raised and Randy had purchased a property on Fisher Road.
A Board was formed so Unity could buy a property. It was a house on 2 ½ acres on Fisher Road. Geri Blinsh was the first Board President. Other initial Board Members were Charlie Mitchell and Leroy Mathis. The board really earned its stripes and kept the church alive during this difficult transition. Services were held there with a membership of about 35 people. However, shortly after the property was purchased, Randy announced he was leaving to go to St Louis.
From the Fisher Road location services were moved to a rented space in the elementary school behind Sweet Tomatoes off US 19 . There we would meet in the cafeteria. We were not there very long.
With Randy’s departure a search was initiated for a new minister. Rev. Geri was on the scene. Several ministers came in to interview.