Unity began as a study group in Nashville in 1916, led by Elizabeth Pierce Sand. The Study Group (which became known as Unity Truth Center) met in various downtown locations including the old Maxwell House and Tulane Hotels.
Various guest speakers were regularly invited to come during the early years. Unity Co-Founder Charles Fillmore was a guest speaker in April 1935 and again in February 1938.
The group was formally organized as a Unity ministry in 1932 and in 1933 selected Elizabeth Sand Turner, daughter of the founder, as their minister. Rev. Turner served as a minister for the next twelve years.
In 1938, the first building purchased ($5,500) was at 1816 Broad Street. They incorporated and the name became Unity Center of Christianity.
In 1965, the Broad Street location was sold and the church acquired property at 1612 Woodmont Boulevard.
The name was changed to First Church Unity in 1960.
This property consisted of a house that was remodeled to accommodate the services. Several years later, a sanctuary was added and the house served as classrooms, bookstore, and Fellowship Hall.
The Rev. Ester Lewis and Frieda Olsen were the primary driving forces behind the continued growth and development of the church through the time frame from 1965 to 1987.
In 1986, the 1612 Woodmont location was sold and the current 5125 Franklin Road location purchased. The congregation had grown to 300+, meeting on Sundays at Hillsboro High School while utilizing the house on the Franklin Road property for office space and small group meetings.
The Barn at the back of the Franklin Road property was originally a barn. It had a dirt floor and three stables. With a generous amount of donated services by the congregation, such as plumbing, carpentry, and electrical – along with much time, effort, energy and funds – the Barn Project was completed and dedicated in June 1988.
In 1988, The Rev. Jimmie Scott was appointed senior minister and given the task of “building the building.” (Our first home to be built from the ground up!) The congregation, still numbering in the 300s – confident in its faith and ability – moved ahead with determination and perseverance and through the selling of faith bonds, one million dollars was raised for construction of the new building.
On September 30, 1990, the new church building was dedicated by Rev. Scott to over 400 cheering congregants in attendance.
Unity of Nashville was under the leadership of Rev. Cherie Larkin from the year 2000 – 2014. During her time with the church we experienced growth and a full commitment to embracing inclusiveness and emphasizing the divine presence of power within each person. Unity of Nashville also enhanced its online presence, sharing audio and video sermons to a broader mass. In 2006, we celebrated 90 years of spiritual service to the community.
The church now has Rev. John M McLean as its Senior Minister, As we enter our Centennial year, Unity of Nashville rededicates itself to its mission – to teach the Truth that sets us free.