Unity of Walnut Creek Timeline

1948
Began as a study group by Rev. Marie Giles as an outreach of Lakeside Unity Temple in Oakland. The group met at various locations in Alamo and Walnut Creek for 20 years.

1951
Started Sunday services, followed by services for children in 1953.

1968
Purchased a goat farm with a small cottage on Geary Road in Walnut Creek for $18,500. Moved out the goats and retrofitted the cottage to accommodate Sunday services.

1970
Rev. Giles retired. Hired Rev. Carol Ruth Knox directly out of ministerial school; her charismatic leadership built Unity of Walnut Creek to what became at that time the largest suburban Unity ministry west of the Mississippi. Added a second Sunday service. Installed Dial-A-Thought, a recorded inspirational message that continued until 2009.

1971
Started a monthly newsletter, which in 1973 was renamed Centerpoint.

1972
Constructed the sanctuary building for $53,000. Began the Uniteens program for middle school students, which joined the active Youth of Unity (YOU) for high school students.

1973
Started the Synergy School, a K-12 school that taught Unity principles, at Geary Road and later moved offsite; it continued until 1981.

1974
Constructed the Education Building. Initiated a training program for lay counselors, which evolved into the Lay Ministry program and is now known as Prayer Chaplaincy.

1975
Started the Unity Counseling Center, which operated onsite for 20 years.

1976
Purchased corner lot for parking, which was paved and landscaped in 2005.

1979
Held a Mortgage Burning Ceremony to celebrate that the loan for the sanctuary construction was paid off.

1981
Unveiled a new background behind the stage in the theme of the flame in the heart; it was the backdrop for all Sunday services until the renovation in 2010.

1987
Rev. Knox was killed in her home while preparing for Sunday services. Hired Rev. Marj Britt as senior minister. Began tithing 10% of Unity’s income.

1988
Began a third, meditative Sunday service.

1990
Hired Rev. Shari Culliver as senior minister.

1995
Began making lunches for the homeless on Saturdays, which was discontinued in 2018 due to changes in county laws.

1997
Hired Rev. Max Lafser as senior minister.

1999
Erected the Peace Wall as part of a world-wide effort to promote peace.

2002
Hired Rev. David McArthur as senior minister.

2004
Introduced a visioning process into the monthly meetings of the Board of Trustees.

2007
Kicked off the Love In Action capital campaign, which grew the congregation’s prosperity consciousness.

2010
Finished a comprehensive, $2 million renovation of the sanctuary and Education buildings, the first major enhancements since they were built.

2011
Hired associate minister Rev. Sheila Gautreaux as Music Director and Choir Director.

2016
Rev. David McArthur retired. Hired Rev. Denese Schellink as interim minister.

2017
Hired Rev. Kristin Powell as Lead Minister. Rev. Sheila completed her field licensing program and moved to Texas. Returned to two Sunday services (contemplative and celebratory).

2018
Celebrated our 70th Anniversary with former ministers in attendance and via video.

2020
Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, went to an online service only – first broadcast from Rev. Kristin’s living room and then in the Unity Sanctuary. Created and dedicated a community-built labyrinth.

2021
Reopened with an outdoor early service on the lawn on Mother’s Day and went back to two services indoors with live music in July.

2023
Celebrating our 75th Anniversary on September 9-10.