Unity Church of Gulfport is the only Unity church in the state of Mississippi.
"Unity does not take the Bible literally," said Judy Voght, pastor, who has been with Unity since 2005. "We view the Bible metaphorically and symbolically for its wisdom teachings. The Bible is the words of ancient people about the relationships with God and their view of God. Many people drive a long way to attend the services at Unity, because they find it to be a loving and open church that is affirming to their beliefs."
Unity Church of Gulfport began in 1996 as a small group Bible study in the home of one of its founding members.
Attendance grew and the meetings moved to the Elks Club building in Gulfport.
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By 2008, with numbers on the rise again, the members decided to remodel a building on Railroad Street to accommodate the crowd.
The church, however, has outgrown its current home and has built a new sanctuary on the same property that can accommodate 125 people.
The dedication and opening services will be 10:30 a.m. July 3 with musical guests and a luncheon after the service.
"When I talk to the congregation on Sundays," Voght said, "I say that they are to take responsibility for their life and realize that they have a choice every single day to be positive no matter what life hands them."
Unity began and supports a neighborhood children's program to get children involved in church events and activities.
The Unity movement began in the late 19th century, though its roots go back further.
Leaders of the Unity movement have stated they welcome and strive to integrate into their teachings, many of the discoveries of science and psychology.
''Unity embraces the truths that it finds in all great wisdom traditions of the world," Voght said. "We focus on the positive potential and divine ideal in and for every person and life situation. I feel that a faith like that enables me to live with joy, peace, spiritual healing and love every day, even throughout the tough times."