UNITY Kitchener (aka UNITY CENTRE OF PRACTICAL CHRISTIANITY) HISTORY
This spiritual community began as a Religious Science study group under the direction of Ronel Sinstead in 1971. As we grew, the meeting location was moved from the Sinstead house on Bloomingdale Road to the YMCA on Queen Street in Kitchener.
Science of Mind chartered the group as Kitchener Science of Mind Centre, May 12th, 1975. Under the tutelage of Unity minister James Sherman, we reevaluated our position and applied to become a Unity church. At that time, there were 116 people on the group’s mailing list. The Association of Unity churches approved our bylaws July 24th, 1977. Ronel Sinstead left to attend ministerial school at Unity School of Practical Christianity at Unity Village Missouri on the outskirts of Kansas City. Our Steering committee hired Unity ministers John and Jo Harris August 28th, 1977. Sponsored by Rev. Sherman and Unity Centre of Truth, Toronto, the group known as Unity Centre of Practical Christianity became an official Unity study group on December 15, 1977.
At the annual General membership meeting April 29, 1979, we officially made the transition from a study group to a full-fledged, independent church. Our steering committee was dissolved. Our first board of directors was elected. And our growth continued. The Centre began renting a second room for Sunday school. From our earlier location at the YMCA, we moved to the Church of the Good Shepherd. Tuesday night classes were held. A tape ministry for shut-ins was begun. In 1980, the church received an organ, hymnals and a number of books from the disbanded study group of Unity of Windsor.
In fall of 1980, the Ministers and Board of Directors successfully purchased the property at 2631 Kingsway Drive in Kitchener. We set about remodeling the building to transform it from a catering company to a church, creating a sanctuary out of a loading dock for trucks. February 8th, 1981 was the official opening of the new Centre. Activities at the Centre were numerous and varied – from bio-feedback and holistic workshops to Ice Cream Socials and Game nights, as well as annual events such as a church picnic and Christmas Eve Candlelighting Service. These same traditions continue today as we commit to exploring our spiritual nature through learning, loving, and living.
In 2011, the board adopted the new branding logo in conjunction with Unity Worldwide Ministries and became known as Unity Kitchener.
1976 July - Ronel Sinstead, Board of Directors and Rev. Jim Sherman meet to change
Science of Mind Centre to Unity Centre of Practical Christianity. Rev. Jim Sherman
promises to provide Teachers and Ministers for weekly Sunday services at Kitchener
Unity Centre, among them, Rev. Jim Sherman, Rev. Ed Rabil and LUT Mildred
Kennedy. Services were held at the YMCA
August - Ronel Sinstead enters the Ministerial Education Program at Unity Village, MO
The Reverands John and Jo Harris become the first Unity Ministers to serve Unity
Centre in Kitchener
1978 "Associated" Minister Rev. Maraget Conn (Muffie) comes to Kitchener
1979 Unity Centre of Practical Christianity was incorporated and attained full Church status
in the Unity Movement
Rev. Ronel Sinstead ordained
1980 Present building at 2631 Kingsway Dr. purchased under the direction of Rev.'s John and Jo Harris. Dedicated February 1981
1988 Rev. John Harris transition
1989: Rev. John Harris made is transition
1994 Rev. Cori Sinstead ordained
Unity First World Day of Prayer
1998 Rev. Jo Harris retired after a stroke in January
Associate minister Rev. Margaret Conn retired in the mid 90’s and currently lives at a nursing home in Cambridge. (Margaret made her transition in 2005)
1998 Temporary minister Rev. Anne Hiebert, March - April
1999 Interim minister Rev. Pat Bosh January - June
1999 Rev. Sharon Clements ordained in July
August - Rev. Sharon Clements is hired as Minister of Unity Centre of Practical Christianity
2000 June - Rev's Ronel and Cori Sinstead retire and return to Canada in December
2001 Rev.’s Ronel and Cori Sinstead joined the Centre as Associate ministers
2002 Major renovations of the sanctuary begun, Garden utilization of back property begun
2003 Lobby renovations begun
2004 Second Sunday service begun in Guelph
2005 Association of Unity Churches awards the first Web Site Excellence award to us
2006 Congregant Dagmar Mikkila ordained as a Unity minister
2007 Major renovations completed with new servery. Guelph location closed. Band formed in place of keyboardist. “The Secret” Keys to the Kingdom series began. – 4 classes in the spring and 1 in the fall
2008 POPCORN Sessions and start of a culture of “Me to We”
2009 Plan BE for front yard. Awarded 1st Earthcare Congregation Certification for Unity Worldwide
2010 Thriving in Unity 1.0 completed, Front yard makeover blessed
2011 Rev. Sharon’s sabbatical, Enlightened Leaders Programme, DBA name Unity Kitchener adopted
Rev. Ronel Sinstead went to Unity Church in Palm Springs following his graduation in 1977. His wife, Cori Sinstead was ordained in 1994. After a short retirement from fulltime ministry, Rev. Cori accepted a position as senior minister at Christ Church Unity of Truth in Etobicoke in 2005. Rev. Ronel made his transition August of 2007.
Licensed Unity teachers from our congregation included Joyce and Trevor Bennett, Gwen Preston, Irene Goodwin, Halla Piekarski, Ellen Walker (2005). Sheila (Pease) Mayer is currently an active Licensed Unity Teacher as of 2013.