The History of Unity of Montclair
Unity Society, as Unity of Montclair was first known, began in 1928 on Claremont Avenue, Montclair, New Jersey, with Mrs. Ella Pomeroy as leader. For a while, the group met in public buildings in the area, and then returned to private homes. Mrs. Pomeroy was described as a remarkable person who, among her other accomplishments and triumphs, learned to swim at age 80. Besides pioneering the Unity Society in Montclair, she also started a center in Brooklyn, New York and had a book published in 1948.
After eleven years of dedicated leadership, Mrs. Pomeroy turned the Montclair group over to Rev. Gladys Stevenson in 1939. Unity Society became a Unity center two years later. After incorporation in 1951, plans began to build the current church home on land that had been donated. On November 4, 1962, the first Sunday service was held in the new sanctuary at 84 Orange Road, on a plot of land donated for one dollar by Peter and Lilly M. Swenson.
The name was changed to Montclair Unity Church in 1965, and official membership in the Association of Unity Churches came in 1966. In 2008, to align with vision of the greater Unity movement, the name was changed to Unity of Montclair.
A Big Move
The size of the congregation quickly outgrew the capacity of the new sanctuary, which was built to accommodate up to 65 people. For a time Sunday services were held at the nearby Montclair Women’s Club and were moved back to back to 84 Orange Road in 2016. In the early years, as today, Unity of Montclair was a center of study, and classes were held several days a week. Over the years, this church community grew into the beautiful space of diversity and ever-deepening spirituality it is today.
The church continued to prosper under the leadership of Senior Ministers such as Rev. Marlowe Kline (1967-1977), Rev. Phyllis Crichlow (1994-2005) and Rev. Erin McCabe (2006-2011) and Rev. Elizabeth Mora (2012-2018). (See full listings below).
Besides our Senior Ministers, Unity of Montclair has been richly blessed throughout the years with dedicated Licensed Unity Teachers and other gifted speakers.
The following is a list of those who have so lovingly led the congregation of Unity of Montclair:
1928 – 1939 Mrs. Ella Pomeroy
1939 – 1967 Rev. Gladys Stevenson
1967 – 1977 Rev. Marlowe Kline
1977 – 1978 Thomas Lockery, Licensed Unity Teacher
1978 – 1980 Rev. Pat Staples
1980 – 1984 Rev. Marilyn Blessings
1984 – 1985 Rev. Harry Smit
1985 – 1986 Thomas Lockery, Licensed Unity Teacher
1986 – 1989 Rev. Angelo Giordani
1989 – 1993 Rev. Vivian Huber
1993 – 1994 Eileen Brosko, Licensed Unity Teacher
1994 – 2005 Rev. Phyllis Crichlow
2006 – 2011 Rev. Erin McCabe
2012 - 2018 Rev. Elizabeth Mora