How long has Unity of Tucson been in existence?

Unity of Tucson was incorporated in 1956. In 1954 a small group began in the home of Lillian Cook. In 1957 the group moved to the YMCA and then to the Garden Club in 1959. In August of 1959 Cook resigned and Jack Clemenson, a newly licensed minister, came and served until 1964 at which time Bill Carpenter, another newly licensed minister came to serve. It was also in 1959 that a small church was purchased just north of the University. Bill Carpenter continued as the minister until the spring of 1966. After his departure, Unity minister Larry Swartz and his wife Mary Ellen, a licensed Unity teacher at the time, (ordained in 1972) came to lead the young church. They have continued to be the senior ministers to this date. In 1968 land was purchased, a new church built at Bellevue and Sahuara, and occupied in 1969. This served as the Church home until about 1986 when another new facility was constructed on an eighteen-acre site on North Camino Blanco, just south of River Road.

Is there a parent organization?

Unity of Tucson is affiliated with Unity School of Christianity (now just called “Unity”) that is located at Unity Village, Missouri. This location is directly adjacent to Kansas City to the north and west, Lee’s Summit to the south and east. Unity is presently directly responsible for the training of ministers. Also at this headquarters site we find a retreat center, Silent Unity (the 24/7 ministry of prayer), chapel, editorial department for all of Unity’s published literature, administrative offices, cafeteria and more. Unity was founded in 1889 by Charles and Myrtle Fillmore.

Unity of Tucson is affiliated with the Association of Unity Churches. This is an organization that provides placement and services for member ministries and retains the responsibility for ordaining graduates from Unity’s ministerial training program. The Association is presently located in Lee’s Summit, Missouri, a few miles away from Unity Village.

Unity of Tucson is affiliated with the International New Thought Alliance (INTA). This organization, founded in 1914 promotes spiritual inspiration and guidance for ministers, other leaders, and laity; offers international and local programs designed to aid understanding of New Thought and to promote interest in it; provides support groups for emotional and spiritual renewal; encourages educational excellence throughout the New Thought movement in INTA meetings, educational institutions, programs, and local teaching; and develops connections between New Thought and a wide variety of scholarly and other associations that should know about New Thought and increasingly understand and appreciate it. INTA’s overall purposes are to preserve New Thought’s rich heritage through archival and other work, to promote the effectiveness of New Thought practices, to encourage the constant rethinking of its theoretical foundations, to help all New Thoughters to grow in their awareness and love of God, to do all appropriate to secure a prominent place for New Thought in the world’s approaches to reality, and to be of appropriate service to the world in achieving peace, prosperity, and wellness in all dimensions of existence.

Unity of Tucson is affiliated with the Independent Alliance of Ministers in Unity (IAMU) founded in 2009 for the purpose of providing support to ministers. The Association of Unity Churches is primarily a ministry focused organization and a number of ministers saw the opportunity to explore a level of service to ministers that did not exist.

While Unity of Tucson is affiliated with, we are not governed by the aforementioned organizations. We remain autonomous as to our financial supply and the day to day governing of our ministry.

So Who, and What is God?

Unity teaches that God is not an anthropomorphic being that exists somewhere and is capable of being either pleased or angered by the activity of humankind. God is the Only Presence, Only Power, the Only Reality in existence, and is best understood through the “pronoun” – Love. We teach that God can also be understood through the word “Principle” or “Law”. Therefore, working with Principle or Law, and with self-responsibility, we allow this Reality of God to meld with our conscious minds, and then as a very personal experience, to be a viable part in our lives.

I have heard that Unity doesn’t accept Jesus as the Son of God or that He died for our sins. Can this be true?

Certainly Jesus was/is the Son of God, but everyone else can also be thought of within this context of “son” or “daughter”. The difference is not in content, but in the awareness of the content. John 3:16 speaks to an “idea” of perfect manifestation, not but one man. And, Unity teaches that Jesus lived, not died, as the major purpose of His life and ministry. It was not to save us, but to show us how to “save” ourselves by embracing only God, therefore only Love. Unity does not teach that there is a God “out there someplace” who is placated through the painful death of an “only son” who was sent for this very purpose.

Then, Christ and Jesus?

Unity understands that Christ is the Principle of total God awareness that was certainly expressed by Jesus, and must also be expressed by each. So, in the strictest of accuracy, it is a total misnomer to say that Christ was born or that Christ died. Jesus certainly was born and “died”. Christ is the Principle, Jesus the man.

Does Unity believe in the Bible?

Certainly. But, not as the literal word of God from Genesis through Revelation. It is inspiration. It is history. And, through the understanding of the ministry of Jesus, is the example of how to internalize and then become conscious of “The glory we knew with God before the world was.” (John 17:5) Unity teaches that the Bible can be made to be a wonderful part of our lives as we see it as a metaphysical tool that speaks to the journey of each from the Adam or Eve state of consciousness, all the way to the Christ. Therefore, it is a roadmap to follow as we exercise the causes that work, or that bring joy and gladness to life, and to exclude causes that do not work, or that bring sadness and fear.

What is the term “New Thought”?

Early in the development of the INTA, a “Congress” was held in London in June of 1914. It was “the outsider” who heard the eternal Truths expressed through the speakers who then went away saying, “Why, that is a new thought!” The term seemed to take, and although it was not anything new that the speakers and writers were sharing, but Truths as old as time. However when it first enters the minds of a seeker, it appears to be new.

Christianity, but Metaphysical Practical Christianity. What does this mean?

