Nothing explains why religious movements grow more than the level of religious commitment among its members and leaders. High commitment movements may stumble, but they never grow without commitment. Unity began as a high-commitment movement. Truth, for Myrtle and Charles, was serious business. And, at least in American culture, the period of fifty years is an accepted standard for what we recognize as commitment and dedication.
That is why I am so happy to provide you video reflections by Larry Swartz and a profile of Larry and Mary Ellen Swartz as they and the Unity of Tucson congregation celebrate fifty years of Larry and Mary Ellen's service to Unity of Tucson on this Sunday, May 1, 2016.
Last August I visited Larry and Mary Ellen at their church in Tucson where Larry sat down with me for this interview. You can click on the links to the right to watch Larry talk about fifty years of ministry. I wish I were in Tucson this Sunday morning to celebrate with them. But I will call and send them a letter to thank them for their half-century of service. I hope you will do the same.
Larry and Mary Ellen Swartz are ordained Unity Ministers who have served Unity of Tucson since May 1, 1966. Both Larry and Mary Ellen have a background in Silent Unity (the prayer ministry of Unity School of Christianity) where they worked and received the majority of their ministerial training. Under their guidance, Unity of Tucson has made two major moves within the city.
In addition to his local ministerial duties, Larry who was ordained in 1966, has served in various capacities and offices within the Southwest Unity Region, International New Thought Alliance, and the Association of Unity Churches where he has served as its President. Mary Ellen, ordained in 1972, devotes her time in addition to ministry to counseling, biofeedback training, various administrative Church duties, and being the mother of their three adult children and now two grandsons.
Together they serve the Unity message in Tucson and continue to offer a ministry of “love, inspiration, learning and healing” through Sunday lessons, classes, counseling and a type of leadership that helps people get in touch with their God potential thereby changing their lives. They make Christianity truly practical and understandable.
Larry grew up in a Unity family out in Washington State and he attended Dr. Herbert Hunt's center in Spokane prior to his experience in the United States Air Force. He was born in Yakima, Washington, and when time for college came he attended Monterrey and Cabriallo schools at Santa Cruz, California. His college years were, however, divided by the four-year interval of his Air Corps service. He had a brief, if varied, business career, mainly production line and selling.
Larry has the unique distinction of having served as the president of three organizations — the Association of Unity Churches, the International New Thought Alliance and the Independent Association of Ministers in Unity. His service to the AUC began soon after finishing training at Unity coming to Tucson, beginning with the Licensing and Ordination committee and progressing to the organizational leadership. He was the President of the INTA in 2015 when he delivered the keynote address at their 100th Conference celebration. He continues as a board member of the IAMU.
After becoming a student at Unity, Larry met Mary Ellen Martin, who was working at Silent Unity while studying to become a teacher-counselor. They were married in the Silent Unity Chapel on May 19, 1963 by Dr. Herbert Hunt and a reception was held at the Unity Clubhouse.
Larry and Mary Ellen are the parents of three children and the grandparents of two grandchildren.
Visit Larry’s Blog called Larry’s Thoughts – This online journal is a collection of his views and opinions as we learn to accept our Oneness with God.