This time of year we all start thinking of the things for which we are thankful. But there is a growing group of Rim residents with a little more on that list. Members of Unity of Payson are celebrating their first anniversary next week.
A year ago, 20 people capped 10 months of work as they gathered for the first formal services of Unity of Payson. That group has grown to 40 now, who meets every Sunday in the office of the Central Arizona Board of Realtors. The group does not yet have a formal leader and so relies on visiting Unity ministers and speakers, However, Lynnette Brouwer and Michelle Abraham are both licensed Unity teachers working on obtaining leadership credentials.
John Roethlein, who with Brouwer and others helped found Unity of Payson, said having different people leading the services brings varying perspectives. “We have been fortunate to have some of the state’s best speakers come to the area,” he said.
He added the congregation hopes to find a 24-7 space so it can offer classes and book groups as well as services on a regular basis.
“But the church is the people, not a building,” he said.
The group now has five trained prayer chaplains and the prayer team meets every week.
“The community within the church has bonded and (members) do everything. It is a highly functioning church spiritually and with spirit growth. The members own it,” he said.
The group often offers classes following the services. On Sunday, Nov. 18 Shiranda Deerwoman will lead a workshop on healthy relationships. Brouwer said eventually they would like to have a class or workshop every Sunday.
The group does something special for the rest of Rim Country as often as it can. Every first Sunday the members have a potluck and contribute non-perishable food for the food bank at the Community Presbyterian Church. The congregation adopted part of one of the Rim roadways for regular cleanup. It participated in the recent Trunk or Treat celebration sponsored by the Town of Payson. And in December it will present its first concert with Mark Welch.
Welch is a musician, a singer/songwriter, a performer, an educator, a facilitator and more. For more than 25 years his creations have touched and inspired the hearts, minds and spirits of New Thought audiences worldwide. He served as music director at Unity Church in San Luis Obispo, Calif. for 15 years and was an elementary teacher for 13 years. He has appeared on stage with Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Wayne Dyer and others.
The $10 Mark Welch concert will run from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Dec. 5 at the community room of Messingers, 901 S. Westerly Road in Payson. Get tickets at the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and 260 Cafe.
Members also want to set up a meditation group for youth and will go Christmas caroling at Christmas in local nursing homes.
Brouwer and Roethlein said Unity of Payson has enjoyed great support from throughout the Rim Country, with members from Pine and other local communities. Some people even come up from the Valley to make a day of it in the Rim Country.
Services start at 10 a.m. Sundays at the office of the Central Arizona Board of Realtors, 600 E. Highway 260, across the parking lot from Tiny’s Family Restaurant. For information, check out the Web site, unityofpayson.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Brouwer at (928) 478-6906.