Metaphysical is a word coined by Aristotle and came out of his understanding of the existence of first cause, or the genesis of the nature of being which begins in the mind of man. It speaks to the understanding that mankind has a direct role in directing the Energy of Pure Being into manifest form and removes the crutch of a belief in accident, chance or luck in one’s life or environment. Emmet Fox then succinctly coined another phrase. “Life is consciousness.” We believe that Jesus was/is the Master Meta-physician and fully understood the movement of Spirit through the mind of man and woman to then become their world. He taught of cause and effect and exemplified the application of this Principle as He fulfilled His ministry.

Practical Christianity is the understanding that in order for one’s spirituality (religion) to be meaningful and even useful, it must do such mundane things like paying the rent. Unity teaches that the application of the Eternal Principles that Jesus taught are not only for the purpose of finding that center of all Knowledge and Knowing within us, but must then be applicable throughout one’s life. Unity teaches that it is indeed God’s good pleasure to give each the Kingdom, and the Kingdom manifests right now within our world as abundant supply, harmonious relationships, perfect peace and the abundance of love.

What is the difference between Unity and other branches of Christianity?

We seldom seek to amplify differences, and we certainly never attempt to define another’s teachings as they can do that for themselves. What we have discovered, however, is a teaching that seems to be a point of departure from orthodox Christianity and is what some would call “the major difference”. Unity, and New Thought as a whole, accepts that Jesus is example and not exception. We see Him as Way Shower, Elder Brother, and indeed example of what must happen through us as we allow the same Energy of Pure Being (God) to manifest and express through us.

I’ve been told that Unity is a cult. Is this true?

There are those who would think that anyone other than followers of their personal belief system belong to a cult, and so be it. The word itself was once a very positive word and throughout the years has gone through a pejorative cycle until today it has a meaning that coincides with a raised eyebrow. If “cult” means the effort to control how one thinks, or makes demands upon their wealth, or tells them who they should marry or divorce or similar things, Unity is not.

Does Unity teach that only through a Christian belief can one go to Heaven?

No. Truth is Truth wherever it is found, and the journey of awakening or enlightenment is not limited to a follower of the teachings of Jesus. It is much like learning that 7 times 7 is 49 within a Christian setting, or is made by someone sitting in the outback using stones to discover the principle of multiplication. God (Principle) doesn’t “care”, and God (Principle) has unlimited “patience” as humankind remembers that in Truth they are God-kind.

What about Heaven and Hell?

Unity teaches that the two “H’s” are first states of consciousness, and then as with each moment, consciousness becomes a “place” wherein we perceive ourselves to be. Heaven or hell are not pieces of real estate. Heaven is an ever unfolding state of consciousness wherein we realize that there is but God. Hell is a state of consciousness wherein we perceive ourselves as separated from our Source.

Unity does not believe there is a hell, nor is there a locatable heaven that exists anywhere. Both are found wherever we are and wherever we go; one is an expression of consciousness that is ever more deeply consciously aware of Oneness, the other is experienced when one attempts to live outside the eternal Truth of One Presence, One Power. Then, in our journey there is not anything outside of us that grants us punishment or reward – both extremes are the result of choices (causes) within the journey – they are self-generated (effects). There is only God and because there is nothing else, this Energy is individualized at the core of who and what we are. Therefore, it is God moving through and as us that is co-creating. We are always doing it – as we are always thinking and thought lays hold of the one Energy of creation. Said another way, we are always in the loop of what takes place in our lives. Thought becoming word and becoming action is the tool we use. Remember, in this process you can never get it wrong because you never get it done. You are eternal!

How do I become a member?

Be a part of our ministry for six months, then attend a New Member Orientation class which is offered twice a year. This class is announced in our newsletter, Expanding Horizons. The class consists of the ministers sharing the Unity teachings with ample opportunity to ask questions. A video is shown about our Headquarters, and lunch is part of this activity. Please call (520) 577-3300 to make your reservation.

How do I make prayer or healing request?

Please call our Prayer Tree at (520) 577-1460, or by using the Prayer Box that is found in the foyer before services. A call to the ministers at (520) 577-3300 is always appropriate.

Silent Unity is also available 24/7 ready to offer you free, confidential prayer support whenever you need it. Call (800) NOW-PRAY (669-7729).

How do I make a spiritual guidance appointment?

Please call either Larry or Mary Ellen Swartz at (520) 577-3300.

How do I schedule a wedding consultation?

Please call our wedding consultant, Deborah Boykins, at (520) 401-3958.

How do I arrange for a memorial service?

Please call either Larry or Mary Ellen Swartz at (520) 577-3300.

How do I schedule a christening?

Please call either Larry or Mary Ellen Swartz at (520) 577-3300.

How do I sign-up for a weekly e-mail message?

A request can be made by sending an e-mail to, by filling in an I Wish card found throughout the Sanctuary or by calling the Church office at (520) 577-3300.

How do I become a volunteer?

Please call our volunteer coordinator, Jackie Fortier, at (520) 546-1967. Or, send an e-mail to

Is there a dress code at Unity of Tucson?

No. We have a variety of dress ranging from very casual, upward.

You say “welcoming,” how welcoming is this?

Unity does not discriminate based on race, color, spirituality (religion), preference. All are welcome!

Is Unity handicap accessible?


Is Unity air conditioned?

Yes. The Sanctuary is programmed so it is slightly warmer in the back and cooler in the front. In the summer months, a wrap is always a good choice if one has a tendency to get cold.

How about parking?

With one of the largest church parking areas in Tucson, we have a paved upper and lower lot as well as an upper dirt lot for overflow parking.

*If further questions and answers can be added to this section, please e-mail with your requests. Subject: FAQ