UNITY CHURCH OF POMPANO BEACH HISTORY
In 1957 Rev. Frances Jarrell started a Unity Study Group at the Pompano Beach Chamber of Commerce on East Atlantic Avenue. She had previously been the founding minister of Unity of Delray, but resigned her post there to start a ministry closer to her Fort Lauderdale home. A church office was established at 5 NE 27th Avenue, in Pompano Beach.
In January, 1959 Articles of Incorporation/By-Laws including thirty-eight founding members were recorded, and a Charter granted by Unity School of Christianity in Lees Summit, MO. In April of 1959, newly incorporated Unity Church of Pompano Beach purchased the present land at 261 SE 13th Avenue for $7,000.00 via owner financing, to be paid off in three equal installments. Unity Church of Pompano Beach was well on its way!
Fund raising events such as “card parties” and private loans (“Unity Bonds”) financed the church buildings. Ground was broken on March 13, 1960 for what is now known as “Fellowship Hall” and the first worship service was held there on Easter Sunday, April 17, 1960.
In December, 1966, ground was broken for the second building, the sanctuary. The first service in the sanctuary was Easter Sunday, March 26, 1967. 1967 marks the official dedication of the entire church complex, completely debt free. The original cornerstone containing the board members of 1967 along with a Masons’ dedication can be viewed on the outside northeast corner of the sanctuary. Founding minister, Rev. Jarrell, retired from ministry in 1972 and made her transition on Easter March 30, 1975. Many years of community, worship and study have been enjoyed at Unity of Pompano. Its facilities have also provided meeting places for many in the larger community. In late 2010 a group of twelve Unity Truth Students formed to help continue the blessing of Unity of Pompano. The church had been abandoned and was in danger of being auctioned for past debts. An emergency board was created, and with many dedicated volunteers led by the tireless dedication of Beverly Spivey, Licensed Unity Teacher, Unity of Pompano has continued to what it is today: a thriving, loving spiritual community welcoming all!
Unity Church of Pompano Beach’s ministers: Rev. Frances Jarrell: 1957-1972; Rev. Loren Flickinger: 1972-1975; Rev. William Clark: 1975-1981; Jane Priest, LUT: 1981-1982; Rev. Robert Hungerford: 1982-1991; Rev. Lana Charlton: 1991-1998; Rev. Marion Wadhams: 1998-2010; Beverly Spivey, LUT: 2010-2015; Beverly Spivey and Rev. Lawrence Palmer: 2015 to present. Rev. Louise Morley has also provided many years of ministerial support from the 1980’s to the present.
Below is from the same local Boca newspaper, dated Thursday, April 14, 1960, referring to Easter Sunday, April 17, 1960. (Again, from the ‘Church News’ section.) I find the timing interesting here – the Chamber needed Unity of Pompano to vacate LITERALLY the day BEFORE Easter! They had to hold Easter Services in some kind of a structure on the church grounds. Obviously from a March 13 Ground Breaking to April 17th Easter Sunday, just a month, the church could NOT have been completed.
Below is the first church office space, 5 NE 27th Ave. (A block east from the Publix on Atlantic Blvd.) Office space was leased here from the late 50’s until moved to the church. (Sometime after Easter of 1960.) Sunday school also held here.
Below is Chamber of Commerce, 2200 E. Atlantic Blvd. (a block or two east of US1). The Chamber of Commerce has been at this location since 1949. Sunday service as well as Thursday night healing services were held here from the late 50’s until Easter Day, 1960.
Unity Pompano began organizing in 1957, received its charter from Unity School of Christianity in 1958 or 1959. One wonders how big the group was in 1957 and where they met, or if they met from the start at the Chamber of Commerce. We can see that they accomplished a GREAT deal in that FIRST three years! HOPFULLY, further research from descendants of founders or other periodical searches will shed more light on these (and OTHER) questions.
A word about the Vinkemulder family…. I found an obituary mentioning donor Philip Vilkemulder’s wife “Peg” as Unity of Pompano Charter member! (see below in two excerpts.) Towards of the end of the second excerpt, they make Unity Pompano mention. Quite a lady. The Vinkemulder family still operates a landscape architecture business on Vinkemulder Road in Coconut Creek.